While hump day is usually the ever-so-slightly daunting reminder that the week is only halfway through, today’s is slightly different. With an extended bank holiday on the horizon it is fair to say that this Wednesday we are in a feel-good mood, meaning that we need some summer-infused tunes of the same nature to accompany us through the much-welcomed end of the working week. Enter, indie maverick CJ Pandit and his glistening new project, “+44”. Set ablaze with a serene blend of chilled instrumentation and energetic production, the four-piece EP presents itself as a summer staple for your music rotation, just in time for the four-day weekend.
When discussing the unique name of the EP, Pandit explained, “There are people behind every +44, people we lean on, contact, call up or text all the time. We’ve been reliant on those +44’s and I found myself becoming a double denim wearing therapist trying to help me and my mates get by for a little while too. I think it’s a pretty sweeping idea and all these EP titles do leaves things open-ended and a prompt for a conversation, hitting at a feeling, which is usually melancholic.”
Upon the release of the artist’s alt-pop collection, he took some time to reflect on the influence his hometown has had on him, his favourite track from the EP and his hopes for a collaboration with the force that is Lana Del Rey. Head below to enjoy our conversation with CJ Pandit…
Hi CJ, how are you doing? What is the first thing you did when you woke up this morning?
I’m good, thank you. I tidied my room and noodled on my Nylon string for a little before realising I should probably eat. Time flies when you’re noodling.
You were born and raised in Leicester, as was I! Do you think the city had any influence on your artistry?
Nice. I think so, a lot of people have had that desire to leave, and I think I feel that too, but it always pulls you back and has a certain spirit you don’t get anywhere else. It’s a real mad fizz of different cultures and people and my worries that I exist everywhere but belong nowhere definitely get softened when I’m in the city.
Let’s talk about your EP, “+44”! How are you feeling about the world hearing the project for the first time?
Good, I think! Once it’s out in the world it’s no longer in my control which is a little daunting, but I can’t wait for it to find the people it needs to find. It’s a real exploration of my tastes, my identity, my guilt and worries about being too much and not enough. Excited to embrace my hypocrisies, and explore them with new people.
What inspired the name, “+44”?
It’s the UK Area Code, and something I found a lot of people in the US were confused by when I was over there. It became a little joke with myself and then took on a whole bunch of different meanings and like a lot of those jokes do, became a metaphor for how I feel about my life at a certain time. There are people behind every +44, people we lean on, contact, call up or text all the time. We’ve been reliant on those +44’s and I found myself becoming a double denim wearing therapist trying to help me and my mates get by for a little while too. I think it’s a pretty sweeping idea and all these EP titles do leaves things open-ended and a prompt for a conversation, hitting at a feeling, which is usually melancholic.
Who is your +44?
I don’t think I can choose just one! I’ve been forcing everyone else to do that, but I’m just gonna be grateful I’ve got wonderful people around me to be honest.
Who would you cite as your biggest musical inspiration behind this EP?
Peter Gabriel, The Cars, Christine and the Queens, BeeGees, The National and Mark Hollis to name a few…
If you can choose, what is your favourite track from the EP and why is it your favourite?
“1, 2, Free”. It always makes me smile from ear to ear, it has the best chorus I’ll ever write.
I also want to talk about collaborations! If you could have one artist on a collaboration with you, who would it be and why?
You know, I think about this so much. There’s a new song coming out soon which is crying out for a Lana Del Rey feature. So I’m putting it out into the world in the slim hope she hears the tune and wants to jump on a remix.
Aside from your exciting release, what else have you got planned for 2022?
I’ve just finished up recording the album, so to be honest, I want to disappear for a little bit and make my own little world to live in, then start inviting people in when we start releasing that. I just want to make my art and carry on making 18-year-old me proud.