Features

Feathers in Space— On soundscapes and reverberations

An Edition of ‘Ease’

We interviewed the lovely Feathers in Space, an indie-pop duo consisting of members Radhika and Darren who create balmy melodies that nestle perfectly into our definition of ease. Their debut EP “Four” is out on all platforms! Read on to know about the band’s inspirations, Four’s journey and their personal playlist. 

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  1. What was your first encounter with music? How did it progress from there?

Both of us had similar encounters with music earlier in our lives. We constantly had music playing at home while we were growing up, sang with family during gatherings, were in school choirs, and it eventually led us to picking up and learning instruments. (Darren- started with the piano, Radhika- started with the drums) When it came to writing songs, it started with writing and appreciating poetry at a young age, that built a fascination for poetic meter and experimenting with rhyming words. Initially we would attempt at replacing words in already popular songs (such as “twinkle twinkle little star”, and “forever” by Drake) Eventually we started to write out our own lyrics and wrote chord progressions and melodies to go along with it.

2. Are there any musicians/artists who influence your work? This could be in the form of inspiration for your style or even something that prompts you to create on days you might not feel like it.

Our primary influences are Novo Amor, Blind Pilots, Bon Iver, Oh Wonder, and Ed Sheeran among a few other. Our music draws different elements from their styles, such as Novo Amor’s soundscapes, or Blind Pilot’s and Bon Iver’s emotive lyrics.

 3. Your music feels like a beautiful December on absolutely any day – could you give us a sneak peek of the stages behind this process? Is there a routine/pattern you guys tend to follow or does it vary? A lot of your listeners do describe your music with colours, feelings, a certain month in our case. Apart from those attributions, what do you link to your creations? ‘Four’ as a piece, is a wondrous wave of songs about varied subjects – could you tell us a little more about the process behind titling the EP ‘Four’ and the art that accompanies it?

The name “Four”: Choosing a name for the EP was probably one of the hardest things we had to do during the time we spent working on it. After putting away the idea of self titling the EP, or naming it after one of the songs, we couldn’t find a word or a sequence of words that would encapsulate all the themes and emotions in the songs. We were almost out of ideas until the very kind Nate Mensah (Darren’s cousin’s partner) put forth the idea that the number ‘four’ was a recurring factor (all the songs were written during our four years of college, our songs were thematically seasonal, of which there are four, and more) in how we described our EP. It was definitely a good fit for the name of the EP, and the rest will soon be history.

The Artwork for the EP: We wanted the artwork to be something that connected with us personally, as well as something that relates to our songs in a significant manner. We stumbled upon the idea of creating something that would represent the spaces we worked in, namely Viman Nagar and Radhika’s home in Pune. We gave the task of creating our album art to Shama Nair, who had worked with us along side Darshana Mohite in creating our visuals in the past. We came up with a design that would use the colours that we would usually find in our spaces, and after a discussion we decided to have these colours painted in order to create a work that is raw and authentic. And that’s how the art you see above was born. We leave the rest of the interpretation to you.

We built each song with a sound scape that was representative of the weather, nature and thus the seasons. Therefore, you can hear the wind in the beginning of winter, the rain at the start of Wheels, and the sea at the start of Sunken. With the lyrics adding their own seasonal and temporal elements, it’s as if you’re seeing a full year pass by.

Although the writing of most of the songs was done by us individually, we would sit down and work on the musical elements of the songs together in order to complete them, and as a way of improving them. Think of it as a songwriting peer-review. Writing songs together is relatively new process to us, and we have written a couple of songs together, however those are yet to be released.

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Photo credits: Lifetime Memoirs

4.  We see you travelling, while you give us snippets of how each song was    formulated – does each place around you give you a different vibe and sense to further add to your music, or a different dimension potentially ?

To answer the question briefly, yes. Travelling to new places does broaden our scope of understanding and viewing everyday things. Add music to that process and it’s a new kind of song you have for becoming more you. For example, Ticket for two was inspired by a sunset in Barcelona and Sunken was inspired by the lower Himalayan mountains in Dharamshala. We have tried to bring certain aspects of each of these places into our songs. For Ticket for 2, the place lies in the lyrics, and for Sunken it lies in the space and reverberations in our sound scape.

5.  How did ‘Feathers in Space’ come together? What would you say is different     about working as a duo as opposed to creating individually?

 Feathers in Space came together in 2016. Both of us had been jamming in classrooms for two years and we performed for the first time ever at Where Else Cafe in Viman Nagar. We wanted to name the band something and it was a very long process. One day, Darren just came up to me (Radhika) and said, “Okay, we’re ‘feathers and something’, so think of something”. That something was space which was inspired by a concept in japanese haiku poetry called ‘Ma’, which depicts the space between two elements or structural parts. Darren chose ‘feathers’ because it refers to birds (which was his childhood obsession) and the freedom and lightness that they symbolise. The first time we put these two together we were apprehensive since the name required a long explanation, but decided to go with it since it would be something people would be confused about and possibly remember.

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Photo credits: Lifetime Memoirs

6. Also, what are your favourite lyrics from the EP, individually?

Radhika: Lyrically I love Sunken for the way it begins. The first two lines itself sort of have you listening for what’s to come next. Adding that to the soundscape that it comes with brings the imagery to the forefront of the song which is what appeals to me personally. I love visual elements in lyrics and given that lyrics can tweak reality to be personified and or amplified to be more emotive, hearing someone say the first two lines itself has you listening in rapture.

“And I could play your skin

Hear verse within..”

(I love the entire song, lol.)

Darren: Personally, I would choose my favourite lyrics from the song Ticket for 2.

“Is this the moment you chose to look over his shoulder?

To watch me in my tiny-ness at the edge of the earth.”

This lyric deceptively sounds like it is about a person, but then Radhika told me the song was about the sun and the ‘shoulder’ refers to a mountain, and I heard the song again, and the vivid imagery of the scene the lines paint had me awestruck.

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Photo credits: Shama Nair & Darshana Mohite

7. What is it like to be an ‘Indie’ or independent creators in the music industry ?

It’s tough. SERIOUSLY TOUGH, MATE. Planning the entire process was as tiring as it was exciting, especially without the help of a manager, or label, or agent. Thankfully, we had a few experienced people around us, (such as the Easy Wanderlings, and Gray Spark Audio) who gave us an insight into the industry. But nonetheless, this meant that we had to go through a process of try-and-see-what-works, since there is no absolute path to making sure your music reaches as many ears as you want it to. The indie scene is constantly growing, which is a huge advantage, and the people who partake in it are so incredibly supportive and helpful.

8.  And for the last bit – what have you been listening to lately?

We recently went for Gregory Alan Isakov’s concert here in London and were absolutely mesmerized by his composition and vocals. The opening act was Joe Purdy so he has been on our playlists as well. Here’s a list to give you a more clear idea:

Japanese House – Someone you found

Bon Iver – 29 #Strafford Apts.

Novo Amor – Utican

Easy Wandeling – I for little things

Mumford and Sons – Woman

Sam Smith – Baby, You make me crazy

Lord Huron – La Belle Fleur Sauvage

Chet Faker covering Sonia Dada’s Lover you don’t treat me no good no more.

Tom Rosenthal – Have we met before (feat. Fenne Lily)

Oh Wonder – Plans

Jeremy Zucker – Wildfire

Eden – sex

Alex Cuba – Sara, El Mismo Dolor and Sin un Porque

Alexi Murdoch – All of my days

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