In January, we spoke to UAE-based alt-rockers Physical Graffiti about their dreamy EP, Return. Now guitarist Sandeep Sequeira is ready to share a more deeply personal LP under his solo moniker, Palayan — a word that means ‘escape’ in Sanskrit.
Metanoia, which will release on October 29, is a mixture of alternative rock, folk, fusion and electro-pop as it chronicles a vulnerable break-up in Seqeuira’s life. The record thrives in a “darker territory” than the guitarist’s previous work, diving headfirst into the bleaker moments of one of his most scarring relationships.
In 2012, Sequeira founded Palayan as an instrumental project, but eventually started to sing on the records, too. It helped him express himself in ways he couldn’t before. Within two years, he recorded 40 songs in the hope of putting out a solo album, but an opportunity came along: he could join Physical Graffiti to “temporarily to fill in a spot.”
Unbeknownst to him, that arrangement would turn permanent within months: “I was doing Physical Graffiti full time and Palayan full time.”
He decided to keep his solo songs to himself — they didn’t feel cohesive yet, and he had to focus all his energy on this band he was now a part of.
In 2016, Seqeuira came out of a “difficult, and eventually devastating” three-year relationship that had taken a toll on him, mentally and emotionally. He began to introspect, and came up with 20 new songs that finally sounded like they belonged together.
He hired musicians to play the flute, violin, tablas and sarangi on the tracks, but wrote, produced and mixed the resulting album himself.
Based on “the dying stages” of his former relationship, Metanoia is split into four separate chapters: Premonition, Remember the 5th, Where Do I Belong? and This Is the End.
It chronicles everything from “the initial sense of exhaustion, hurt and confusion, to the slow, painful process of putting oneself together again.”
Seqeuira’s personal favourite track is titled Peel, featuring Hindustani swaras performed by longtime friend and popular musical director Hesham Abdul Wahab: “It’s kind of a dream come true, to make a track like that. It’s a percussion-based track and it revolves around the Indian tabla, which I recorded in India,” said Seqeuira.
CHANGE OF HEART
Ultimately, Seqeuira tries to navigate his belief that it is as a form of disrespect to oneself to tolerate mistreatment. He wraps up the album with a track titled If I Have To Grow, You Must Go. It marks a new beginning for him, and the end of a hurtful chapter.
“That’s why the album is called Metanoia: [A] change in one’s way of life, resulting from penitence or spiritual conversion. A new way of thinking. A
transformative change of heart. The process of experiencing a psychotic breakdown and subsequent psychological rebuilding or healing.”
*Metanoia will become available across online platforms — iTunes, Deezer, Bancamp, Spotify, etc — on October 29, and through Palayan’s website.