Aditi Saigal, better known by her stage name DOT, retains her cheerful appeal in ‘Khamotion’ with an added flair of brass and jazz
When riding public transport, you are, at once, both in motion and sitting completely still. It is in this dual state that Aditi Saigal (DOT) immerses herself in music, coming up with new song ideas.
In 2017, DOT took the indie music world by surprise with raw recordings of herself, singing ditties on the piano. And now, the 22-year-old is back with her first EP, Khamotion.
Comprising songs such as ‘Taxi Fare’, ‘This Train’ and ‘Sultry Town (Ship’s Got No Sail)’, the album is dedicated to the concept of motion; the idea came to her on the daily commute to her college campus in Bangor, Wales, UK. The video for ‘This Train’, in fact, is an intercut of fan videos from around the world of people using different modes of transportation. It is a contemplation on being forced to stay still (’Busy In Beige’, though written two years ago, is befitting of the days of isolation) and wanting to keep moving. Their release now, after a year in standstill, is appropriate.
“I first wrote these songs as a final year project at Bangor University in 2019, and I thought why not polish them,” she says, on a call from Wales.
Khamotion sees DOT enter into what she calls her “new sound”: jazzy, occasionally vintage, and added layers of brass — from clarinets and woodwinds to trumpets and saxophones. “I have also been experimenting with building vocal walls of sound,” she adds.
DOT wants to retain her organic songwriting approach even while producing polished songs. “I hate going to the studio with a click track already in mind. I like to slow down, speed up, without keeping time with clicks. To me, that is what jazz is,” she says. And that is how it was recorded, with the piano and the drums playing together, in adjacent rooms with the door left slightly ajar.
The album culminates in ‘Rush’, a series of grooves put together from all the other songs. It is an attempt to break free of the verse-chorus-bridge structures of pop. Yet, songs like ‘Taxi Fare’ are still reminiscent of the ‘Everybody Dances to Techno’ days.
The latter was DOT’s breakout song as an 18-year-old, who was then just recording songs on her piano and putting them up on YouTube. As the daughter of musician Amit Saigal, founder of Rock Street Journal, DOT was no stranger to the music world, but after ‘Techno’, fame came knocking overnight.
“It all happened so fast… I wasn’t prepared. I did tours, signed pictures, but by the end, I was burnt out. I felt like I had nothing new to say,” she says. A few songs and a few tours later, DOT seemed to have disappeared — radio silence left fans wondering if she had stopped making music.
DOT moved to Bangor to study Music and Creative Writing, and then took up a job as a teaching assistant for special needs students. “I don’t like the idea that one person can have just one passion. I like doing a million things at once,” she says.
Her stay in Wales, and its proximity to concerts and open mics in Manchester and Liverpool, also allowed her to collaborate with musicians, learn arranging music, and discover her sound. “But the main thing I have picked up here is a longing to go back home and continue making music,” she says.