Musicmandir is thrilled to feature Abhibyanjana Rubhi Thatal, an independent singer-songwriter from Gangtok, Sikkim. She recently released her single titled ‘Winter Love’ featuring Peeyush Nepal on 14th of May 2021 as part of her debut EP which is scheduled to release late 2021 or early 2022.

Abhibyanjana says ‘As we get deeper and deeper into a worldwide crisis, just like many other artists, I felt an immense need to push out my music which I’d been sitting on for too long. Making this single and my upcoming EP has been possible because of the team of two guys, Tapanjyoti Phukan and Rahul Rabha who believed in my music and worked with me. The indie-music scene in India has been booming today and I’m glad to be part of this independent circuit and emerging spaces like Musicmandir can push it forth in finding new gems, subjective as that may be’.

Musicmandir – Can you tell us about Winter Love?

Winter Love is a song about a search for comfort in a new beginning and in the end of phases in life. I wrote this song many moons ago when I found myself in the middle of change. This song is about embracing that change and looking back to comfort almost nostalgically. Perhaps the future is not so comfortable anymore. We’re all experiencing change and turbulence today and it has been more difficult than ever to realise and accept the situation we find ourselves in.  The team in this song has my immense respect, they have worked through despite troubles and sickness. 

Listen to Winter Love below

Musicmandir – How would you categorise or describe your music?

I notice a lot of us have difficulty categorizing our music because of the diverse sources of inspiration we have. I like to describe my music as eclectic and as vague as that sounds, that’s the point of it. Just like the multiple layers of identities I find myself living in I think my music is like that too. I used to describe my music as folksy and blues inspired but lately that has been changing as I notice alternative rock influences  in my songs as well as my growing fascination with soul and experimental sound. The transition from a draft on my guitar to a demo has the potential to transform a song and I would like it to be that way. I am inspired by a wide range of genres and there are times when I like to sound like a jazz song and times when I like to sound like a colourful EDM track and I like that freedom of not categorising myself, yet. What I can say for sure is that I wrote songs as a way to talk about things I wasn’t able to talk about normally. These things mostly include my feelings because I found it was easier for me to articulate logical thoughts to other people but more difficult to express my emotions. I think I could attribute this to my lack of ability to be absolutely vulnerable with people and I did that through the songs I wrote.

What I’ve noticed is that when a song goes from a draft to a demo and proper song there are so many changes that take place, it’s like they evolve into something more interesting. I think my music is an attempt to be honest, it is also a performance – a way in which I’d like to make you believe the idea of a person that I am. After working on Winter Love, I’m more and more interested in exploring various sonic qualities.

Musicmandir – Could you tell us a bit about Peeyush Nepal and his contributions to Winter Love? 

Peeyush Nepal is a musician from Gangtok. He writes songs in English and Nepali and enjoys music across different styles and cultures, especially folk music. He enjoys singing and harmonies the most. He’s also currently working on his Nepali EP which has songs which have blues and jazz influence with a  mix of folk and progressive music. Winter Love came to life when I was jamming with Peeyush in Pune. I had written the song months before we worked on it but somehow, the melodies weren’t sitting right by me. One day we met at a friend’s place in Pune and we were mindlessly jamming like we always do. He started playing E7 and a melody immediately struck me and I started singing, another friend Lydia also joined along and we even added one extra line to the song. It was a feeling of contentment, I’m sure we all felt it at that time. A song had come to life.  That was really beautiful. We still play that version whenever we have to play together. About a year later when we had to play for a REProduce Sikkim session, we called it ‘Winter love’. 

Musicmandir – If we peaked into your recent played songs right now, what would we would find?

My recently played songs are spilling slightly all over the place. Right now you’d find these songs in my recent list. 
1. Dripping Sun – Kikagaku Moyo 
2. Headaches – Raveena 
3. Secret Garden – Soda Island, Merival, Izzard 
4. Picasso – Wednesday Campanella
5. The Bamboo Princess –  Wednesday Campanella

Musicmandir – Having spent time in two different cities like Sikkim and Pune what are some things you can tell us are your observations as a musician if any? 

When I moved to Pune in 2016, I felt like I was transported to a totally new world. It was liberating as well as scary. I was able to immediately meet people and share my music with them and be doing small gigs within three or four months of being there. I think Pune has a really great music scene. There are so many artists and bands that come out from Pune and there are spaces to present your music out there and it’s always better if it’s your original music with your own style. There always seems to be a space where you could meet new people who hear your music. I think I wasn’t able to fully utilise that because I did not have enough energy to do both college and music, it is great for people who do. 

I find that in Gangtok it is not always as easy to be heard with your own music. There are also fewer spaces that give space to local artists here, but I’ve been lucky to be getting gigs here and find spaces to perform. I don’t think it’s the same for everybody here. When the cases were really low here in early 2021, every weekend was a live music night and you’d find somebody doing something, I don’t think this was always the case in Gangtok before. So, I see that it’s emerging and making space for musicians. As a musician, I think it’s still better to be in a bigger city like Pune or Mumbai to be heard. Sometimes, your voice can get drowned when you’re shouting from a distance and most spaces that give space to indie-artists are based in bigger cities. Far from Gangtok. Still I think that we should make noise and keep trying to carve our own spaces wherever we go, it is not always as easy as that sounds but I think it’s worth trying.

Musicmandir – 5 Indian independent artists that you enjoy listening to?

There are so many indie-artists to talk about. Right now the Indian indie artists I enjoy listening to are – 
Nishant Ramteke – His debut album Neran was so beautiful, I felt like I was lost in some distant world. 
Gauley Bhai – I feel like listening to Gauley bhai helps me stay connected to my own culture. I absolutely enjoy their music and it’s always easy to listen to them with older people in the family too.
Lifafa – I discovered Lifafa in 2019 and since then I’ve loved listening to this work. 
F16s – I found F16s around 2019 too and I really enjoy listening to them, it fills me up, feels like I’m soaking in the sun when I listen to them.  
Dot (Aditi) – I love her. Like so many people I was instantly drawn to her songs, it’s like a tweet in a song. 

Follow Abhibyanjana here

Discover more Independent artists by checking out our ‘Evergreens’ playlist here.