"We saw the name 'Faridkot' on a T shirt and decided to name the band that," laughs Inderpreet (IP) Singh, vocalist of Faridkot. "I am afraid we don't have a 'story' to go with it."
Formed in 2008, Faridkot is best remembered as the finalists of Channel V's music reality show Launchpad in 2009.
Raghu Dixit, one of the judges on the show, had termed their music 'lyrically strong'. Two years later, they released their debut album 'Ek'. Their mix of funk bass lines with bluesy guitars and almost Sufi-ish vocals garnered them positive reviews.
Now, with their second album ready to be released soon, the band is visibly excited.
Teaser to their new album
"It's called 'Phir Se?' and is completely different from our first album," says Rajarshi (Raj) Sanyal, the guitarist. "We tried keep doing longer loops that change constantly. We used our drums, vocals and guitars to create these loops. We wanted the sound to be completely different from that of our first album."
The band views their second album as a social experiment of sorts, where they have tried pushing the envelope while keeping in mind the tastes of their audiences.
"We know how hard we worked on the first album. So we want it maintain its identity and have the second album sound completely unlike what people have heard from us," says Raj.
"And who knows what our third album will sound like? It could well be Punjabi metal?" grins IP.
The album has taken nearly two years to create, giving the band lots of time to experiment with their sound.
"Our process this time was more extensive. We have guest vocalists like Aditi Singh Sharma (whose last hit was 'Dhoom Machale' from Dhoom 3). We had top source trumpet players from Bangalore. We had someone based in Los Angeles to mix the tracks for us. So yes, we are very excited about 'Phir Se?'" says Raj.
Their tunes from their early days still remain most popular, with breakaway hit 'Laila' leading the pack.
Laila - their greatest hit
"We love how famous 'Laila' is, but we think our songs need more visibility," said IP.
In India, maximum visibility in music is always reserved for Bollywood tunes. Private albums tend to receive lesser space on radio airwaves and television timings.
"It wasn't always like this. In the '90s lots of private albums did well. But we don't resent this," shrugs IP. "In Mumbai, people take their music seriously. And Bollywood is pushing the envelope these days. You have an Amit Trivedi and a Sneha Khanwalkar who are experimenting like never before."
Is the band hoping to break into Bollywood someday?
"Why not?" asks Raj. "Bollywood is challenging and people are more open to ideas now. If we had to compose the entire soundtrack to a movie, we would love to. We perform in Hindi anyway, so Bollywood is something we wouldn't mind trying."
Faridkot remains one of the few independent bands, who perform in Hindi.
"I think in Hindi, so I write in Hindi," explains IP, who has also written the lyrics to most of their tracks.
Did they think that by performing in Hindi, they could reach out to a larger audience?
"Certain radio channels refuse to carry our music because we perform in Hindi. If they can take Shakira or Rammstein, who do not perform in English, why not us?" they ask.
The band has toured the country extensively in the last few years and they have played in all kinds of events – from college fests to charity events. In December, 2014, they were part of a 'Vote for Peace' concert in Kabul, which also featured Noori from Pakistan and Morcha from Afghanistan.
"We were skeptical about security when we first got the call," said IP. "But Kabul was a whole other experience. The city was in tatters and we saw people carrying guns on the road, but there is genuine appreciation for art there."
The concert was organised to promote awareness and mobilize youth for the upcoming presidential elections.
"It was something else to see art in public space at a time of conflict. But the people were very welcoming and very clued into Bollywood. One of the stage workers told me the entire plot of 'Boss' as we were setting up for the concert," laughs Raj.
Despite their extensive touring, the band has not performed in their namesake town Punjab. Their next gig, organised by WWF India, is scheduled on March 29 at Dilli Haat.