Dance floor powerhouse Delhi 2 Dublin turns over new leaf, gets serious
Tarun Nayar is proud that his band, Delhi 2 Dublin, has a sound that is hard to classify. Hour Magazine once called the Vancouver-based group—which combines elements of hip-hop, electronic, Bhangra and Celtic music into a danceable amalgam—“The United Nations of rock ’n’ roll,” but that only seems to scratch the surface of what makes this quintet so dynamic.
“We’re children of the generation where everyone listens to everything,” Nayar says. “This whole digital music revolution has definitely changed the way people listen to music. Genres are definitely breaking down. There are no rules anymore, and we really embrace that.”
The notion of no rules even applies to the way Delhi 2 Dublin writes songs. For example, the band’s most recent effort, Turn Up the Stereo, released in February, was the first album in which the band worked on writing songs with more traditional structure (i.e. chorus, verses, etc.), as opposed to simply making what Nayar calls “party tracks.”
“We learned a lot,” admits Nayar, who plays the tabla and is responsible for the electronics. “In some cases, we hit the nail on the head, and in others we missed it, but I think you have to mess up a bunch on the way. I think this is our best album, despite the fact that there are some songs on there we don’t really like anymore.”
The title track suggests that Delhi 2 Dublin has not completely abandoned its party music background, but songs like “Code Red” and “Revolution” hint at the band’s serious side. Both tracks express an underlying dissatisfaction with the direction the world is headed. “Revolution,” in particular, features some sobering lyrics: “What are we living for/What are we dying for/What are we struggling for/When we just want to fly.”
“One of the things that’s happened throughout our evolution is we’ve become a lot more vocal about what we think,” says Nayar. “It used to be that we tried to maintain this apolitical stance, but now things in the world are going in a direction where it almost requires somebody to take a stand. ‘Revolution’ and ‘Code Red’ express this emotion of like, ‘OK, enough is enough. Let’s come together and celebrate what’s awesome.’”
Although Turn Up the Stereo was only released a few months ago, Delhi 2 Dublin’s next album is all Nayar can think about these days.
“I look at most of the tracks [on Stereo] and say, ‘I feel pretty stoked about the direction that track went in.’ And then on some others I think, ‘The original idea we had was way better than that finished product,’” Nayar laughs. “One of the things we learned from this album is that next time we’re not going to compromise. On the next album, if the original seed [of a song] is awesome, the finished product should at least be that awesome or even more awesome, but it shouldn’t be less awesome than the original seed idea.”
Regardless of how the next album takes shape, the band members have one goal: to find the best way to express themselves so that listeners can better understand what they’re all about. For Nayar, that is the beauty of music.
“When we write, what we’re trying to do is express our reality, express our truth,” he says. “I think a really good song touches on a truth that’s true for a lot of people, and that’s why it takes off. It communicates an idea that a lot of people can relate to.”
Delhi 2 Dublin performs at 9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23 at Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. Tickets are $12/adv, $15/door. For more information, call 479-1854.\
Photo: Sara Blonde