Exclusive First Listen: Else If
4 December 2014
Else If, New Delhi’s newest electronica outfit, will debut at this year’s Magnetic Fields Festival. Comprised of G ‘Force’ Arjun, of Jalebee Cartel fame, and classically trained guitarist Puneesh Suri, the duo are equal parts excited and nervous to showcase their music to an audience for the very first time. G ‘Force’ has been pretty quiet since his Cartel days and of course we are eager to see what him and his collaborator have in store for us with this new project.
They simply describe themselves as a genre-free act, drawing inspiration from sounds around them. Speaking of this "nothing-is-off-limits" attitude Puneesh clarifies, “We’ve used a lot of natural soundscapes in our tracks, some of which were recorded during our travels. Also, we use a lot of random objects to build our drum kits. The idea is to be as organic as we can, and still create a sound that we haven’t heard before.”
G Arjun and Puneesh met at ILM Academy about two years ago. They started jamming together, slowly at first, maybe two, sometimes four times a month. After getting comfortable with one another and figuring out their collective sound they started spending large chunks of their time in the studio. “’Drip’, the first song that we produced together gave us the push that we needed. Now we are in the studio almost everyday, working on new ideas and simultaneously building our live set,” explains Puneesh.
The relationship between the two seems to have strengthened just as much as their music. When asked who most influences their new sound G Arjun answers right away; “Puneesh.” He explains further, “Puneesh is a genius on the sampler. He has the ability to make a simple sound come to life. Our grooves contain sounds which aren’t really meant to be in a drum kit.” A healthy respect between the two is apparent, which is important considering the experimental and varied nature of their project. “I personally believe that our music has no commercial value”, says G Arjun, in jest but with an evident hint of seriousness.
The experimental nature of Else If is a far cry from G Arjun’s time with Jalebee Cartel where he fueled the band’s love for technology and was one of the most elaborate with his production. Using both his bass guitar and Puneesh’s classical guitar sensibilities the two have strived to remove themselves from the sound that made the Cartel so popular, with a desire to play with more unnatural sounds and layers. “With a decade of going through various genres of house and techno with Jalebee I guess I wanted to do something that was not restrictive to any genre. Our music ranges from 60 BPM to 130 BPM with some weird time signatures thrown in there. Some songs are simple while others are complicated. It is fun experimenting with sounds, synth, instruments and ideas”, says G Arjun. This form of playful invention seems to be Else If’s desired path to success. Such is their aspiration to stand out Puneesh even says they plan to build an instrument "that will happen sometime next year.”
As if to purposely underline their "genre-free" nature, Else If have posted two intruigingly different tracks on their Soundcloud in the form of 'Dri1123747' and 'Rogue'. However their most interesting track has to be1123809'V1123812', an exclusive track for which we've been given a little snippet below.1123885'V1123888' features Else If incorporating vocals, something not heard in their other snippets on Soundcloud, and a truly fascinating range of guitar melodies. Their desire to muddle sounds, and use awkward time signatures, is evident yet the track seems, vitally, different to 'Dri1124161' or1124166'Rogue'. A short, haunting snippet1124201'V1124204' could perhaps showcase the act's ability to mix it up or, maybe, it paints a picture of the direction Else If plan to take for their future releases. Either way, we're signed up.
So what can be expected from their debut at the festival? Puneesh lays it out, “We’ve planned to keep it as tight as we can. Although we have left enough room for improvisation. For starters, the intro to our set is just us jamming on our guitars, no rehearsed parts as such.” G Arjun pulls no punches; "expect mistakes and fuck ups”.
Confident, open-minded, and with just the right amount of self-deprecating humor, big things are in store for this gifted duo and we cannot wait to help them on their way.
Words: Aditya Keswani