Why are Imaad and Saba Azad called the terror twins of funk and swing? Listen to Madboy Mink to find out

Madboy Mink, in the words of the Madboy Imaad Shah is “A duo that plays our own sound, which is a little hard to describe.” The band, which released its first EP a month ago, made of Imaad and Saba Azad (aka Mink), has been performing across India to promote its debut album.

Their gig at The Park hotel, organised by IndiEarth, as part of their mission to develop Chennai’s independent live music scene, was preceded by Chennai-based acoustic act RJD Experience. This act featured Ritesh John Dharmaraj — local singer/songwriter, who is currently working on his upcoming album Looking Up At The Stars.

We catch up with Madboy Mink before the show begins, to talk about their music, and inspiration. Called the terror twins of funk and swing, this twosome is content with leaving audiences puzzled. “People who don’t know us have actually assumed that we were twins or siblings,” laughs Imaad, adding, “we’re okay with confusing people.”

With quirky album art depicting a cat in John Lennon glasses, ‘All Ball’ fittingly defines Madboy and Mink since they consider themselves cats at heart. “As for the cat on our album cover, he’s a cool disco bowler kind of cat,” says Imaad. Not surprisingly, both artistes hail from a theatre background. Imaad is the son of legendary actor Naseeruddin Shah.

Their music style is as unpredictable and unique as this couple. “People are warming up to our sound only now. Earlier, we used to get the strangest reactions from the audience. People would start tilting their heads like lost puppies and wonder what our music was. And then suddenly it would hit them and they’d let go — that is the moment I live for,” says Saba.

Their tracks are diverse, yet they carry the Madboy Mink vibe which is blissfully addictive. Lemonade, one of most popular tracks was nominated for the VH1 handpicked song of the year award and the duo is currently working on the song’s music video. At the gig, they set the stage on fire with their personal favourites, Pimp the Disco and Taste your kiss.

Discussing what makes them the perfect team, Saba says, “Our sense of aesthetics are pretty in sync and we trip on the same kind of sound. He’s a creative genius. Absolutely off the hinge.” Imaad adds, “She’s a great partner in crime. She has auto tune inbuilt into her voice. Collaborating with Saba opened my eyes to the possibilities of working with old school swing vibe and her voice inspired me to think along those lines as well.”

What’s impressive is the band’s determination to give the audience all they’ve got. Their commitment to the concept of free music is remarkable as the complete album is available on their band-camp page for free downloads. They even give out free CDs. “We have faith in our songs and we want people to listen to them. Rather than a couple of hundred bucks, it’s more important to us that these songs reach people,” says Imaad.

This isn’t all; the duo has big plans for Madboy Mink. Apart from the upcoming music videos, it’s working towards power-packed performances. “We want to take it to a musical theatre-cabaret kind of space and make it an entire show, an audio visual experience as opposed to just music. A visual explosion of sorts,” says Saba, talking about how positive she is about the band’s prospects. Imaad concludes, “We’re filmmakers at heart and so we have a lot of visual ideas. Accompanied by strong collaborators in Mumbai who are stylists and cinematographers, we are ready to take this to the next level.”