We had a chance to talk to Mumbai-based independent music project Arrows, the brainchild of musician and music journalist David Britto.
By: Craig Claro
CAGE RIOT: Hi Dave, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us. Your Spotify Bio says “he invites guest vocalists to feature on his songs”. I find this to be a very smart tagline because it immediately made me want to hear all of your music.
How do you find the guest vocalists, ie social media surfing, or other methods?
Arrows/Dave: I’ve been a part of the independent music scene here in India since 2008 as a fan, performer, and journalist and over time I’ve become friends with some exceptionally talented artists. Once I have a song written I usually have a clear idea of who I want to work with on that particular song and what kind of sound I am going for. The artists I’ve collaborated with thus far thankfully have all agreed to work with me and it was usually just a call or text message to them asking if they would be up for it, that’s how it’s worked so far.
CAGE RIOT: That’s very cool. When I was growing up I never realized that someone who sang a song wasn’t necessarily the writer. As I grew and learned the process that you used is what the biggest successes in music have used to create the hits we listened to (think D Parton writing “I Will Always Love You” - becoming Whitney’s signature song) A great performer is not necessarily going to write nonstop hits without some help. And this behind-the-scenes method has created innumerable and probably some of the best hits in the world.
CAGE RIOT: We actually have been fans of Arrows since we came across “To Your World”, (playlisted on Cage Riot’s Discover: Indie Rising) a collaboration you did with Raghav Meattle. We loved the music video on YouTube. Our attempt to read the comments section today made us exhausted - at how many comments there were!! It must be so great to have so much support for your music!! The song deserves it; beautifully sung, wonderfully performed, and well written, it’s a great track. We loved the performance by Raghav (we just playlisted “City Life” on our singer-songwriter playlist if the readers want to check them out).
Can you tell us a little about the background of the video story for “To Your World”, how its imagery represents the lyrics, and explain the overall message you had intended to convey with this song?
Arrows/Dave: Thank you for your kind words. “To Your World” is about living life to the fullest and that there is more life than just relationships. For the music video, I intended for it to be a sort of fashion film, although at the time the second wave of the pandemic was in full swing here in India last year, so it was unsafe to go out and shoot. However, I worked with three extremely talented girls who helped bring the video to life. Apoorva Michelle from Bangalore who is a fantastic singer, producer and fashion superstar as well as Bombay-based Aastika Marwaha and Geetanjali Singh who run their own online thrift clothing business called Label Society. They are the real champions for the video because they shot it themselves from their homes. Keep in mind they aren’t professional videographers, but they still pulled it off and did an amazing job using their phones to film. So in the video you see them in different outfits, relaxing and living on their own terms which I suppose correlates to the song in some way when you think of it like that. Also, a shout out to Ritik Singh who edited the video!
CAGE RIOT: I had no idea this was a video collaboration. I think you have just taken collabs to a new level. As you said they captured so much; sexy, mundane, melancholic. Now I better understand how this was achieved. Each contributor was given so much creative freedom. It reminds me of when people are given disposable cameras at parties and the pictures are so much more than just posed smiles.
CAGE RIOT: I want to mention that I asked about “To Your World” first when normally I would start with the artist's newest release, but I’m wondering (there’s only half a chance I’m right lol) that there is some sort of connection between this song and the current release? Was there a timeline overlap? Were you possibly experiencing anything we are going to talk about in the new release “Hello Cheater” but couldn't at the time?
Arrows/Dave: Both songs have very different meanings, but I suppose they could be intertwined in some way as I always write from experiences in my life. So there might be something in there, I just haven’t delved too deep into it as of yet.
CAGE RIOT: So now, let’s jump over to talk about your newest release “Hello Cheater”. We were excited to get an early listen. This song has so many awesome things about it!
First of all the lyrics are very exciting and we can't wait to hear what the true meaning of this song is. Secondly, we have now been exposed to The Lightyears Explode and we think they are great too. (readers check them out on Cage Riot’s NOISE playlist - Dave you know how to pick em!)
Let's first talk about the band The Lightyears Explode first. We read you have been fans of this band and they are actually heroes of yours. What was it like when you got the response from them saying they wanted to do the song and how did this affect the outcome of the production having them join on?
Arrows/Dave: I have been a fan of The Lightyears Explode since 2012. They are one of my all-time favorite Indian bands and their first full-length album The Revenge of Kalicharan which was released in 2013 is a record I still listen to till today from start to finish without skipping a song. I knew that the band’s vocalist-guitarist Saurabh Roy studied music production in the U.K. so when I wrote “Hello Cheater” I knew I wanted his production touch on it. So I just sent him a message on Instagram telling him about the song, shared an acoustic version of it with him and he immediately got back saying he’s on for the project. Saurabh then showed the song to the band’s bassist Shalom Benjamin who dug the track too, he decided to play bass on it.
