Time just floats by when you’re listening to Peter Cat Recording Co. whether live with 500 other people on a cold January night or recorded in the comfort of your solitary surroundings. Founded in 2009, the five-member band, known for its jazz, funk, and mellow sensibilities, has amassed an enviable fanbase in the last 12 years.
They are so secure about their craft that they don’t feel the need to work the crowd or play to the gallery. It’s one song after the other, free-flowing, unhurried, like a languid daydream on a Sunday afternoon. It’s a motley group— frontman Suryakant Sawhney is the lead singer who also plays the guitar. Drummer Karan Singh and multi-instrumentalists Kartik Sundareshan Pillai, Dhruv Bhola, and Rohit Gupta make up the rest of the quintet.
Peter Cat Recording Co. recently performed at the 16th edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival along with several other indie bands such as Kabir Cafe, Pakshee, and Rhythms of India. The venue ground was full of listeners old and new, braving a chilly Friday evening made warmer by their silken, reflective music that both transports and transcends.
Here, they talk about their band, albums Bismillah and Happy Holidays, their reluctance to post on Instagram, their recent relocation to Goa, and more.
Why the name Peter Cat Recording Co.?
It was a confluence of ideas ranging from the menu design of Kolkata restaurant Peter Cat and Haruki Murakami’s jazz club of the same name. We originally wanted to call it CNBC but sadly that was already taken.
Your website says your album Bismillah was the end of an era of learning for your humble little group. How so?
Around the release of Bismillah, we decided to take all our initial albums out of circulation and start fresh. Also, it was how we chose to predict the pandemic in 2020.
What has changed since the release of your last album Happy Holidays?
Most of the band has moved to Goa and aside from that not much to be very honest.
Why don’t you post anything on your Instagram account?
We only post when necessary and also because we’re not exactly the social exhibitionists that most artists have to become. We’re also very lazy about these kinds of things. Either way, our breakfasts aren’t that attractive to look at.
What prompted you guys to relocate from Delhi to Goa?
Change in scenery is important. Also, the air in Delhi had become quite troublesome.
Do you find the beach state more conducive to making music?
One factor that you think has contributed the most to your success?
Sticking together and continuously going forward. Just keep going and do what you love.
What’s the best thing about being in a band?
The way one gets to bounce ideas off each other. Playing instruments with other humans can be very rewarding even if you’re just doing it at home and never play on stage.
What’s the most difficult?
Keeping up the momentum seems to be the most difficult thing. Like any relationship, you can’t take it for granted.
One thing you want Indian audiences to not do at live performances?
I think it’s weird when people pay for a ticket to a venue and then just talk through someone’s performance. It’s weird, but I suppose everyone has their own priorities. As far as we’re concerned, they can do whatever they want.
What’s the most underrated aspect of performing at festivals like the JLF?
The backstage green rooms, which are usually pretty nice, and the organisation team, that puts in a lot of work. The artists are celebrated but the behind-the-scene people rarely get their due. It takes a lot of work.
What’s the big dream now?
To make the first dream bigger. Play the world and beyond.
First Published: Jan 25, 2023 8:02 PM IST