At first glance, the cover of Prateek Kuhad‘s captivating new EP, ‘cold/mess,’ seems utterly romantic. The artwork depicts two lovers, bodies intertwined in a deep and lasting kiss, oblivious to the world around them. Take a closer look, though, and you’ll see that the couple is actually underwater, drowning as their embrace drags them further and further beneath the surface. In a flash, ecstasy has turned to agony, and the love that nourished and sustained them now seals their tragic fate.
“Relationships can be very dichotomous,” says Kuhad. “They can be comforting and amazing and chaotic and suffocating all at once, and I wanted these songs to capture those extremes, that rollercoaster you experience between love and heartbreak.”
Written primarily in his native India and recorded in Nashville, ‘cold/mess’ is Kuhad’s first collaboration with outside producers and a brilliant introduction to a breakout star ready to take the world by storm. Hailed as “one of the country’s leading singer-songwriters” by Rolling Stone India, Kuhad has garnered a slew of international accolades and honors since releasing his 2015 debut LP, ‘In Tokens and Charms,’ an album which prompted glowing features and reviews around the world. He took home an MTV Europe Music Award, earned Indie Album of the Year honors from iTunes, was crowned Best Pop Artist at the Radio City Freedom Awards, and captured first place in the prestigious International Songwriting Competition, which helped launch artists like Gotye and Passenger to global audiences. Sold-out auditorium and amphitheater dates followed, as did arena support slots with Alt-J and Mike Posner, and soon Kuhad was traveling the world for concerts and festivals in Australia, Singapore, Canada, and France. Nike selected him to join their #BleedBlue campaign, Converse invited him to record in Rio de Janeiro as part of their Rubber Tracks series, and when he landed in Austin for the first time, NPR selected Kuhad as an artist to watch among the thousands slated to showcase at SXSW.
“If Arthur Russell had been a product of the Elephant 6 collective rather than downtown New York art music, he might have written songs like this.” (Pitchfork) “Often, folk singers are either storytellers or read-into-it-what-you-want poets, but some of this generation’s best (Oldham, Jason Molina) fall somewhere in the middle. Elephant Micah stands firmly in that middle ground, not shying away from small details nor lofty, ambiguous ideas.” (Pitchfork)