CAGE RIOT: Ok, now let’s talk about the song’s message. We at Cage Riot love lyrics, we love stories, and we love anything that makes our brain think. This song did just that, but it probably falls in the top 10 of our favorite lyrical compositions because we are still stumped.
If you just take the title and let your mind run with it, “Hello Cheater” seems as if it is a standard, pissed-off, jilted lover song. Dave, I must admit I fell for the tagline at first and took for granted that it was you addressing someone else who cheated on you, and you were the victim. But after listening several times and hearing some things you hinted about, I’m not so sure anymore.
I was wondering if this song is about you being a cheater, and you are riddled with guilt? Or maybe it's someone you knew was cheating and left you stuck in a difficult situation of deciding to speak out and reveal this person's behavior to a mutual friend? Yes, Dave, I’m trying to get you on record to tell us more!!! (you can’t handle the truth - lol) Please tell us more about the meaning of this song!
Arrows/Dave: I love how deep you guys read into lyrics, it’s awesome! The sad truth is that I was the victim here and was cheated on by my former partner. It is what it is, happy to have gotten a song out of that situation. It took a while for the scars to heal, but I’ve grown plenty since it happened and I suppose everything happens for a reason because I am now the happiest I have ever been. “Hello Cheater” however is written from the perspective of the person doing the cheating and their conscience talking to them trying to tell them that what they are doing is not right.
CAGE RIOT: I am so sorry you got hurt. I am also so glad you chose to overcome and find greater happiness.
I think I fell in love with lyrics when I realized the creative ways things are intentionally misrepresented. It’s almost as if you only get out of a song the effort you put in (again thx to Jan Curry, my HS English literature teacher). This song is a perfect example. My favorite aspect of the message is the person's conscience part.
CAGE RIOT: (BTW We loved your detailed credits for the track. So much goes into the creation, production, and distribution of music and we are so happy when we see everyone get their deserved credit so we listed them below)
CAGE RIOT: Who else are your musical heroes? (take the liberty to name as many or as few as you choose)
Arrows/Dave: Oh that’s a very long list. My all-time favorite band is the Foo Fighters. I also really like Oasis, all the Seattle grunge bands, Elvis, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Joan Jett, Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Louis Armstrong, I could go on here…
CAGE RIOT: What band or artist, if you could choose any, would be your dream to perform with, and what song?
Arrows/Dave: “Everlong” with Dave Grohl.
CAGE RIOT: What other musical gems of bands we may not have heard of could you turn us on to so we can share in more ear candy like The Lightyears Explode?
Singer-songwriter Vernon Noronha:
Punk rock outfit Skrat:
Rock/grunge band Runt:
Instrumental blues-rock band Blackstratblues:
Hip-hop artist Enkore:
There are plenty more.
CAGE RIOT: Ok, we definitely have some homework to do!!!!!
CAGE RIOT: What’s in store for Arrows and you David Britto in the near future? What can we look forward to being “brought to us” by you?
Arrows/Dave: I plan on releasing two more singles this year followed by a five-track EP next year and an acoustic leaning EP in 2024 which includes songs that are by far the closest to me. These are all tentative dates as of now because things are always changing, but I hope I can stick to them.
CAGE RIOT: OK fans, here's your opportunity to check out “Hello Cheater” on all major platforms.
This is what we felt after listening:
Busting out hard with a classic rock and roll gritty intro “Hello Cheater” doesn’t disappoint and in fact, may rattle your cage a bit. If you’ve been a cheater or been cheated on (that covers all of us regardless of what side you are on) this song instantly puts all your emotions on notice. “Can you guess who??? It’s your conscience talking to you”. Hearing these lyrics, I’m mad all over again, but I’m also empowered. I remember the deception, the extent my lovers went to justify or enable their actions. The thing here is this song won’t let you not be pissed off and happy all at the same time. It’s the sour patch candy of music. The Lightyears Explode delivery of Dave Britto’s lyrical expression is likely to be on our next favorite TV show or movie streaming. I can see it now, the jilted lover shows up and screams while being gaslighted by the cheater (am I using that right?) but it’s to no avail. “Hello Cheater’s” message is all the adrenaline needed to escape the clutches of this devious piece of garbage!
Audio Credits: Written and Composed by David Britto Performed by The Lightyears Explode Produced, Guitars and Vocals by Saurabh Roy Bass by Shalom Benjamin Mixed and Mastered by Jason D’Souza Artwork by Anshul Bhansali Photographs by Ronit Sarkar
Music Video Credits: Director: Blake D’Silva Cinematographer: Aaron Steve Pereira Starring: Christina Lobo, Aniruddh Shenoy and Kirsten Varela Set Operations: Danielle Pereira Location Courtesy: Nirmika Singh
Watch & Subscribe - Arrows - on YouTube
Listen & Follow - Arrows- on Spotify.
Do you Like the sound of Arrows? Click the link below to follow.