Exposure: Kapil Seshasayee
Glaswegian art rocker discusses his new single and upcoming debut
The increasing prevalence of far-right rhetoric has been on the minds of many artists and creatives over the past few years and understandably so. But while the focus tends to fall on the current political sphere in America or our slow descent towards Brexit, little attention is given to the fact that versions of the American alt-right exist outwith the western world. The underlying concept behind Kapil Seshasayee's debut album A Sacred Bore tackles this head on, exploring India's caste system and how the practices associated with the system extend beyond India and continue to result in the gross mistreatment of lower castes. With some exciting plans in the works for 2018, including an imminent tour and the release of his debut, we catch up with Seshasayee to hear more about the album's concept, his latest single 'The Agitprop' and his year ahead.
On his sound
I play a mix of improvised noise rock and Indian classical music – pulling equal influence from the serrated guitar sculptures of late avant composer Glenn Branca and the intricate ornamentations of violinist L Subramaniam.
On his creative process
I write like I'm soundtracking a film – with any song I write I'm trying to convey a narrative, and the onus is always on what interval or phrase best complements that narrative sonically.
On his thematic motivations
My upcoming LP is a concept album about oppression within the indian caste system – both in India and in diaspora. Having witnessed a caste-based confrontation between two Indian women in a job years ago which had caused one of them so much distress that she had resigned, I felt motivated to research more into the assertion that the concept of caste had been abolished long ago and was chiefly a third world concern if any. My research revealed an ongoing human rights tragedy which continues to be under reported if not entirely ignored by the rest of the world. I hope that with this album I might raise awareness of caste and its oppressions.
On his new release and video
My new single 'The Agitprop' explores the connections between Hindu nationalism and the alt-right. Despite their white supremacist rhetoric, the alt-right have appropriated major elements of Hindu philosophy reminiscent of modern Hindu nationalism (also known as Hindutva) as a means by which to galvanise their cause with a wanton spirituality. Notable right wing thinkers such as Julius Evola rejected Christianity but praised Hinduism for it's caste system (often deeming traits such as lightness of skin as favourable) as a natural protraction of Aryan tradition. Right wing groups have worked to spread this combination of Hindu mysticism and far-right ideology – with publishing houses such as Arktos publishing the writings of Evola and associations such as American Vanguard selling merchandise referencing the 'dark ages' referred to in Hindu mythology at the Charlottesville rally in 2017.
With the video for my new single, I collaborated with my friends in The Production Attic. We animated a number of my typographic works concerned with the caste system (released throughout 2017 and 2018) and combined them with a physical installation I debuted in Liverpool for this year's Wrong Festival. As the title track from the LP, I released a single last year which was a sparse, guitar-lead affair. I focused on really expanding the sonic palette of this single, inspired by the microtonal electronic flourishes of artists such as Holly Herndon and FKA Twigs.
On what to expect next
My album about oppression within the Indian caste system will arrive in September 2018 with a tour to follow of the UK and beyond. I'll be touring 'The Agitprop' across the UK this June with some festival appearances in London and Glasgow along the way! I'll be releasing two more typographic prints (in addition to the three already out) and debuting the installation which appears prominently in the video for the single in Scotland.