Stay Warm with India’s Chandbibi and The Waste Candidates
As Winter chugs along, I need firey vocals, warm guitar and driving bass-lines. I found just the thing on ReverbNation with Chandbibi and The Waste Candidates. Although they’re listed as ‘experimental’, and I usually avoid that, they produce a clean but acidic jazz-fusion. Their album Tidy Funk was recorded in Chennai at Voice and Vision Studios, and they are currently unsigned. Out of Bangalore, India, they aren’t exactly local, but I had to interview them.
S16: So I have never visited India, or Bangalore. Could you explain what the music scene is like there? Is Chandbibi and The Waste Candidates a band that stands out, or are there many funky bands like it?
Mana: The music scene in Bangalore has always been centered around rock and metal, with some occasional blues thrown in. We’ve only recently started exploring other genres and some great musicians are coming out of the cracks which they’ve been hiding in all this while. I don’t know whether we stand out, but we definitely fall into our own little niche. There are some amazing bands that are now emerging all over India.
Album Art for Tidy Funk via Facebook
S16: Your work on Tidy Funk is technically tight and something that I have never heard coming from India. (I have a soft spot for Bollywood, and this is such a departure from that.) What are some of the things that went into making this album?
Mana: This album was quite literally one created from blood, sweat and tears. The four of us met at music school (Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music, in Chennai) and it was there that we started to compose and arrange our own music on a fuller scale. It was a fellow student (and eventual executive producer) Jukka Packalen who suggested we compile everything into an album. From then on it was a matter of working on our music to make them cohesive songs to work as an album. It took four months of laughter, tears, horrible arguments and South Indian breakfasts to get this far.
S16: Your Self Titled EP is much softer, but just as funky. What drove you towards the thumpy and acidic sounds of Tidy Funk?
Mana: When we put together our EP our band was quite different. It was our first semester of music school and just the three of us (Mana, Sidhant, and Navneet) in the band. We had guest bassists on the record, and it was finally put together in [four] days. Our sound veered towards a more mellow vibe compared to the album which was to come. It was in our second semester where we found Kavita, our bassist. With her influences, and her melodic bass lines, we began to explore the sound that came to be in Tidy Funk. Two semesters at music school also allowed us to grow into better musicians, constantly challenging each other and pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones to create something fresh.
S16: How do each of you feel and identify with music?
Mana: I’ve grown up in a family of music lovers. I don’t ever remember a time in my childhood where my father wasn’t explaining something musical to me. While he wasn’t a musician himself his love for it was so strong that it just sort of rubbed off on me. Music is so personal to me that for a long while I didn’t really want to share it with the world. It was my safe house. I suppose when I realised I didn’t want to do anything else I began my first baby steps into performing.
Navneet: I have always been drawn to music, even though my family is not particularly into music in that way (although my aunt used to always make me a mix tape every time I met her, and my mom pushed me to take up something musical when I was a kid). I love music, but for the longest time I chose to keep it in the background of my life, but it always found a way to surface. When I was studying to become an engineer, it found its way through in the form of music production and audio technology. Now that I’m a full time musician, sound engineer, and producer, I find it far more rewarding than anything else. It is a lot of effort, and at times extremely challenging, but the passion (and some good friends and band mates) help me persevere. I had some great teachers and peers along the way who challenged my creativity and keep me inspired. I feel truly blessed to have found my band mates who resonate the same (if not more) dedication, musical vibe, and passion, and keep me constantly on my toes and exploring.
Kavita: I come from a family of Indian classical musicians and dancers, so for me, music is an essential part of life. Our family get-togethers are invariable jamming or singing sessions, which can get fairly crazy! It’s the best way I know to express myself. It would probably be easier for me to write a song about something I feel rather than have a patient conversation about it. Music is such a gift that way, it doesn’t allow you to seethe… it forces you to translate your feelings to expressions.
S16: What are a couple of your favorite bands? [Edited to the first three mentioned]
Mana: Erykah Badu, Robert Glasper Experiment, Hiatus Kaiyote […]
Navneet: Porcupine Tree, Snarky Puppy, J.Viewz […]
Sidhant: Hiatus Kaiyote, Tesseract, Periphery, Guthrie Govan […]
Kavita: Steely Dan, Horace Silver, Jimi Hendrix […]
S16: What are you goals for the future of the band?
Navneet: Coming fresh off a new album release, the goal currently is to travel and perform, and have fun doing these things while making a living.
I went on to ask a few unorthodox questions, in an attempt to reveal more about the inner-workings of CaTWC.
S16: If your group were a food, what would it be?
Mana: Pho? We have a common base but we are constantly adding things to the mix. Sometimes it could come off a little strong but there are those times where the flavours are just right!
Kavita: Yeah, plus Pho is comforting, very soul food. I’d like to think our music is soul food too.
Navneet: Masala dosa with an assortment of chutneys to mix it up. You can go crazy and experiment all you want to create unique flavors. Alright… I’ve made myself sufficiently hungry now!
S16: If I were to fall asleep to your music, what do you think my dreams would be like?
S16: What are some silly ways you find inspiration or get into the zone to perform?
Mana: We eat interesting food, get into fights, lie around on the carpet and talk nonsense, take walks, eat more, Jam in cars… umm yes that should sum it
Navneet: Some of us just tend to hyperventilate and pace around while casting nervous looks in the direction of the audience.
Kavita: Food, most definitely… and Sidhant sleeps. It’s his surefire way to get inspired and in the zone.
Mana: You would be dressed in something old school and elegant of course, having high tea with a bunch of friends, the Mad Hatter and the Jabberwocky in tree tops.
S16: How can I learn to scat?
Mana: Imitate the greats.
Transcribe the greats.
Imitate them some more.
I hope to hear that CaTWC are touring nearby soon, but until then I’ll be pouring over their current discography, as I hope you will too. Now that I know more about the nuts and bolts of this creative team, I’ll be enjoying each song that much more. You can find their music for purchase on CDBaby, Amazon, iTunes, Bandcamp, and their website, and if you’re lucky enough to be in their neck of India, check them out for me live, they’re always gigging.