From making friends in their neighborhood to experimenting with music, Weston Estate formed into a musical group. Their journey started out with feelings of self-doubt and transitioned to feelings of making an impact through their music. Weston Estate consists of Srikar Nanduri, Manas Panchavati, Tanmay Joshi, Abhi Manhass and Marco Luka. Each member brings their own unique skillset and personality to the group. Continue reading to learn more about Weston Estate.
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What is the story behind the group getting together, the meaning behind Weston Estate, and how the group decided that this was type of music to make?
All of us became friends when we were really young, way before we started making music together. There’s actually a video on YouTube of one of our Instagram Lives that explains how the band formed in a lot of detail, but long story short, Abhi got FL Studio for Christmas one year in high school and he called Srikar and Tanmay over to make a song for fun. We sampled a Bollywood song and after some debating, we plucked up the courage to put the song on SoundCloud. Word got around at our schools and people surprisingly liked it. Later, Manas and Marco joined the band and the rest is history. The name “Weston Estate” came from this neighborhood that we all used to hang out around called Weston Estates. We liked how it sounded really cool and regal and sophisticated, so we just ran with it. We honestly didn’t really know exactly what kind of music we wanted to make, but because everyone we showed it to really loved it, we thought it was a good direction to go in with our sound.
Let’s start out with your song “Saturday Nights.” Lyrics like, “Saturday’s when the kids close the door To find themselves at home all alone,” call out to me. This song feels reflective of the times of the start of the COVID-19 pandemic when everyone was asked to stay indoors. What is the meaning of this song in your own words?
We actually wrote that song before COVID, but it ended up taking on a whole new meaning by the time it came out. The pandemic was definitely a huge struggle for us, both personally and creatively. It made it a lot harder for us to meet up and work on music together, so it was a really isolating time. That song ended up becoming an expression of that desperate need to get back out into the world and see the people we cared about and do the things we loved to do again.
Your song “Pears” is one of your biggest hits thus far. With lyrics like “Sometimes I feel alone hide in my secrets you need to know I cannot feel no more all of my demons with me at home” we can only ponder what the song is about. What was the process of creating this song and what information can you shed light upon around the meanings for your fans?
We made “Pears” in December 2020 during a trip to the mountains in Maggie Valley, NC. That year was a whirlwind for the whole band, and balancing school and music, all amidst a global pandemic, was a lot harder than we expected it to be. This trip was the first time that all 5 of us were able to drown out all the noise from the other parts of our lives and just lock in on making music. Because of all this time we had in the mountains, we were also able to reflect on the feelings that we had about ourselves during that year as a whole. During a time where we had a lot of self-doubt, making “Pears” was an outlet for us to talk about how that uncertainty was affecting our relationships with the people we loved. A lot of the lyrics in that song are about how our creative journey sometimes left us feeling out of place amongst the other people in our lives because of how different our goals and dreams were. The whole song is basically a coming of age story about our struggles with our own personal and creative identities.
“Outside” is such a vibe I’ve had it on repeat over and over. How did you get into the mindset of creating this track?
We made “Outside” on the same trip to the mountains that we made “Pears” during. In a way, “Outside” was like “Pears” in that it was an outlet for our emotions, but it’s very much the opposite in terms of its meaning. Once we got to that cabin in Maggie Valley, we were ready to just let go of everything and have fun making music together again after so long. Srikar laid down this dancey guitar loop and Abhi added some island drums to it. As soon as Tanmay, Manas and Marco heard it, the melodies just started flowing out of them and we got straight to work writing it. We knew as soon as the beat as done that, we just wanted it to be a fun song about forgetting all your worries and dancing the night away, almost on some “Hakuna Matata” shit. It was a much-needed song after such a stressful year, so it wasn’t too hard to get into that carefree mindset.
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Your acoustic versions are something special and evoke deep feelings for your listeners. What was the reasoning of dropping acoustic versions of your songs?
I think we saw this one video on YouTube of UMI doing live covers of some of her songs and we loved it so much that we wanted to do something similar. It was also a cool way of showcasing each of our individual personalities and it gave us an opportunity to flesh out some of the concepts and themes that we wanted to highlight in each of the songs. We were really excited when we found out how much people enjoyed those videos, especially the “Pears” one, which ended up being a lot of people’s introduction to our music.
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How does it feel to be one of the few bands to be full of people of color at this time in history?
It always makes us really happy to hear other people of color come up to us and say that they feel represented by us and that they’re proud of how far we’ve come as a band of color. It makes us feel like what we’re doing is actually having an impact on people and making them feel heard and understood in ways that they usually don’t see in traditional media. That’s always an amazing feeling and it has a profound impact on all of us every single time we hear it. At the same time, the last thing we want to do is be boxed in as the “brown boy band,” since, at the end of the day, our music and personalities should speak for themselves. By the time we’re done, there should be so many other bands of color succeeding in this industry that it becomes normal and doesn’t even need to be mentioned.
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You just dropped the “Maggie Valley” album, which also happens to be a place in North Carolina. How has North Carolina played a part of crafting your sound for this album?
We were all raised in North Carolina. It’s where we all became friends and started making music together so it holds a really important place in our hearts and our art. On top of that, the creative community in NC is crazy. We’ve made so many amazing friends just through making music. There are a bunch of photographers, videographers, musicians—it’s a very tight-knit, youthful and supportive community with a lot of great energy. We were very fortunate to have our creativity fostered in this particular environment. In terms of Maggie Valley in particular, as we said before, that was a place we went back and forth to many times to forget about school and focus on absolutely nothing but music. It was the one place that was a constant for us throughout our entire artistic progression. Over the course of the past few years, we’ve been growing as people and as musicians, and this EP is like a time capsule that shows how far we’ve really come. The project is an eclectic grab bag of sounds and melodies. There’s something for everyone on this EP, and we’re putting these songs out to immortalize this chapter in a journey that’s just begun.
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We concluded our conversation with what Weston Estate hopes individuals take away from this interview with Brown Girl Magazine.
We want people to know that, at the end of the day, we’re just like them. We’re 5 regular ass dudes from NC who are best friends and love making music together. It’s been a blessing that we’ve come this far and it’s only going to go up from here. We can’t wait to show you all what we have in store for the future.
Photo courtesy of jaiordie