SHOR POLICE’S DISTINCT sound has been more than two decades in the making. Blending the boundaries of electro-pop with a multitude of genres — R&B, folk, Indian classical, jazz, funk, soul — the Mumbai-based outfit, comprising celebrated vocalist/composer Clinton Cerejo and powerhouse singer-songwriter Bianca Gomes, showcases a diverse sonic palette, influenced in no small part by its members’ artistic repertoire across the streams of independent, film and commercial music. “The secret to some degree of longevity in this business is to amass as much musical knowledge as you can, because this business will throw stuff at you when you least expect it,” says Cerejo.
While both Cerejo and Gomes first found their footing in India’s entertainment landscape through advertising — both artists have been the creative tour de forces behind memorable ads and jingles including the Vodafone BlackBerry Boys commercial, the Google Reunion ad and more — the duo first joined forces as they explored Bollywood. Known for their collaborations on the film soundtracks of 2012’s English Vinglish (“Manhattan”) as well as 2016’s Te3n (“Rootha”) and Kahaani 2 (“Lamhon Ke Rasgulle”), Shor Police perhaps first found its synergy on MTV India’s cult music series Coke Studio between 2012 and 2014. Cerejo and Gomes’ collaboration on the show — as composer and vocalist respectively — on the tracks “Mauje Naina” and “Aisi Bani,” cemented their mastery across varied genres and musical styles, unleashing their potential on India’s rising independent music scene which proved to be a fertile ground for fusion compositions.
The duo continued their tradition of collaboration with Ananthaal, their erstwhile 2015 band (that also included singer/composer Vijay Prakash) which blended western harmonics with Indian folk and classical styles of music. Having navigated the proverbial sonic smorgasbord — including a brief stint as fusion collective The Clinton Cerejo Band — the duo finally leaned into the possibility of pop through Shor Police in 2018. With an aim to create an accessible sound through its mix of diverse covers as well as original songs, Shor Police is carving out a niche for itself in India’s now crowded pop landscape. They continue to challenge the norms of genres, delivering fusion-informed electro-pop in their own unique style. “I’m enjoying the fact that Indian artists are getting noticed for doing something different. The tried and tested route is not working anymore and that’s a good thing for people who are out of the box,” says Gomes. Their recent projects speak to the band’s versatile ethos too, spanning Shor Police’s take on the Czech Republic’s beloved “Hussite Chorale,” a cover of Billie Eilish’s “Ocean Eyes” as well as their anthemic single “We Took It All for Granted.”
In this interview with Rolling Stone India, Shor Police’s Cerejo and Gomes discuss their process of creative collaboration, how they channel their diverse entertainment experience, what goes into crafting the Shor Police sound and more. Excerpts:
Congrats and kudos on all the amazing songs you have released in the past couple of years. Given the versatility on display, can you, in your own words, describe the 2021 Shor Police sonic palette?
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