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Brassy, sassy Jane
Aurora Jane performs
at Someplace Else.
Picture by Rashbehari Das

There’s something ‘brassy’ about Aurora Jane — funky brass band uniform-like top paired with jeans, the bold voice and, of course, that lovely bronze hair. Back in India for her sixth visit — this time to launch her album Deep End — the Australian singer-guitarist stopped by for a late-night chat with t2 on Saturday after a high-energy gig at Someplace Else that also featured Mal Webb on the horns and Kozy Karsay on the drums.

So is this your third time back in Calcutta? Or your second?

I think it’s my third time back here. Have we played anywhere else? No we’ve only played (at) Someplace Else (laughs).

 

You’ve been touring in India for quite some time. Do you think audiences have evolved?

Yeah, I think across India, they have. It’s our sixth time back here and we’ve watched the scene grow and it’s been such an honour to be a part of that. Not many international bands have been coming back or have had a chance to come back. So it’s been great to notice the depth and dimension of people’s changing tastes. In the early days there was a lot of focus on rock and metal. Now audiences are a lot more receptive to different styles.

Tell us about your new album Deep End...

Deep End was recorded in Blue Frog in Mumbai, as well as in Canada and Australia. So it’s been recorded across three continents. And I was able to gather 12 to 15 musicians I know from across the world to collaborate with me on one disc. I think music is a beautiful form of cross-cultural communication. It was great to bring it back to India ’cause a lot of the songs were written here, like the song Till I Die, which was written in Mumbai. It’s called Deep End because the concept behind it is to consciously jump into the deep end, as a choice. It’s about taking the plunge.

Is Deep End different from your previous work?

Well, for one, I have gone back to electric guitars and I’m just carrying those on the tour. There are a few acoustic tracks in the album, though I’ve made it a point to stick to electric because that’s what I love playing. I’m a big fan of Hendrix and (Red Hot) Chili Peppers and I’ve been thinking about my teenage years and what influenced me as a child. I’ve gotten into this funk and fusion realm and with Mal playing horns the whole mood lends itself to this funk and soulful sound with a rocky element.

How have you evolved lyrically?

Deep End is a lot more intimate and personal. More of a spiritual, reflective album. I’ve taken more of an optimistic stance. There’s enough negative music. There’s enough complaining about all the shit in the world. It’s not that we’re ignoring it, but I want to encourage my audiences to be optimistic.

Do you ever feel outnumbered that there are so few women musicians out there?

As a whole, there are more women musicians on the scene now. My good friend Tipriti from Soulmate is another great example of that. In the five years that I’ve been coming to India, there’s been an expansion in the number of women on the scene. In fact, I’ve just come from Shillong where I met Aflatus — who are an all-girl band from there. I didn’t see any of this the first time I came here. And now I run into more and more women musicians here. But it’s not just India. It’s that way all over the world.

You’ve played with Soulmate, HFT, Dhruv Ganekar and a lot of other musicians in India. Any favourites?

I’d still stick my neck out and say Soulmate is one of the best blues acts I’ve seen in the whole world. It’s great to see them getting called and performing in the US and getting out of India.

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