The F16s Ask the Burning Question: 'Is It Time to Eat the Rich Yet?' [Q&A]

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Photo: Ashwin Mohan

Is It Time to Eat the Rich Yet? It's not just the question I ask myself and the world on a nearly daily basis but the title of The F16s latest standout EP. While the aforementioned title may speak to greater woes of wealth and social inequality, the idyllic four-piece's particular brand of medicine this time around is sun-soaked surf-pop straight out of India's east coast.

Juxtaposing themes of hopelessness with a kaleidoscopic vision of indie pop, Is It Time to Eat the Rich Yet's five-track run is a mesmerizing tour de force that allows you the choice to dive deeper into its underlying current of helpless desperation, euphoric brand of surf pop, or bask in an intoxicating amalgamation of the two. It's little wonder The F16s were named a Spotify Radar artist, as part of Spotify's emerging artist platform to connect artists the world over with new audiences.  

We had the chance to speak with The F16s via e-mail to get the inside scoop on how they tackled quarantine,

Ones to Watch: Who are the F16s? What brought you all together?

The F16s: The F16s are Josh, Harshan, Sashank, and Abhinav. The quartet played in separate bands in Chennai’s college-rock circuit, all of whom imploded and led the four to find each other.

"I'm on Holiday" feels like a maturation of your sound? What brought that about?

While our previous work had us wearing our influences more directly, we’ve tried to make it a point to strive towards an original sound that encapsulates all these influences in shiny new packaging. Perhaps that’s the maturation you are talking about?

Why did you choose to contrast your sound and lyrics so distinctly?

It probably extends past that, to include the visual identity as well. To put it one way: the EPs themes are defeatist to begin with, why not juxtapose that with a glossy finish or humour? There is an undercurrent of anxiety and frustration through the record that we hope to have our audience buy into, by inviting them in with the glittery production and visual aesthetic.

Is surf pop the format of social awareness going forward?

Look, we’re just making what we think works for us. Everyone drapes their rhetoric in the throw of their choice.  

Can any of you make banana bread yet?

Try all of us. The first month of the pandemic had us doing stupid shit like this and dalgona coffee. Anything to distract ourselves, right?

Obviously, being from India influences your music, but specific to this EP, how did that manifest?

Sonically it doesn’t, or at least not as much as the question would indicate. Thematically, a little more; we grew very aware of the widening societal gaps and a general malaise among the people - which is very Indian. The visual clues lean that way as well, if you take the EP cover and Easy Bake Easy Wake.

What influenced you outside of music while creating this work?

Gardening, fostering animals, surfing when we could, along with taking responsibility for all aspects of this EP release.

What else can we look out for from you all?

We are already writing more, should be moving along soon enough. An instrumental dance EP? Probably shouldn’t.

Lastly, what Indian musicians and bands should we be looking out for. Who are your Ones to Watch?

JBABE, Dee En, Shashwat Bulusu.

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