Of Chins

It’s like this: you’re at Control ALT Delete, an endearingly crowdfunded mishmash of some of the youngest and oldest that indie Mumbai has to offer (with some token representation from the capital). You’re sweated into a few hundred ‘scenesters’, many of whom, like you, have heard of and are about to hear Your Chin only today. Some feign otherwise. Some have hunched over their PCs the week past looking up the artists they’re going to see (as I admittedly should have), and are now familiar with the debut EP of the only electronic act on the programme.

Sandwiched between the dynamic ferocity of bands like Blek (watch this space, ladies and gentlemen – not since Zero at the NH7 Weekender last year have I seen a band demolish the aural plane so utterly, and that’s a fucking fact) and the saccharine pop-rock strands of mediocrity machines like Spud in the Box, Raxit Tewari AKA Your Chin (armed only with laptop and guitar) seems awfully out of place. With the first monochrome twangs of an electronic rev settling over the crowd, he sounds it too.

Feet shuffle, eyes shift, heads bob uncertainly. There’s a lot of energy on the floor (the last song played has been a cover of A Certain Romance), and it’s waiting for the music to go someplace with BANG, slide into a comfortable crescendo. But it doesn’t, because, well… that’s the point.

As the opener flatlines into a faster tempo, you watch helplessly from the sidelines, wishing Raxit was playing his very first gig somewhere else, someplace more conducive.

But fuck me if, a week after, I can imagine him fitting seamlessly in anywhere at all. Because Your Chin, like Raxit’s primary band (Sky Rabbit, formerly Medusa, which he is the frontman of), sounds familiar without evoking anything beyond the vaguest of comparisons.

Rambling aside, here’s excerpts from our interview (edited for public consumption):

BorderMovement: How did Your Chin begin? have you been dabbling in electronica for a while?

Your Chin: Yeah. At first there were basic loops. Then some of them evolved into short tracks, a few minutes in length.

BM: Your EP has an awesome cover, which is what everyone notices first. How’d that happen?

YC: My brother and his friend came up with that one. I had to use it, it just fit like a glove.

BM: Over the years, you’ve gradually switched from the progressive rock/metal to the punk/electronic with Sky Rabbit. Is that what resulted in Your Chin – a desire to head toward an even more electronic direction that you couldn’t as a band?

YC:  You tend to do things a little differently alone, in a room, writing by yourself. That’s why the electronic/sampling elements are the mainstay of Your Chin. Everything I play, even on organic instruments, is channeled like a sample into the mix. Besides, at the outset, this wasn’t intended to be a project or anything. I guess it was more about putting out things I’d been doing at home. After a few months of working with electronica in my spare hours, some things stuck. These made it to the EP.

BM: What sounds would you say have influenced you with this project?

YC:  Well, I’ve been digging basic mono synth sounds and old drum machine samples quite a bit, so a lot of that finds its way into Your Chin.

BM: So are you shying away from complex arrangements completely? There’s a strong minimalist turn to your music… it’s not something you hear much of in this country.

YC: This EP for the most part is stripped down because the minimalism just seemed to fit the songs. There’s always room for experimentation in the future.

(Here I ask him if he’s listened to Terry Riley. He hasn’t. I link him to A Rainbow In Curved Air. He really likes it, says it reminds him of Japanese tape-machine electronic music.)

BM: …and then you have off-time patterns. I mean, this is not dumbed down music. Modulating the music vocally and spacing the beats – is that how you plan to proceed as Your Chin?

YC: Actually, it might get more layered – I can’t be sure. It depends on how the songs are written from now on. Some need to be wrapped while others are more direct and make more sense like that.

BM: There’s a lot of bedroom projects that have been coming up these days, like Adam & The Fish-Eyed Poets, or Sulk Station – people who started small and then went on to cut albums and tour live, their music well received. To what would you attribute this growth spurt in the scene hereabouts, especially since you’ve been privy to the inner workings for a while now?

YC: I think the whole process of making music has become a lot more accessible because of new technology,  Musicians here have really been embracing it.

BM: Is it strange, playing on stage all by yourself with a sparse setup? Are your energy levels lower, and are you more nervous?

YC: Certainly, all those things. It really does take getting used to, especially for someone like me who’s been part of a collective on stage for so long.

BM: What do you think of Snowshoe (Sky Rabbit guitarist Rahul Nadkarni’s electronic project)?

YC: Snowshoe’s warm, I like the music a lot. In fact, we might be collaborating soon and releasing the material as Sky Rabbit.

BM: Don’t you think it’s a shame people have stopped including lyric leaflets in their released music?

YC: Haha. I don’t know if that qualifies as shameful. I mean, all those misheards are funny, aren’t they? You wouldn’t want to kill that with a plain old lyric sheet!

BM: Three things we don’t know about Your Chin. Go.

YC: At this point man, you know more than everything.

All things considered, Your Chin’s music, slotting between an emotionally drained Antlers single and a quickened Depeche Mode and an anti-layered Ben Gibbard side project, is a statistical anomaly in the Great Indian Soundscape. If you empathize, dear reader, it is almost certainly meant to appeal to you – go ahead and give it a listen.

You can catch Your Chin live at the Other Stage this NH7 Weekender in Delhi,
on the 13th of October.

His first EP, Your Chin, is available for listening here , but be warned, it’s a definite grower – you might find yourself humming Fall Someplace at the oddest of places. Your Chin’s sophomore EP is slated for release in 2013.

written by Tej Haldule

NEWS - 11. October 2012   CITY - Mumbai ARTIST - Your Chin

One response to “Of Chins”

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