When Chai Met Toast

Members of When Chai Met Toast
(l to r) Sailesh Pai, Achyuth Jaigopal, Ashwin Gopakumar and Palee Francis

They describe themselves as a “band from the land of coconuts”. So what kind of music would you expect then? The four-piece, Kochi-based (Kerala) band with Ashwin Gopakumar on vocals and guitar, Palee Francis on keys, Sailesh G. Pai on drums and Achyuth Jaigopal on guitar and banjo, bring on a unique brand of infectious happy music, which transcends age, genre, and even language. With simple melodies, When Chai Met Toast takes inspiration from the lighter side of life to create music that is heartwarming, happy and smile-worthy. 

VERUS FERREIRA speaks with the members of When Chai Met Toast, who in a short but illustrious career have carved a niche for themselves with catchy songs and beautiful videos. The young lads are the next big thing to look out for on the Indie music circuit.

Tell us something about how the band was formed.
Achyuth: Ashwin and I first met at a music café called Springr in Fort Kochi. Though the band wasn’t formed then, we kept in touch and Ashwin collaborated to sing on one of the songs for my solo EP. We wrote the first songs together after realizing that we shared common interests in country and folk music, one being chai and the other toast. The band started as a two-piece with Ashwin and me. Silesh Pai (drums) and Palee Francis (keyboard and music programming) who we call ‘magic’, joined the band a year later through mutual friends, when we wanted to expand the sound of the band from what it was. They definitely are a big part of what When Chai Met Toast has evolved into. In short, this is how four South Indian boys met English folk and Indian roots. The other founding member of the band is manager Kishan John, who has been with us from the start.

I’m sure there’s a story behind the name When Chai Met Toast?
Achyuth: We always say that the hardest part about forming a band is naming the band. The name When Chai Met Toast was initially influenced by a menu in a cafe. We found that the name relates to the casual, happy mood of the band and the music we play. Chai being Indian and ‘toast’ being western shows a mix of cultures that we both enjoy and take inspiration from.

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Verus Ferreira

Verus Ferreira

Verus Ferreira is a freelance music journalist for over three decades, contributing articles to various newspapers and magazines. He is the author of The Great Music Quiz Book and The Great Rock Music Quiz Book. Besides being a music aficionado, he is also a photo-journalist. He contributes to Musicunplugged.in and has his own column on The Revolver Club, a vinyl music store. Reach him at verusferreira.com