When vocalist and keyboard player, Suryakant Sawhney moved back from San Francisco to Delhi in 2010, he brought with him his solo project, Peter Cat Recording Co (PCRC). Soon enough, the one-man-band prospered into a four-piece band. And three metal heads from the group Lycanthropia joined Sawhney’s motley crew, singing jaunty tunes with obscure lyrics about everything from a classy prostitute to alternate realities where Tokyo triumphs in World War II.
The Delhi boys perform their debut gig in the city tonight, as part of their seven city national tour. And though Murakami-esque references run through their repertoire, the band moniker wasn’t inspired by the Japanese author’s jazz bar and coffeehouse in mind. “In fact we are named after a restaurant in Kolkata. It was later that we found out about Murakami’s jazz bar with the same name, so we decided to keep it,” says Sawhney.
The whimsical indie band, which started out playing at wedding receptions have found audiences in the most unusual places. “Our first gig was at a friend’s reception. We were sloshed and so was our audience. It was a bizarre performance with a strange mix of people, but it turned out to be a great night,” recalls Sawhney. Prod him more and he reveals, “We recently played for a women’s night at the Auditor General of India’s residence. It was a bit weird singing our songs there, but they seemed to enjoy it.”
Combining carnivalesque beats to sombre themes, the band calls their brand of music ‘melodramatic pop’ on their MySpace account. “It was the most retarded categorisation we could think of. We are a bunch of metal guys with a split personality. As PCRC, we turn into a happy-go-lucky boy band. Over time, people label our sound as everything from cabaret folk, psychedelic punk to instrumental ballads. Every song is so different from the other, that I wouldn’t know how to categorise our music singularly,” feels bassist Rohan Kulsheshtra.
At their debut gig in the city, the band promises a good dose of Delhi-ness. “Hopefully Mumbai won’t have a problem with our North Indian attitude cause we have a lot of that,” jokes Sawhney, adding a disclaimer, “Our onstage repartee comprises a lot of typical-Delhi abusive language.” Along with merry notes on the keyboards and harmonium, the surprise element today will be a trumpet, courtesy trumpeter Kiranjit Chitranjan, who will jam with the band. “Our set will have a mix of improvised songs from our album, Sinema and some newly composed songs. We will probably go for a solo ride now, before we come back to record our second album,” says Sawhney. About performing at Blue Frog, he adds, “I’ve heard that the place has a good sound system, but is very expensive. We are a low-class band, so that’s about the only problem we have.”
Peter Cat Recording Co will perform in the city at Blue Frog, Lower Parel, 10 pm onwards. Entry Rs 300.