“All our songs have a bit of both of us in them. They’re slightly mine and also slightly hers which makes them completely new.”
BookMyShow’s mega musical Aladdin yielded more than dancing stars, magic carpets and Indianised genies. It also enabled some magical connections, one such being Gouri and Aksha’s. Soulful, melodious and honest – not to mention catchy, the girls settle down and put on a wonderful show of their own for LIVE at PORT. Later we find that not only are they perfectly coordinated musically, they also finish each other’s sentences.
It was while harmonizing together on stage and sharing a Green Room that Gouri and Aksha realised that they gel well together as musicians. They learned that they had similar influences, started practicing keys and singing together – and ended up spending an entire day in a Delhi hotel room writing their first song. That was when they just knew they had to keep going.
Speaking about their unique sound, Gouri says, “I think the first priority is to be as honest as we can. All our songs have a bit of both of us in them. They’re slightly mine and then slightly hers which makes them completely new.” Aksha agrees that music has to be something they both enjoy, with lyrics specific to them and their tastes. When describing their process she says, “We like to push the boundaries a bit. We like that sweet melancholic space – but then we’ve also written fun songs because we wanted to experiment. Like for our song ‘Peculiar’ – we started from scratch and contributed equally – but then there are songs like ‘Look Inside’ that we’ve modified for two vocalists. Some songs have started from lyrics, riffs….” Completing her sentence, Gouri adds “riffs that I’ve made years ago. It was really much easier to finish because we were together.”
After getting suggestions to name their gig awkward things like ‘GouRaksha’ the girls decided to stick with the name ‘Gouri and Aksha’. “I think it’s because we bring a lot of our individuality into our music and you’ll hear a lot of different sounds in our music, so we want to keep two separate identities in our name as well,” explains Aksha.
A song close to their hearts is ‘Peculiar’. Inspired partly by a scene from the film ‘Beginners’ that Aksha loves. “The protagonists dress up and are really peculiar and they gel together and it’s a moment where you really want to live their lives. So it was vicarious. So the song is not about anyone in particular? “It’s about that feeling. You should have your own peculiar somebody that you like,” smiles Gouri.
Creating harmonies together also means that the girls have become friends. “The writing and the hanging out happens together. The line between chilling and writing a new song is blurred – sometimes we’ll just be meeting to practice but we’ll end up writing a song together,” says Gouri. Aksha adds how they also share friends [the cast and crew of Aladdin] and an almost irrational love for chai.
All set to release a song that’s drastically different from their current sound, the girls also have a video out, which they describe as a ‘very straight up version of what we are as a unit’ called ‘Change’. If it’s anything like their live act, it’s one to look out for.
words by Shaista Vaishnav