Shantanu Pandit, who now performs under the pseudonym of Morning Mourning, belongs to the group of artists that one treasures, ones we keep tucked away. There is a sense of vulnerability in his songwriting that permeates the entire space as his music plays in the background. The songs have undercurrents of a beautiful haunting, strings that pull you back and forth through nostalgia and homesickness, a sense of looking back at old photographs, sweet reminders, of growth, joy and memories lost and found. With his new album coming up later this year, we sat him down for a conversation on his journey.
Tell us about your journey from your debut EP, Skunk in the Cellar, to the present.
It has been almost five years since Skunk. I remember, right after doing Skunk, I was super impatient about recording the Run it's the Kid album because those songs were already getting old for me. A grueling two years later we managed to get the album done, after a couple of failed attempts. By the time the album was out, [co-musician] Bhola and I had already written a chunk of songs for the next one. We were in a weird place where we didn't feel like playing the old songs, and we were still trying to figure out where we were headed with the new stuff. We’re still in that place, to be honest, which is one of the many reasons why we haven't played a show in almost three years.
In the meantime, starting late 2015, I had begun writing material that I knew wouldn't fit with RITK or my old solo project. It felt like a new chapter of songwriting for me; songs that came from a place that I hadn't tapped into before. This led me to start Morning Mourning in September 2016. By this time, I had developed a keen interest in recording music as well and would spend most of my time recording my songs wherever I could.
Halfway through 2015 till about a year ago, it was a confusing time for me. I was moving houses a lot, living out of bags, having to live in places where I'd need to be able to leave in a moment’s notice. I moved to Hyderabad for about six months last year. Now I'm back in Delhi doing an MA.
I'm still very confused.
You happen to be the lead singer for Run it’s the Kid as well; how do you juggle between the dynamics of being in a band with your solo music intact?
I don't juggle. When I was doing RITK, I quit everything else I was doing [which turned out to be a huge mistake]. And now RITK is on hold, so I'm only focusing on MM. I think I need juggling lessons.
How would you define your music?
What are some of your influences as a singer/ songwriter?
Lately, my biggest influence has been the way I used to feel when I was a child. There's something so potent about that state of mind. Magical things would happen to me [as with everybody], and I know that I can never re-create that charm, but I feel that I get pretty close sometimes with my songs.
Your last album, Is This Biodegradable, is under the pseudonym of Morning Mourning. Tell us about the inspiration behind the album as well as the reason for the pseudonym.
Is This Biodegradable is my attempt at harnessing the spirit of my youth. It was one of my favourite questions to ask. I would point at everything I saw and ask my mother - “is this biodegradable? What about this? And that?” and she would always find it hilarious.
There’s no reason for why I decided to go with Morning Mourning. I got booked for Ziro festival and needed a name, and that was the best I could come up with at the time. Maybe there's a reason, and I just don't know it yet. Maybe I'll change it tomorrow.
What else is in store for 2019?
I have an amazing new album that should be done later this year. I will also try to do some music videos for this one. I hope to be able to write some new RITK material as well, and play a bunch of shows with my friends.
Text Samiksha Chaudhary