"We like to approach all our work episodically and enjoy continuity."
- Parekh & Singh
Music merges with visuals in the most amazing, and sometimes, unexpected and eccentric ways in the works of Kolkata-based pop duo, Parekh & Singh. After being signed on by the UK-based independent label, Peacefrog Records, Nischay Parekh and Jivraj Singh were nudged in the direction of creating a distinct visual identity that not only coalesces beautifully with the music they create, but also takes it to a whole new dimension.
A strong shift and now signature focus on colour was first seen in their delightful video 'Ghost' from their debut album 'Ocean'. The inspiration for the colour palette (red, white, and some other pastels) of which came from the album artwork created by visual artist, Yashasvi Mathis - one of the many interesting collaborations the duo have undertaken.
For their newly released video 'Summer Skin', part of their second album 'Science City', Parekh & Singh have once again exemplified the deep creative synergy that exists between music and visual arts - from the colour scheme to the cinematography to the amalgamation of the fantastical and real parts of Kolkata, the city that forms an integral part of their work in almost every which way.
Over an email, Payal Khandelwal asks the duo about Kolkata, some of the locations where their music videos have been shot, collaborations, and their personal decor aesthetics, among other things.
Nischay Parekh (L) and Jivraj Singh (R)
What specific elements from Kolkata have found a way into your music - both tangible and intangible?
The tangible elements are obviously the abundance of time and relaxation. The intangible elements are the moments when the sun strikes the train tracks under a bridge or when three pigeons and two crows try to huddle under the same leaf to avoid the rain. It's tough to explain why those moments are important or if they're even unique to Kolkata. All of it adds up though.
Could you tell us about the decor of the royal palace that you shot 'I love you baby, I love you doll' in? What excited you the most about the concept?
Vintage and whimsical was our vibe back then. It still informs our visual aesthetic. It was the first time we ever attempted to make a "full-scale" music video, so it was always going to be exciting. We shot on a budget, but it is easy to do that when everyone involved is deeply excited and invested in the project.
"The moment we got signed to Peacefrog Records. They knew straight away that there was a visual language that needed to be challenged out of us."
All these artists are entirely unique and don't follow any trends. They all have strong and individual voices which is why it's so exciting to collaborate with them. They're all furiously creative people.
We basically enjoy working with people who are passionate about and skilled in their disciplines. Attention to detail, candour and the ability to remain composed under pressure are the values we aspire to personally and appreciate greatly in our collaborators.
When was the moment when you became conscious that you needed to stand out visually?
The moment we got signed by Peacefrog Records. They knew straight away that there was a visual language that needed to be challenged out of us. Our music didn't change but the context through which it was consumed changed - and that has obviously made a difference.
Could you tell us a bit about your newest video 'Summer Skin' - the locations where it was shot and some of the interesting visual elements in the video?
We like to approach all our work episodically and enjoy continuity. We just like to create unlikely or interesting stories and throw them into our visual world that is made up of very specific elements.
The 'Summer Skin' video follows us as we attempt to research, design and build our own planetarium. The locations are an old house in North Kolkata, a defunct theatre in the round - also in North Kolkata, and a field in the wetlands to the east of the city. Visually, our goal was to fuse the "technical" with the "playful".
What are some of the things in your individual homes that inspire you in some way?
Lately, we've become more active and specific in decorating our own homes. We feel that lighting plays a big part in how a room feels. We are both fairly minimal in our tastes when it comes to interiors, clothing, food and even music. Balance, clarity, efficiency and the occasional subtle quirk are the elements we enjoy the most. In our homes, we prioritise cleanliness, light and air - essentials for health and tranquility - which are themselves essentials for inspiration.
Coming back to Kolkata, what are your most favorite parts of the city?
If you had to settle anywhere else in the world apart from Kolkata, where would that be?
Dubai, Singapore, London or Berlin. However if it's in India - it'll always have to be Kolkata.
All images courtesy of Parekh & Singh © Parekh & Singh