2.9 Evoke : Let's Talk Art
Dreamscape with Begum
Join our conversation with Kartik Pillai, Karan Singh and Dhruv Bhola, and learn about Begum - their alternate dreamscape band.
Get insights on the band's unique expression (and Karan's weird dreams), watch the latest releases from their upcoming album Are you ok?, and tell them where you dreamscape.
Album Artwork by Karan Singh
How did Begum come into being?
Coordinates: 28.521177237136435, 77.28189940005382 - the first place the three in the band played together. The first track we created together was Chinbien, we're always recording, but that session is probably lost. Karan came up with the band name. He was reading some book and sprang out of bed and said, let's call it Begum.
The first time we played together was in Kartik's house, and the first track we jammed down was, I think, Chinbien. I was on keyboard, Kartik and Kshitij (former band member) were on guitars and bass respectively, and the song just flowed out naturally, and thinking about it hurts my stomach.
Listen to Chinbein
We'd love to hear insights on Begum's unique expression.
I think it's akin to what automatic writing would be described as. I think all musicians and artists must be doing it in some form or the other.
Chinbien (2013): We were all facing each other with our cables running haphazardly towards the console area. Everyone was on headphones, I think. One of us must have said, "alright let's start", and I dropped myself into the guitar, downstrokes mostly, and at some point, we all came together. I'm not sure when but by the end of that jam we had the whole song.
Music Harvest: 70%
Lyric Harvest - 60%
Maybe Baby (coming in the next album):
We were sitting in the backyard of this house we had while touring, and Bhola was playing something on the guitar. We thought we'd sing something, so we did. Lo and behold, the first thing we played was this song, instantly knew it meant something, so played it again and recorded it on the phone.
Music Harvest: 90%
Lyric Harvest: 90%
Like you already know most of our compositions come out from subconscious gems and realised jams. That's what we do, we just get together, get our instrument and start playing and whatever flows out from us, we use that. We have a habit of recording most of our jams so that we don't forget. Impostor was interesting, it was me and Kartik on one keyboard in Goa, and Better Person was also nice we were just randomly jamming in Stefan's (Pianist, DJ and founding member of The Ska Vengers) house and that song came into existence.
Your inspiration for the themes explored in Bagh, W.A.E, and Are you ok?
It's probably just a reflection of where I've been in my head for the past few years, but everything affects everything, I guess.
One night I had this dream of a bear in a garden, which gave us the idea of calling the first album Bagh and having a bear as a mascot. That bear has been quite prominent throughout our work and probably would show up again in the future.
Watch our favourite videos by Begum ~
Your messages about Are you ok? for listeners.
I think it's meant to be a come-down aid via some mild discomfort. I hope it makes you feel better about something.
The idea behind the album artwork is quite simple. At that time, all of us were going through some difficult times, and I felt that resonated with our dear mother nature as well. And I happened to see a landscape that was stuck in my head. How as kids, we look at clouds and make shapes. Looking at that landscape, I could instantly see somebody sleeping, and out came the idea for the artwork. We all sincerely hope that you are doing okay, that you are fine, and if you're not okay, that's also fine. You will be okay eventually.
It's less of a message and more of a question. We want you to be okay, so we made this album for you. Other than that, we're crying about regular stuff in the songs.
Kartik on their second single, Only if you care ~
"I think it’s about the awareness of living in a chosen delusion. It’s about grandeur, it's dramatic. Some of the meanings we will only really know when one hears it out of the blue and what effect that has. We for one feel it gave a sense of space.
Where do you dreamscape when you are not okay?
In my room, amidst small hills and a view of the ocean, you'd only get from an island.
So lately, I have been recovering from Covid. The interesting part is I have been having really nice creative dreams. It's a good change from the regular dream cycle.
Probably underwater where I can barely see or hear anything
Tell us where you dreamscape with Begum (by filling in this form). We'll share your response with the band!
Placed somewhere between a subconscious revelation of internalized pop music tropes and a resolve to foment comfort by presenting the uncomfortable, Begum's music treads a unique trajectory for retention. Initially formed as an exercise in allowing both lyrics and sonics to spill out with no second thoughts, the project has, over almost ten years, become more refined, but still based on that gut instinct.