When Chai Met Toast met Showtime

When Chai Met Toast met Showtime

The Kochi band's latest song ‘Kahaani’ has lyrics by Bollywood music composer Ankur Tiwari

When Ashwin Gopakumar and Achyuth Jaigopal met in 2014, they decided to join hands and create music. But it became a full-fledged band only when Palee Francis and Sailesh G Pai joined the crew. Thus began the journey of the multilingual pop-folk band ‘When Chai Met Toast’.

Hailing from Kochi, their music has taken them to many cities. Their hits include ‘Khoj’, ‘Firefly’ and ‘Believe’. The pandemic year is when they dropped their first album ‘When We Feel Young’. Their latest song ‘Kahaani’ is now doing the rounds on social media.

Showtime caught up with the musicians to talk about the album.

Most of your music is a combination of English, Hindi and Tamil, but your new song ‘Kahaani’ is your first solely Hindi one. Tell us more about it.

Achyuth: We usually have a bank of voice recordings on our phone. The melody for ‘Kahaani’ was put out by Ashwin last year on an Insta story and we thought the melody sounded cool. But that was in English. Then when we started working on the album, we revisited a lot of those recordings and finally, we felt it’ll be better if it’s in Hindi. We had Bollywood music director Ankur Tiwari pen the lyrics for us and here we are now.

And what's it like working on a full-fledged album?

Palee: We got a lot of time to work on it as we started last February. We tried a lot of different versions of it and gave it our best for all the songs. And then the pandemic started and because we weren’t travelling anywhere, we keep working on it and making it better.

How many more songs to be released in the album?

Sailesh: Three songs have released so far. We have five more to go. Our initial plan was to tour with the album, and we still hope to do that when things get better. But right now, whenever we feel the audio and video are complete, we release the song.

Being a band from Kochi, do you feel the audience would mind that the album has just one Malayalam song?

Shailesh: We didn’t think of that factor, to be honest. We don’t release music catering to certain people. We release what we feel is good.

Achyuth: Yes, if the song is good, no matter the language, people will like it.

Are you planning to try out more languages then?

Palee: Nahi!

Ashwin: But here’s the thing though. It also has to be languages that we know and understand, and whether I can pronounce those words right. Everything else we want will fall in place after that. 

What’s the story behind the name ‘When Chai Met Toast’?

Ashwin: Achyuth and I got a chance to play at a gig and we needed a name. Our manager and we were sitting in a cafe in Thiruvananthapuram in 2015, just brainstorming names and we came up with this one.

Achyuth: It was just that among the names we came up with, this happened to be the best.

Did you expect ‘Firefly’ to become such a success?

Ashwin: We didn’t expect anything as much. Releasing new music was our only goal and it was only after the release did we realise that people like this kind of music. So we continued.

What are your thoughts on the indie music scene in the country? 

Ashwin: It’s definitely grown over the last decade and we can see that there’s enough and more independent music made available by music apps. Now you don’t need to hunt for CDs, it’s easily available. So I feel the bridge has reduced between Bollywood and indie music.

(‘Kahaani’ is on YouTube, Spotify and Apple Music)