Madras Men Records’ debut EP ‘Compulsive’ is made of feel-good electronic music with alt-rock vocals. It makes you feel like you’re going on a journey where the destination doesn’t matter, because it’d be nice just to be stuck in this moment for a little while. Shahid’s influences range from Radiohead to Backstreet Boys, but he says if he really had to describe his music, he’d call it a cross between Incubus and Moderat.
Play Safe was shot in Vattakanal, starring Lawrence Ramu, an actor and the former frontman of Tamil rock band Jhanu. With wet, gloomy colors, drone footage, and an overall tone of detachment, the video screams aesthetic. Similarly aesthetic is the audio experience for Trampolines, for which the cover was fully drawn by Pune-based artist Adrita Das, whom Shahid found on good old instagram. The doodles and the colors (black and pink) tied in with the tone of the whole album, which features a revamp of a sketch from Jhanu Chanthar as the cover art. Shahid calls it the “Fingerprint Man.”
Shahid’s music journey took a pretty generic trajectory at first – started playing in college, went overseas to study music, was in a band in the US called Riligion and played a couple of shows before coming back to India. But instead of going to Pune with his bandmates, he ended up back in Chennai for personal reasons, and music had to take the backseat for a while. But thanks to his friends who introduced him to people in the local indie circuit and got him back into music, Madras Men Records was born. It just goes to show that you’ll always find your way back to the things you love the most.
picture courtesy of madras men records
Shahid writes about whatever inspires him at the moment. Fun fact: the end of Trampolines has three separate guitar tracks layered over each other. Shahid recorded a half-asleep Jhanu playing in the middle of the night, and after being unable to choose among the three versions that he played, Shahid decided to use them all. On the drums for ‘Compulsive’ is none other than Tapass Naresh of Skrat.
Shahid’s currently working on putting a live set together, one he promises will be entertaining, with ideas like pyrotechnic performances. Though he’s very particular about sound, he insists that any performance, whether for a festival or a small gig, should also be interesting and grand. He’s also creating a lot of new original content. “The idea is to stereotypically blow people’s minds,” he adds.