“I will do this in whatever way I want, in whatever percentage that I want, of like, you know whatever you think is South Asian versus whatever you think is American, because on any given day we are floating in those percentages between our worlds.”
Sri, Doctors & Engineers
Like all good quasi millennials – I met Doctors & Engineers online. I wasn’t having much success with LA bands returning my emails. But when I put a call out on social media for bands in Los Angeles to talk about aggression, gender/sexuality, tradition, identity and belonging – Sri reached out. Doctors & Engineers has 5 members – Sri Panchalam is the vocalist and Jayson Joseph is the guitar player. I was so so so stoked to hear from a female fronted South Asian band in Los Angeles!! There are quite a few bands led by South Asian women, but we are distributed all over the world and our experiences are similar but different depending upon where in the world we are situated. Doctors & Engineers is a psychedelic, fuzzy garage punk band that melds classic songs from all over South Asia into their repertoire.
(This track is one of my favs from this record – the track is heavy!!…..just wait for it….)
Sri and Jayson very kindly let me into their musical world. They we chatted about the many different experiences of being desi in ‘Amrika,’ and of being American while being desi, and how punk helps to build the communities that aren’t so clear cut. I really really resonated personally with this interview. Not only because the band is fronted by a woman, but all of the musicians in the band are working towards a more socially just culture of music!
We met at Jayson’s home on a crisp and clear night in downtown Los Angeles. I couldn’t stop smiling listening back to the conversation because every part of the conversation was such a relief – you live through these push and pull tensions on identity too? You struggle with all the languages you feel a connection to? You’re still laughing and playing and melding together music in the joy of hearing the amazingness that is just your voice in the time and place where you are, even if you don’t fit there? Thank god it’s not just me.
On the band name, art and immigration:
Jayson on Language:
Jayson on Music Cultures staring at each other:
Sri on Femininity and Voice:
You can reach Sri + Jayson at facebook.com/DocsNEngineers/?fref=ts
Or via their website at https://doctorsandengineers.com/contact
Artwork used with permission of Doctors & Engineers.
Photo by B.Singh 2017