The current scenario of the Indie music scene in Bangladesh has been blessed with a number of fresh bands, 'Alice and the Drunkard' is one of them.
When 'Alice and the Drunkard' released their last single 'Akre Dhore' in April, the two members of the band - Alice and Druto - were living in two different parts of the world.
Since January, Alice and Druto have been creating music from a long-distance stretching from Bangladesh to Norway.
This lyrical band has been active since 2019. After Druto went to Norway to pursue his MSc degree in 2020, the duo did not stop making music.
Instead, they took the challenge of creating music from two continents with two different time zones.
In a recent chat with The Business Standard, Nivedita Biswas Alice and Saugata Ghosh Druto spoke about their journey and the unique experience of having a 'long-distance band'.
"We used to jam random songs together. We're both learned musicians and we enjoyed sharing songs with each other but we never thought of starting a band. 'Alice and the Drunkard' was started on a whim. Since Druto was already in a band, we thought we would keep our new project acoustic with two vocals," Alice shared with us.
Immediately after forming the band, 'Alice and the Drunkard' got an invitation to perform at a session of 'Junction Presents Acoustica'. Soon, the band was slated to perform in the show's Hatirpool season as well.
The initial reception inspired the duo to come up with their first original 'Maluhia' (Tranquillity), which was released during the tough days of Covid-19 quarantine.
"I live in a very crowded place in Dhaka. Everyday I wake up to random noises and sounds. But during the quarantine period, the neighbourhood was awfully silent. One morning I was listening to Taimane Gardner's 'Maluhia', which is a song about the peace and serenity of Hawaii - her birthplace. While listening to it, I felt that my environment is also awfully calm and peaceful but in a very different way. It was deadly and people were barred from stepping outside. This is when I wrote Maluhia, our first original song," Alice reminisced.
So far, the band has released seven originals and five covers. They plan on releasing two collaboration projects by the end of this year.
'Akre Dhoro' and 4000 Mile are the songs the duo created as a long-distance band, with a distance of 4,000 miles between them.
Druto had a small home studio in Bangladesh with his own sound card, keyboard, monitors and two guitars. He used to take care of the music production process. But when the male vocalist left the country, things got difficult for the band.
He said, "Long-distance is really challenging for creating music because it requires you to work closely. The distance makes it tougher to make someone feel what you are visualising."
Alice added, "Besides, voice recordings and then giving feedback takes a lot of time. The two different time zones make it difficult."
Nevertheless, after overcoming initial hurdles, the band released their original '4000 Mile', covered 'Refugee' by Oi Va Voi long-distance and started adapting to reality.
"So far, distance hasn't stopped us from making music. If we want to make music together, distance won't be an issue. It takes some time to settle but once settled in, you fall into a pattern," Druto said, adding, "The amazing understanding between us has helped us perceive what the other person is trying to mean or visualise and what the outcome will be. Since we have set a pattern of communication, the distance can't affect our music-making process."
The band does not have any social media strategist or advisor. Their focus has always been solely on music.
Druto explained, "We don't follow any strategies to reach audiences. Reaching them is the last thing we think about because if we start considering people's taste, we will need to adjust our music and we are not ready to do that."
Every song by Alice and the Drunkard is a story. '4000 Mile' tells the story of Alice and Druto's distance from Bangladesh to Norway.
"After releasing this song, two people told us that they cried listening to the song. These comments inspire us to continue ahead. We don't mind if people don't listen to our songs but if it touches the heart of even one person, we feel grateful and blessed," the duo concluded.