Dehli 2 Dublin :: Evolution in sound

by Jesse Blackman

Vancouver’s Delhi 2 Dublin has found success combining Punjabi and Celtic instruments to create an incredibly catchy high-energy sound. With the release of their third LP, Turn Up The Stereo, D2D brings new dimensions to their music. Stylus spoke briefly with the band’s electronic master, Tabla player, and co-producer Tarun Nayar about the new album and what it means for D2D.

D2D’s new album has grown naturally out of many elements, from New York musician and producer Dave Sharma, to travel music and a retreat to Bali. As a result some songs on the new LP have been played in concert in some form or another for a couple of years, but there is a lot of rehearsing left to do before the entire album is concert ready. The biggest obstacle is that it’s “a bit of a challenge to move something from the studio to the live show,” Nayar admits. “For example, on a bunch of the tracks Andrew Kim, our guitar player, is also playing sitar or is playing like three guitar lines at the same time in the studio version.”

Figuring out who plays what has become a challenge. “Does the violin pick up one of those lines [. . .] or if he plays guitar and sitar in the same track does he play guitar but without the sitar part or what?” Nayar explained that “in the studio you have no limits, right, you can just do whatever you want and when you play it live it’s like ‘well, okay, how do we actually do this?’”

Regardless of real world limitations, once those adjustments are made Delhi 2 Dublin will be ready to yet again hit the road and bring audiences their newest works.

With so many hours on the road, the band realized that there are songs “that sound just as good when played acoustically as they do when played electronically” and that became a goal: “to make an album that we would listen to over and over again.”

With that goal in mind and some rough material, D2D retreated to a house they had rented for a week in Bali, “way far away from all the stresses of our lives,” explained Nayar. There they jammed and hashed out the songs that would become the new album. Nayar recounted that during a Skype call on the second last night in Bali, Sharma told them not to “lose sight of the goal,” so the next day the band played all of their songs with just an acoustic guitar. They had covered up “some of the song writing flaws with production,” Nayar admits, “and you could really hear that when all of a sudden you pull the production away.”  The acoustic session helped D2D fine tune the smaller details and strengthen the sound of their now more polished songs.

As for the sound of the album, “it’s slightly different” — an evolution in D2D sound. As Nayar eloquently put it, “this album is a natural part of our evolution—where we had to take it.” There is a feeling of growth from D2D, and Nayar thinks that “the live shows have gotten better and more interesting.”  Although the new album “might be too different” for some people who loved past D2D tracks, Nayar believes that’s alright because he’s “sure a lot of people will like Turn Up The Stereo more.”

Beyond that Nayar says “it’s really about writing music that we (Delhi 2 Dublin) like” and from what D2D has already done, I think we can trust them to keep pushing the boundaries of their unique sound.

Now, five years after D2D first met Sharma (Canada Day 2007, in front of 100,000 and an national TV audience), he’s on the verge of taking a much bigger role in D2D.  Recently he has played as a guest for a couple of songs during a recent show in New York. “He knows the songs inside-out; so he doesn’t need much rehearsal and he’s a kick ass drummer,” Nayar said emphatically, concluding that it is “so fun to have him play.”  This has lead D2D to start “talking about having him on part of the fall tour to do some of these bigger shows especially in Western Canada to just step it up again.”

Obviously, Delhi 2 Dublin is “always looking to make things better and make things more interesting” and that truly shows contrasting early D2D performances to more recent appearances. On that note, Winnipeggers should be really excited as we have been privileged with Delhi 2 Dublin at the Winnipeg Folk Festival and several other shows here over the years, most recently last winter with Oka. Speaking on behalf of the whole band, Nayar said that the Oka show at the Garrick was “one of our favorite shows last year.”  Nayar sounded very excited about when D2D comes through Winnipeg in October because it will also be “the first show on that leg of the tour” which will take them further West into territory where they have their strongest fan base. With all the time, effort, and thought that has gone into Turn Up The Stereo, it’s definitely an album to check out.

Delhi 2 Dublin, Ravi Binning, Andrew Kim, Sanjay Seran, Sara Fitzpatrick, and Tarun Nayar, will be returning to Winnipeg on November 6 with a new set-list and a big impressive sound and contagious energy—get ready for D2D like you’ve never seen them before.

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