Our man in black rims Matthew Schnipper talked to Ramesh Srivastava for Issue 44 on the strength of his two EPs under the Voxtrot banner. In the feature—which we've posted after the jump—there was mention of a hypothetical LP coming on Playlouder Recordings. Fuck a hypothesis! The LP is out today, and if you buy the vinyl-version in a store you get a free mp3 download of the album, which seems fair. Anyhow, good tunes. And you can check Ramesh and his band on tour through the end of June. Dates and informative blog here.
Voxtrot is the indie pop Lauryn Hill
By Matthew Schnipper
Ramesh Srivastava keeps a blog, and this past September he detailed how a Voxtrot practice made him cry: “More and more I find myself in a scenario where I am situated in a room with a group of people listening to one of our songs boom out of a set of speakers, and as the song plays people issue their various views about the song's strong and weak points. I fucking hate this. On the particular day in question, as this was occurring, I pretty much lost it and burst into tears, which I know is completely ridiculous.” Maybe it’s ridiculous, but it’s better than not caring and making bad music. In the song “Rise Up in the Dirt,” he sings boastfully that he believes in love and, naturally, in the next line he professes that he’s married to his work. Really, Voxtrot and Srivastava are indistinguishable.
So Voxtrot (the music) sounds just this close to Voxtrot (the band). The sound has little accoutrements to represent emotions—maybe there is a blow of a French horn for emptiness, a piano trill for failed effort. The songs aren’t epics but instead little vignettes of young life reinterpreted as guitar based pop music. They sound vaguely British and when the keyboard kicks in, maybe more than a little like Ben Folds Five. There’s a universality to Voxtrot, like an indie-pop Lauryn Hill—incredibly personal, widely loved and critically acclaimed. But unlike Hill, Srivastava and friends remain Grammy-less—Voxtrot still hasn’t even released an album. Srisvastra is flippant about the public’s (or, as he puts it, “the blogosphere’s”) desire for the band to release a full-length (he’s big on EPs). Nonetheless, Voxtrot plans to “supposedly” release an album in the Spring on British label Playlouder.
Early in our conversation, Srivastra tells me that he dropped out of college to play music. He’d been writing “man and his guitar” songs and playing loosely with Voxtrot, but finally he let the band coalesce and bubble up. He says it so plainly, as though all 23-year-olds abandon parent-satisfying BAs to pursue their eternal musical dreams. When I ask him if it’s strange—such new semi-fame and praise—he answers so quick it’s almost curt: “No, I love it.” Then he takes a mental step back, laughs tiny and pauses, then finally admits with playful self-awareness that, of course, “Pride comes before the fall.”