Shah Jahan

KALEIDOSCOPIC genius' Shah Jahan are one of the hottest offerings to come out of Chicago in recent times, arguably soon to be on par with the likes of Muddy Waters and Nat King Cole, a bold statement for a very exciting prospect.

Showing prominence in both the psychedelic and prog-rock circles, the foursome boast daringly cool vocals and mind-bending riffs, sharing paths with Tame Impala and Temples.

With a steady stream of gigs, an ever-growing social media presence and a highly desirable persona, Shah Jahan seem to have it all.

Recently dropping latest single, Baby Blaise and In Samsāra, they have received an overwhelming amount of positivity from all corners of the globe.

The single presents distant vocals from front-man, Trevor Pritchett in such a god-like form, interacting enchantingly with a deep grooving bass-line from Patrick Tsotsos. Lifting the single, Nick Dehmlow's 60s guitar chords feed from Brendan Peleo-Lazar's beatnik beat to send listeners in a LSD infected daze.

Not afraid to add alternative sounds, In Samsāra has the edition of a bouzouki, providing a refreshing vista. The overall poetic rhythm of each tune has this majestic defining mysticism - definitely a crowning glory.

As one of The Music Manual's hotly tipped bands of 2016, we grabbed an interview with bassist, Patrick Tsotsos to find out more about the lads from Illinois.

Bradley Danner
How did Shah Jahan all come about?

Shah Jahan was conceived out of a past recording project I'd started after leaving a previous band in the winter of 2014, I’ve known Nick and Brendan for about five years and Trevor for two.  After recording a couple of songs at Treehouse Records, I showed them to the guys and we all got together soon after to record our first EP in March of 2015. 

I’d say we all came together 'officially' around then as we were still writing the EP in the studio. We soon played our first show that following May and haven’t stopped since.

You’ve recently dropped Baby Blaise and In Saṃsāra, how has the response been?

Yeah we released our first 7” single through our friends label (TMB Limited) and the response has been pretty good so far! We recorded the record straight to tape in Brendan’s basement (Seven Levels Studios).

Have you ever thought about using more obscure instruments within your music?

Yes, we used a bouzouki on “Sunset Moon” and “In Saṃsāra”.  It’s a classic Greek instrument with 8 strings that has a beautiful, distinctive sound.  

We recently picked up an organ player and he has a mini mellotron, so we’re stoked to experiment with the different sounds along with the sitar-guitar and other miscellaneous instruments we could get our hands on.  

Do you think bands can do just as well without the backing of a big label?

There are no rules in the music industry these days so it’s hard to tell how far you’d get with or without one if you choose to sign up.  

We have a home studio in Brendan’s basement that allows us have complete control and freedom of whatever we want to produce.  For our 7” Single, we worked with our close friend Billy who runs a local blog and radio station The Minimal Beat and released the record through TMB Limited

There are other smaller labels we like to work with here in Chicago like Dumpster Tapes and Eye Vybe Records that are always putting out great music.

How would you describe the music scene in Chicago at the moment?

Chicago has a great DIY scene, there are tons of house shows going on every weekend and it’s a great way to meet new people. Chicago is known for the blues but unfortunately all those old jazz and blues clubs are closing down to be sold for retail spaces. 

Bradley Danner
There are all sorts of bands and all sorts of venues that compliment each other- there’s a large variety of music and we’re glad to be a part of it.

Is image a crucial part of the package for you?

Fashion is another way to express yourself. It’s not everything, but it’s something.

If you could play any venue, which one would you play and why?

Anything from playing a house show to a huge summer festival anywhere in the world would be satisfying.

What are your plans for the future?

Record our first album and follow it up with a tour where ever it may take us. We want to travel and continue to write new music.

Words Lauren Jones


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