Photography Sambit Biswas
My oldest memory of listening to Kuhad dates back to 2015 when I stumbled upon Oh Love playing on VH1. The song stuck with me and over the years I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing him live. Prateek Kuhad’s music feels like finding a scribbled note tucked away in a book, the comfort of warm bonfires, guitar strings of love and heartbreak. Kuhad’s latest album echoes this sentiment of love, the longing, the back-and-forth, the heartache, all the mess that love can be. While he’s touring in the US, we had a conversation with him about the success of his EP, cold/mess.
From your self-titled debut EP to cold/mess, your music has gone through a transformation. Tell us a bit about your journey from the debut EP to the massive success of ‘cold/mess’.
I tend not to dwell on the past too much so it kinda feels like a blur. Still not sure if I would call cold/mess a ‘massive’ success but I feel proud of this record and I feel like it has affected a lot of people in good ways and I feel very grateful that I was able to do that. I think the sound changing is just an organic process any musician would go through. Every passing year you listen to new music, get inspired in different ways and improve upon your own craft – so an evolution of sound is bound to happen.
“I called it Cold/Mess because it’s a dichotomy – for me feeling cold is associated with a nice thing – like when you feel cold, you want your lover next to you for warmth – and mess is well, just mess.”
Tell us a bit about your songwriting process. What do you emphasize more on, the melody or the lyrics?
For me it’s more about the words – I feel like melodies can still be moulded around words and there’s a lot you have to play around with. I could have a nice melody but if it’s not working with the words, I won’t think twice before changing it. I would rarely, if ever, change words to suit a melody – you know if you have found words that are saying exactly what you want to say, finding a replacement for that is very hard. Melodies are quite flexible. That’s what I think, though and really there are no rules to songwriting – what’s good is good.
Why did you call it cold/mess?
It’s a dichotomy – for me feeling cold is associated with a nice thing – like when you feel cold, you want your lover next to you for warmth – and mess is well, just mess.
Did you anticipate the video to be the massive success that it was?
No, I did not. I loved the video though even before it was out and I was very excited to release it. I knew my fans would like it but I didn’t think it would go much beyond that. I’m also generally a bit of a cynic.
“I feel like my songs never tell any stories. Like there’s really no start or an end or any sort of a narrative. I think they’re mostly fragments of feelings woven together into a somewhat wholesome entity.”
The artwork that came out with ‘cold/mess’ seems like an integral part of the storytelling process, tell us a little about the idea behind the postcards.
There’s just a subtle visual story with each song that I wanted to put forth, that’s how the artwork and the postcards came about.
Your songs seem to tell a story…is that what you intend from them?
Do they? I feel like my songs never tell any stories. Like there’s really no start or an end or any sort of a narrative. I think they’re mostly fragments of feelings woven together into a somewhat wholesome entity.
Lastly, what’s in store for you in 2019?
Lot of touring and then hopefully a short vacation.
Text Samiksha Chaudhary