Madboy/Mink, a Mumbai-based, funk-nu disco duo, well-known for their distinctly unique mash-up of electro and funk with old school Harlem swing, consists of Imaad Shah (Bollywood actor Nasruddin Shah’s son) and Saba Azad. With scintillating live gigs at major festivals and soulful performances at underground parties, the duo presents a pure and unpretentious love of music in their post-mod, electro-cabaret experience collection.
The duo incorporates live guitars, synthesizers, vocals and vocoders to create a sound of their own. Shah’s first shot at electronica was in 2010 with his solo project, Madboy, while Azad lent her vocals to guitarist and Blue Frog co-founder Ashutosh Phatak’s The Petri Dish Project besides guesting with acts such as Blackstratblues. Shah toyed with the idea of a music project when he heard Saba sing. The duo came together to form Madboy/Mink, an extension of their solo outings. They have released EPs All Ball with five tracks (April 2014) and All Farm with four tracks (June 2015).
In April 2016, Imaad dropped his debut EP, aptly titled Boy, without Mink in tow. But that’s another story for Imaad.
The duo were at a gig in Mumbai where we caught up with them to learn more about how they came together, the music they make and the future of the band.
Excerpts from the interview with VERUS FERREIRA.
Tell us how you met.
Imaad: We met during a play that we were in; Saba was directing and I was acting in it and we ended up spending a lot of time together. We started discussing music and our musical influences. Back then, I was producing a lot of my own solo stuff at my parents’ studio, and I had heard Saba’s voice (she’s a professional singer). Her voice struck me as really, really interesting. So I asked her to sing to one of my old solo songs and I really liked the way it sounded and before we knew it we were working together. Then we thought of forming a band and so we started Madboy/Mink.
Saba: This was about five and a half years back, but the band started 3 years ago.
What influenced you to choose this genre of music?
Imaad: This genre was actually a product of stuff that we have done in the last couple of years, three and a half years to be specific, and it’s come from various sources but in the end we like to think of it as our music. We want to create a sound which no one has ever done before. We are trying to create something which would come to be known as the Madboy/Mink sound, and it’s a work in progress. We have drawn from our musical influences to make something which is very ‘ours’.
What do you feel is the reaction of the crowd to your music?
Imaad: We think that they enjoy it. We aren’t associated with EDM; we like to do more of electronic music, not the most banging EDM. Vastly live and vastly EDM, too. We are striving to a sound which is more live and not very fashionable.
How did the name Madboy/Mink come about?
Imaad: They are our two individual pet names. It’s just we’ve been using it as Madboy for many years, and in fact we are going to put out an app very soon of Madboy.
Saba: People don’t really call us that unless they are fans who don’t know our names; then they call us Madboy/Mink. People sometimes ask, “So you are Madboy/Mink, so what is your name…”
Apart from music what do you guys do?
Imaad: We have our own careers; we’re both actors, theatre directors. For the past two years though we haven’t been with theatre because Madboy/Mink took up all our time but now since the ball is rolling for our band we have gone back to theatre. We are trying to make a similar platform for all the things we do that is performance… art, cinema and live music.