In Profile: Worms' Cottage
23 April 2015
In November last year, Machli (one of our favourite new indie electronic acts) sent Wild City a mix which featured some of their favourite tunes. Within it was a song called ‘Dysfunctional Therapy’ – a strange song by someone, er, lets say interestingly called Worms’ Cottage.
Names aside (it’s growing on us) Worms’ Cottage a.k.a. Rishabh Iyer had us hooked, completely, after the first couple of listens. We included him in our ‘Dropbox Talent’ section and kept ourselves in the loop since then. He only recently put out his official debut LP ‘Tour Guide Imposter’ – a cohesive compilation of a number of his previously released singles, a stellar album that received a lot of praise.
One half of Sulk Station and the mind behind _RHL Rahul Giri, also the curator of Bangalore music blog Consolidate, says Worms’ Cottage is one of the most exciting young talents to have cropped up in recent times. “He can just about do everything - sing, rap, produce. His production is very tight - no nonsense and purposeful - reminds me of SBTRKT, Baths.”
We had a brief interaction with Rishabh Iyer about his biggest influences, bands he’s listening to and his ongoing relationship with art.
Worms’ cottage is fresh off playing at The Humming Tree in Bangalore alongside _RHL – ‘It was actually my second live gig there, I played earlier once as a filler for Disco Puppet’s set. And I think I enjoyed that more because its less nerve racking when you have someone else playing next to you. But it was obviously fun, and Humming Tree knows how to pamper.’
It’s difficult to put our finger on it, but something interesting is happening to music in Bangalore. Rishabh resides just outside the city in the little satellite town of Yelahanka which hosts the Shrishti School of Art, Design and Technology where he’s currently studying. Before he shifted to Bangalore, Iyer taught himself how to produce while he was at Seamedu college in Pune for a year –“they let us play around with the logic pro on their systems, so that’s when I started making electronic music, though now I use Ableton and borrow Midi keyboards.” He released his first EP ‘The Dangers Of Dancing’ there in 2012, a decent mix of electronic tunes missing the hip-hop influence we see now in ‘Tour Guide Imposter’.
His influences range wide – “currently I think I’ve been influenced mostly by James Blake, Earl Sweatshirt and Mac Miller. At least for this album”, citing Sky Rabit, Machli, _RHL, Lifafa, Klypp, Delhi’s Perilous Possum Studios and santoor player Shivkumar Sharma as homegrown musicians he listens to.
We asked him about his other influences, noting the recurring element of travel and going to new places – “It’s not really the act of travelling, but being in different places, especially hills, which really inspires me. Other than that being a constant muse for me, non-musical influences come from many random things that I don’t get to keep a track of.”
It’s also hard not to notice Worms Cottage’s odd accompanying artwork. It’s a big part that makes his music what it is – deliberately imperfect and created with the intention of provoking a quiet unease that’s difficult to identify (a bit like the music really) “I usually think of visuals when I make music, so I find the need to make visuals along with my stuff, just to add to the mood I’m trying to create with that track.”
We still haven’t successfully been able to define that mood and Iyer, apparently, faces the same conundrum, “I can’t really describe it, only I haven’t tried a sunny mood, by which I don’t mean happy.” Make of that what you will. We (sort of) get it, Iyers music isn’t sunny by any stretch of the imagination but we wouldn’t call it unhappy either. His sound is a little more distant than that, a bit like what it must feel like to step out of your own skin and try to describe things from that perspective.
Iyer tells us that the positive response to his music has only encouraged him to experiment further. This is brave, bold experimental music that’s as original as it is enjoyable, and we’re quite certain that Rishabh Iyer’s warped, acid painted brand of electronica is here to stay.
Words: Diya Gupta