Kapil Seshasayee is a polymath, and a true original talent, both as a songwriter and as a soundsmith, a one man combination of Scott Walker, Mark Hollis, Arca and Richard Dawson, creating something wholly unique. Combining electronica flourishes evoking FKA Twigs with Indian Classical guitar ornamentations, stunning vocals and a ...
Building on the momentum of his acclaimed debut A Sacred Bore - featured in Pitchfork, VICE, BBC Introducing, The Guardian, The Quietus & Rolling Stone India, Scottish polymath Kapil Seshasayee makes an eclectic shift away from his experimental roots towards a Psychedelic crossover of RnB & Avant Indian Classical evocative of Solange, FKA Twigs and Ananda Shankar on “The Item Girl” (Out 18th October via Loner Noise). While the serrated guitar architecture of Kapil’s first LP put forth a scathing critique of the lingering manifestations of the caste system that still permeate Indian communities in the guises of honour killings and Hindu nationalism, this second installment in a Desifuturist Trilogy of albums expands on those issues with a focus on the Bollywood film industry:
“Every song from the album is going to tell a story about Bollywood,” says Kapil, “...what’s not immediately visible. I want those stories to illuminate things that people aren't thinking about and empower those who live these stories”
“The Item Girl” centers on a dehumanizing trope of a very specific Bollywood typecast. If you watch many Bollywood movies, you’ll start to notice that every film features a lively song and dance number sung by a peripheral character typically known as an item girl - a very sexualized young woman in a non-speaking role, merely existing as a public spectacle whose sole purpose is arousal. Kapil insists if a young man grows up with these depictions of women in movies in a diasporic brown house-hold in the US or in Europe, it influences the way he treats women and the way he thinks about them. The notion of a woman who is either independent and opinionated only being irrelevant to the plot of a film sends a powerful message.
In stark contrast - the archetypal Bollywood heroine is usually portrayed as a virginal and subservient stereotype. “For a long time, I found the persistence of archaic sexism among other brown men in the diaspora really strange at a time where everything else is developing,” reflects Kapil, “but then you realise it’s embedded into the very pop culture they grew up with. A popular medium normalising troubling behaviours is nothing new however - it takes little more than a tweet from someone powerful now to elicit a riot.”
The influences driving Kapil’s work are disparate enough to elicit intrigue, but can all be heard throughout A Sacred Bore: Richard Dawson, Scott Walker, Glenn Branca, Satyajit Ray & Einsturzende Neubauten. For his new record, Kapil draws on a refreshing new palette of sounds - from the socially conscious RnB of D’Angelo to the Indian classical ornamentations of saxophonist Kadri Gopalnath.
“There's nothing good about the caste system so deciding upon the themes of the first record was very simple but I'm going for a more nuanced approach for the followup. I don't want to just be slating Bollywood for 10 songs. I want to illuminate what's worthy of discussion about it, perhaps even what positivity can be gleaned from is influence. But this single, it's an attack on a really negative trope with a lasting cultural influence.
Having shared festival bills at SXSW, Latitude Festival, Celtic Connections, Cardiff Psych Festival & SOLAS Festival with the likes of Gaelynn Lea, Ben Folds, Raghu Dixit & Damo Suzuki - Kapil will be touring throughout the UK in support of “The Item Girl” throughout 2019. He has developed a reputation as an engrossing and engaging live performer, producing his stunning arrangements alone with a variety of instruments and tools at his disposal.
Upcoming Tour Info (All UK):
24th September - The Glad Cafe, Glasgow
25th September - The Wee Red Bar, Edinburgh
05th October - SOAS, London
12th October - The Zanzibar Club, Liverpool
13th October - Sunbird Records, Darwen
14th October - The Castle Hotel, Manchester
15th October - JT Soar, Nottingham
16th October - Two Queens, Leicester
17th October - The Rose Hill, Brighton
18th October - The Cumberland Arms, Newcastle
19th October - The Cellar, Aberdeen
22nd October - The Old England, Bristol
23rd October - The Moon, Cardiff
24th October - Venue TBA, Swindon
25th October - Fuse Arts Centre, Bradford
30th November - Book yer Ane Fest, Dundee
(U.S. dates TBA)