Originally based in New York City, Purple Cassette is an indie rock group founded by Ishan Kumar in 2018. Starting as a punk-rock 4-piece band, it was quickly recognised as one of the regular performers at NYC night clubs and underground venues such as Pianos, Arlene’s Grocery, The Bitter End, The Bowery Electric and many more. They later relocated to Delhi after a year’s hiatus with founder Ishan and bass player Siddharth Rajan.
Recording their first EP in 2019, the band’s influences include The Velvet Background, David Bowie, Ramones, The Verve, Kasabian, The Strokes and Blur. Their sounds are reminiscent of 70’s punk rock but with a twist. The melodic vocals are mellow and universally nostalgic while also being highly addictive.
‘Thinking Ahead of Time,’ their recent concept album explores themes of self-confidence, frustration and identity. Inspired by their difficulties as musicians, the album motivates the listener to pursue their dreams and get their creative juices running. Recorded, mixed and mastered at Kintsugi Studios in New Delhi, the album is power packed with elements of Baroque Rock and core ideas of Proto-Punk rock.
The first track of the EP ‘Got what you need’ talks about breaking away from the norm and dealing with the loneliness it could potentially bring. The nostalgic synth with the baroque rock elements, in the beginning, is later coupled with drums and guitar setting a very catchy and fun mood for the rest of the song. The song with its peppy melody feels so wonderfully old-school and coming-of-age. The interesting synth background that runs throughout the song compliments the vocals that are typical for this kind of music. “Got what you need somewhat deals with what we were going through while trying to make music full time,” says the band. It is something that they, and all of us wish to hear regularly thus making this self-motivational track very appealing to youngsters and other people going through a hard time.
The tracks in the EP have Ishan Kumar on the vocals, guitars, and synths, Siddharth Rajan on the bass guitar, along with Vishwam Raghavendran and Nishant Rastogi on the drums, all working beautifully well together. This can be seen in ‘Take it apart,’ the second track of the album. With the very grunge intro with scintillating guitar chords, the song talks about moving on from past mistakes. Being in the music industry, one must always be ready to face criticism, mostly from oneself. There’s a lot of overthinking and harsh criticism that a musician can experience and this is delicately crafted into the song. It talks about how one should be more confident and overcome challenges. The melody and the background support are light making the lyrics the star of the show. It talks about dealing with ‘shame’ in a manner that is capable of making the listener question why nobody writes lyrics like this anymore. ‘Take it apart’ is therefore a nod to the past with the otherworldly/distant effect of the vocals adding to the effect of being in your head too much, forgetting the reality altogether. Nevertheless, the persistent happy tone of the song reassures that these anxieties are quite normal for a human being with the soaring and uplifting melodies in the end adding a nice balance to the whole song.
The final track of the EP ‘Thinking Ahead of Time,’ is the first song that the band wrote in 2018. The song talks about identity aka who/what you see yourself as. “I still have so much to do in life. There are a lot of things I haven’t done but have been meaning to do for such a long time now,” are thoughts all of us are familiar with. This song questions that feeling of chasing desires that never seem to end. The haunting melodies and the catchy chorus have a slightly different but great vibe compared to the other two songs in the EP, thus making it quite a refreshing track.
The EP on the whole thus talks about some of the more niche, less talked about concepts in life. It proves that simple music with a touch of creativity and some catchy tunes can get your music to reach the world. Though this was an EP that was inspired by personal events, the vulnerability made ‘ThinAheadahead of Time’ more relatable. The fact that they talked about something so universal but less talked about makes the band unique. We are looking forward to hearing more music from them.