Achyuth Jaigopal of When Chai Met ToastAchyuth Jaigopal, 25,
Photographer: Selvaprakash Lakshmanan For Forbes India
Stylists: Vaybhav Acharya And Geethanjali Manjunath; Hair & Make Up: Glossnglass; Wardrobe: Jacket (Grandma Would Approve)
Ashwin Gopakumar, 31, Palee Francis, 31, Sailesh Pai, 30
WHEN CHAI MEETS TOAST, MUSIC BANDAchyuth Jaigopal, Ashwin Gopakumar, Palee Francis and Sailesh Pai knew of each other through the music circles of Kerala. Earlier they were all part of different bands, but it was an inclination towards similar music interests that brought them together in 2016 to form When Chai Met Toast.
As intriguing as the name sounds, lead guitarist, Jaigopal, 25, says, “There is no big story behind it. It’s just something we came up with a day before our first show because we needed a name. We just felt it sounded right and fit the mood of the music we made.” Over time, while there has been a rise in the acceptance of independent music, the band’s music has evolved too—their first EP (a collection of four to six songs, as opposed to an album with more songs collectively spanning over 30 minutes) “Joy of Little Things” is all about an expression of joy and happiness, with acoustic-driven sounds. The sophomore (second) EP, “Believe’, dealt with thoughts of freedom, hope and belief and, in terms of music, had additional orchestral elements.
Their debut album, “When We Feel Young”, is about celebration, love, reminiscence and loss—a majority of it was put together during the lockdown. “It was challenging for sure, but having an album to complete kept us engaged during the lockdown. We had a lot of rough ideas prior to the lockdown, which we wanted to develop further. The lockdown gave us the time and space to revisit and produce the songs to the best of our abilities,” recalls Jaigopal.
“In 2021, When Chai Met Toast almost doubled their audience on Spotify. They are extremely consistent with their releases in terms of top-notch production values and quality,” says Padmanabhan NS, artists & label partnerships head, India, Spotify.
However, over the years, not much has changed when it comes to their writing process. What inspires their music, Jaigopal reckons, “are the experiences on the road, people we have met, situations we have gone through in our lives”. All four of them listen to and share with each other music from myriad genres, which also often sparks inspiration.
Another aspect that has become the band’s USP is the use of multiple languages, often in a single song. “For us, combining multiple languages is an additional tool to express different emotions. We find that evokes unique ideas for melodies, and would sometimes bring a new flavour to a song,” says Jaigopal.
In the coming year, the band hopes to tour a lot more, but while the pandemic settles, they are focusing on writing.