Sampling Shaa’ir + Func’s music is always an experience. One of the pioneers of electronic dance, the duo is ready with their third album, Mantis, due to release soon. This time around, Mantis is a conglomeration of all the experiences that have taken the band this far.
“The first two albums were more about announcing our arrival as a band and our music to the world. Mantis is more of an evolution. We are a Mumbai band. We are expressing our experience and there is more balance in this record,” Monica Dogra aka Shaa’ir describes.
Mantis, which has been in production for a little over a year, is currently being mixed at Alchemy Studios, London, by engineers who’ve worked with Chakka Khan, Bjork and Sugarray. The tracks are consistently layered with samples of sounds from different genres.
One track in particular — ‘My roots’ — has a strong Indian melody looping through, something the band hasn’t attempted before. “Change is the only constant and we are representing the new Indian sound,” guitarist Randoloph Correia says, describing the album.
As far as Indian independent music goes, they are probably the biggest success story. In four years, they have released two albums, New Day: The Love Album and Light Tribe, which by indie standards, have gone platinum selling over 3,000 records. New Day had them proclaimed amongst the top ten emerging artistes out of India by VH1.
They have been nominated from the AVIMA foundation as Best Dance Act in South-East Asia in 2009 and recognised at the Jack Daniel Rock Awards for best female front-woman of a band. Their music has transported them to festivals and stages across USA, UK, Scandinavia, Norway and Amsterdam, including the Glastonbury Music fest, Bigg Chill and India Festival Amsterdam… and the stage is only getting wider.
“We just feel fortunate that we are allowed to express ourselves and are accepted universally,” Dogra smiles. “Our music is anything but mainstream, but our sound is typical of the new, evolved India. Whenever we perform abroad,people are surprised when we say where we’re from,” Correia adds.
Poetic and funky, Shaair + Func’s music is difficult to classify in any genre. Bridging acoustic, electronic, pop, hip-hop and rock – they’ve avoided the conventional and made a unique identity for themselves.
Turning to films? What about Bollywood?
“If compositions require our talent, why not?” says Correia, who’s already done recordings for a few movies. Dogra has made appearances in Rock On!! and will now be seen as the lead in Kiran Rao’s Dhobi Ghat, alongside Aamir Khan and Prateik Babbar, due to release later this year.“I believe in Kiran’s project and I believe in this film. I hope to be able to say that about all the work I do,” Dogra says. For now, they can’t wait to take the stage as Shaa’ir + Func.