In Conversation With: PA System

PA System is an independent alternative band based in Chennai. Their journey from being batchmates in KM College of Music and Technology to now having an EP and an amazing album under their belt has been magnificent! 

Started in 2018, PA System is a quintet that comprises Pratyush Shankar (vocalist), Ashwin Iyer (on the keys), Prashanth Venkat (bass), Hrday Sunil (guitar), and Arvind Krishnan (drums). Their latest single ‘Gone Away’ is a synth-pop song that was released in July accompanied by an animated music video and has already surpassed 6,000 views on YouTube! It is a poignant song about moving on from life’s difficulties and has an easy-going vibe to it. 

‘Gone Away’ is the fifth track off their album ‘Strangers Down The Hall’ that will be out by the end of this year. This song “is an inner calling for all of us, considering how the past year has been during the pandemic. In life, we may experience hardships, pain, or loss but it’s alright to move on without regrets to a different situation than we were in before,” the band wrote on YouTube

The Ticket Fairy spoke to the PA System about their album, their favorite thing about being a band, their journey so far, and more!

PA System

What is the story behind your latest single ‘Gone Away?

Gone Away was written in the pandemic lockdown in 2020, like most of the songs from the album. For this track, we were really inspired by the Synthpop sounds of the 70s and 80s, and we’ve tried to capture that sonic aesthetic with this single. It’s got a great groove and a laid-back vibe, which surely adds to the variety in our album. The song is about moving on, and being in a happier place.

PA System was formed in 2018. Tell us about your journey so far?

It’s definitely not a conventional band’s journey. We were initially a trio, it took us a while to evolve into the band we are today. When we had enough music in our vault to play live and record, the pandemic hit us. Nevertheless, we’ve been active on our social media and are super happy to have established a little fan base. They’re extremely supportive of what we do and it gives us enough motivation to keep making music through these tough times.


Five out of eight tracks off your upcoming album have been released alongside their music videos. Which is your favorite music video?

It’s really difficult to pick a favorite between the music videos, mainly because each song is unique and different from another. Although, amongst the band, a couple of our favorites are Didn’t Mean a Thing, Gone Away, Black & Blue, and Oasis. We’ve tried to ideate the videos for each song with a unique approach, experimenting with video-recording techniques, animation, and storytelling. We’ve received an overwhelming response from everyone for each release, and we’re very excited for the upcoming singles from the album.


Tell us about your album ‘Strangers Down The Hall’. What was the creative process behind it? Any collaborations we should be excited about?

As we said, we were a trio before the band evolved. Pratyush and Ashwin had a few initial ideas for some songs, and a lot of songs were written after we formed the band. Strangers Down The Hall is a mix of those songs. Surprisingly we did this album from our home, shot the music videos in due course of the lockdown. All these songs are different because they were created at different points in time and in different situations, which is why it brought out a different side of us and it helped us create different songs. It has something for everybody.

In terms of collaboration, we don’t have a musical collaborator as of now. We worked with Errol Crasta for our artwork, Gone Away’s video was created by Pooja Sreenivasan and of course, our album is in the works in Island City Studios, Mumbai and Adhithya Sivakumar is engineering it. We’re super happy to have these guys on board, they’re absolutely fabulous at what they do and we couldn’t be happier.

You seem to have quite an experience in performing at some of the biggest fests like Global Isai Fest and Covelong Point Surf and Music Festival. Tell us about your most memorable performance?

We think the most memorable performance has to be a gig we did in Chennai at the Unwind Center. It was the first time we played together as a band and I would like to think that through that performance we found our voice and have stuck to it ever since. 


What’s your favorite part of being a band?

Being in a band teaches you a lot about your craft, and everyone’s influences and tastes inspire you to find things that you wouldn’t have discovered by yourself. You also learn to work as part of a team, incorporate different perspectives on music and understand how to help the band be more than the sum of its parts. I think we all push each other to be our best, and being part of a group of talented musicians helps all of us grow every single day.


What’s next for the PA System?

Now that we’ve released music in the pandemic and the people are liking it, the next step is to go out there and play our music for them, live. That’s what we see in the near future. Regarding new music, that’s something that’s always in the works and we’ll tell you more about it through our social media regularly!


This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Find PA System online: Website | Instagram | YouTube
Find PA System’s Music On All Streaming Platforms: Here | Spotify | Apple Music | Soundcloud | Amazon Music
Read about PA System’s debut album ‘on days like this’ – Here
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