Put it on Loop is where we feature artists or bands that we feel deserve your attention. These can be artists who don’t have a full LP yet or just unique songs that got stuck in our heads.
As much as I love my heavy “doom and gloom” music, there are moments where I just want music that’s a combination of easy listening melodies and uplifting lyrics.
Lately, the band that I’m relying on to keep my spirits lifted is When Chai Met Toast, a quartet from Kerala, India. The band is made up of Ashwin Gopakumar (lead vocals), Achyuth Jaigopal (backing vocals, guitar, banjo), Palee Francis (keyboards) and Pai Sailesh (drums). Mumford and Sons, as well as Kodaline, come to mind when listening to their songs, but they have added a special blend of spices to give their songs a kick like no other.
I first fell heads over heels when listening to “Who Are You”, which starts off with the calming melody of a piano. After a few seconds, in comes a very dulcet voice with little beats of electronica in the background. Then, at about one minute in, a banjo starts to play. It’s the kind of song that you play when the dread for Monday morning is settling in, so that you can put some spring back into your step.
What I really like about the band’s music is that although there is clearly a Western influence to the melodies and lyrics, the band has also infused a lot of their Indian roots into their songs. You find this in ditties such as “Khoj (Passing by)”, “Forever” and “Beautiful World”. The band have mastered weaving Hindi and Tamil lyrics into their predominantly-English songs, which I feel lend the songs unique character.
Picking a favourite out of all 9 songs available on Spotify is hard. “Who Are You” is about the process of figuring who you are, while “Believe” is about being true to yourself. “Beautiful World” reminds me that we do live in a very beautiful world and there’s so much more to explore, so we shouldn’t let our fears or bad memories stop us from moving forward. “Firefly” is inspiring as it’s a simple song that encourages you to venture into the unknown and light it up with your talents.
They are all much-needed reminders to my cautious self that life isn’t always about treacherous ravines and slippery slopes.
Also published on Medium.