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Introducing: Singzu Joint

features Jun 20, 01:48pm

Singzu Joint call themselves so, considering the eclectic mixture of genres that coalesce in the band's music and writing style. We spoke to musician, producer, and Singzu Joint co founder, Laishram Eroz Khumancha, about the band's music, birth, pitfalls, future, and more.
 Photo Courtesy: Deepak Shijagurumayum

Singzu Joint's debut EP Making Love In Imphal was the accidental product of a bunch of experiments conducted by producer, guitarist, and vocalist Laishram Eroz Khumancha, during his time studying sound engineering techniques and tools under Bangalore based musician and producer Jeet Singh. "I was studying sound engineering under him in his studio," Laishram says, "I used to mess around with stuff, with Cubase and DAWs, and accidentally enough, our first song, 'Making Love In Imphal', was born - the music. So, I decided to send the files to my friend Rajiv Nongmeikapam [guitarist], and Riki Chingangbam - who is our vocalist. I asked them what they thought about the music, and they were really interested." The passing around of music files quickly turned into a project with a definitive objective, and work on the initial music began with laying down guitars and vocals, creating the band's first song and soon to be the title track of their debut EP. The name ‘Singzu Joint’, as Laishram tells us, comes from a local dish called Singzu - a mixture of different spices and vegetables - allegoric to the kind of music the band writes. "We use the 'Singzu' to signify the mixture;” he says, “So, Singzu Joint is basically a mixture of genres in music including whatever we like, like folk, electronica, and whatever that comes to our mind."

Although, Laishram’s music sparked the birth of a band back in 2012, the project faced an almost immediate standstill, subsequent to its birth. A lack of monetary support was crippling the band from taking the project any further, Laishram says: "Since I was using DAWs and Cubase, I could make the music myself but I couldn't go to a studio to record the guitar and vocal tracks because we didn't have the money. So, we had to wait till 2014 to get it all done - that's two years." The EP’s recording had to be treated as a DIY project, with as little equipment and manpower as possible. "I didn't even have a Keyboard," Laishram says, "I used the computer keyboard as my Synth and hooked it up to a pair of broken headphones.” The constant onslaught of unfavourable fortune and difficulty did little to faze these musicians at all. On the contrary, the band found their own way to raise the funds to record an EP - Making Love In Imphal. “The drums and the bass were programmed by me,” Laishram says, “The guitars were recorded in Imphal and Bangalore. It was a great experience overall, because we weren't confined to one studio, instead we were getting experience from many sound engineers in different studios.”


Not unlike most other bands resident to the North East, Singzu Joint centre their music around socio-political issues. "The EP Making Love In Imphal is about life in Imphal and Manipur;" Laishram says, "What the social and political situation is like, but we wanted to put a twist to it by introducing the love angle also. How we try to forget each and every difficulty we faced out there through love. It is basically about how people need freedom, not like freedom from India or anyone, but personal freedom." Laishram iterates Singzu Joint's music to be a form of self expression toward their conflict ridden life, he says: "We have the AFSPA and the armies everywhere," Laishram says, "And these things are making wars everywhere. So, we wanted to tell people enough is enough, and we have life, and we need to move on, with love. Our idea of freedom is personal freedom and not the sovereignty of the state or country, we don't believe in boundaries."

Feeling fairly confident about their next step, Singzu Joint members are busy breaking sweat and bone to raise the money to purchase instruments and equipment, for live shows and recordings. But gigs in Imphal are hard to come by, “On paper it might seem like the music scene in Imphal is great,” Laishram says, “But it’s actually not true. There are almost no gigs, the few that are, are conceived and managed by the bands only.” Even so, the band members seem unfettered and faithful in their plans for the future. “Right now our guitarist is in Imphal,” Laishram says, “I and our vocalist are in New Delhi. We don't plan to go live with the band immediately because we want to focus on another album. We want to have at least ten songs before go live, and we don’t even have the instruments to go live. So, we're working right now, earning money. And hopefully, our plan is to go live by January 2015, in the meantime we plan on releasing a few more songs.”

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