Music

Here’s the story of how chai met toast

“There is nothing dramatic about how the band name came about. We were about to perform for a gig and someone suggested ‘When Chai Met Toast’ and we went ahead with it,” says Ashwin Gopakumar the vocalist of Kochi-based acoustic folk/indie rockers When Chai Met Toast.

The band of four was recently in Visakhapatnam to perform at Somaa Restobar. This is their second trip this year as they performed at GITAM University. “The crowd was amazing and we had a lot of fun performing there. It feels nice coming back to a city that appreciates our work,” adds Ashwin who is also delighted that there a bunch of people here who follow their work. Three and a half years after its inception in 2016, to know it has followers across the country is still a special feeling. “Initially, we only saw friends and family in the crowd . But now, we are seeing other faces in the crowd who are aware of our music and appreciate it,” says Achyuth Jaigopal the guitarist of the band who also plays the banjo.

Biggies in their bag
  • The Pune edition of Bacardi NH7 Weekender
  • Kala Utsavam in Singapore
  • The Hornbill Festival of Nagaland
  • The Vajor Festival in Delhi
  • Upcoming performances
  • The India Story Festival in Kolkata
  • The Sula Fest 2020 in Nasik

It all began with Ashwin and Achyuth jamming together in a studio in Kochi. The two-piece band now has Pai Sailesh who plays the drums and Pale Francis who is on the keyboards. Together, they have 12 originals to their name. Most of their songs are written are in English with phrases in Hindi and Tamil peppered around. “It was a conscious choice initially to make the songs relatable even to the people who don’t listen to English tunes. Thankfully, we have managed to have these multi-lingual phrases in all our songs; but we never alter lyrics or tunes to force them into the song,” says Ashwin. ‘Ne Araa’ is the only Malayalam song that the band has composed till date.

“Our diverse backgrounds has helped the multi-lingual nature of our songs. I have a defence background hence the command over Hindi. Achyuth knows Tulu and Tamil while Sailesh has a Konkani lineage and Palee is Malayalee,” says Ashwin.

The band’s first album was Joy of Little Things in 2017. The musicians believe that their debut on YouTube and the launch of Spotify in India changed a lot of things for them. “Through YouTube people who had never seen us live started watching our videos and following us. When Spotify was launched in the country last year, they started including our songs in their acoustic and indie playlists which got us more listeners. This is a huge thing for independent musicians who are trying to make a mark,” says Ashwin. The band has over 1.42 lakh listeners on Spotify and over 60 thousand subscribers on YouTube.

They have been touring extensively for the past one month and have a packed schedule for the winters. “Touring is the most difficult part of being a band. The erratic flight timings, irregular sleep patterns and the changing food takes a toll on the body. It is physically and mentally exhausting ,” confesses Achyuth. However, all the four agree that the passion for music and the love from the fans trumps all the discomforts and inconveniences.

Their mantra: No matter what the crowd - five or 5,000, the performance will always groove.


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Printable version | Jul 25, 2021 7:22:56 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/heres-the-story-of-how-chai-met-toast/article30295584.ece

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