Leicester-based CJ Pandit continues to prove his worth and cements himself alongside his competitors with the compelling debut EP Just Before You Disappear.
Following the inclusion of NME's 100 Emerging Artists for 2021 list, the rising singer-songwriter continues his fast-paced momentum and gives glimpses of his excellence with hit singles 'New York Time' and 'Wrong Time'; that has led to his debut EP.
As he enjoys his new successes, we caught up with the rising star to talk more in detail about his latest project and what's next in line with what to expect from his live performances and how it all started.
Firstly, congratulations on your recent singles 'New York Time' and 'Bad Bad Fun' - both of which feature on your debut EP. How excited are you for this project to be released for everyone to hear?
Thanks! I’m super excited for it to be released. A strange feeling having two years of your life condensed into 15 minutes of music. I like the fact that it’s not mine to obsess over anymore it’s for other people to sit with and digest and take with on their own journeys.
Speaking about your debut EP, Just Before You Disappear - what can you tell us about the overall theme and what do you hope to achieve from it?
In some form, it’s trying to capture that brief, fleeting presence of mind and clarity you get when you realise something isn’t going to last forever. I think you become hyper-aware of the beautiful things, the happy things, and the sad things and of the person or situation, and that’s why we freak out and get scared of change and endings and losing things. I’ve gone through so many personal and existential changes over the past two or three years, and the singular through line was that phrase, Just Before You Disappear. In terms of achieving, I’m just happy I’m still here and happy I’ve got to this point. Looking too far forward freaks me out, so I'm incredibly grateful for still existing and seeing this through.
With knocks to The 1975, Fleetwood Mac and The Cars throughout the EP - how would you describe your sound?
This is a tricky one to answer, I guess; I grew up listening to Talk Talk and have always been drawn to ambient sounds in pop music. I’m obsessed with harmony and Leonard Cohen and the rhythm of Talking Heads and the frankness of Fleetwood Mac, and I guess all of those things blend into whatever these songs sound like now. They sound like real life to me.
Now based in Leicester and continually growing into a star to watch - how did you get into music, and what influenced you to pursue it?
I just used to be around music with my friends growing up and started to learn my craft after being persuaded to join in once. I’ve always felt a desire to get things off my chest in some endeavour, whether it be painting, writing, playing music or keeping a journal. The idea you can leave something behind that can be interacted with and represent you when you’re gone has always appealed to me.
As we talk about your early days in music, what has been your favourite track so far and why?
My favourite song of someone else's? Right now, that would have to be 'Coyote' by Joni Mitchell or 'Couldn’t Love You More' by John Martyn. Both have kept flooring me at the minute. My favourite release so far has to be 'New York Time' for me. It’s such a special song to me. There’s something in it I can never quite put my finger on.
On the other hand, what were those feelings you experienced when finding out you featured in NME's 100 Emerging Artist list and as a rising singer-songwriter - how do you cope with the pressure of trying to succeed?
I mean, it really really blew me away. It’s such an honour to be on such a prestigious list. I grew up buying and reading the magazine, so to see my face with the NME logo next to it was pretty wild. I guess there’s some pressure, but it’s only, what you put on yourself, I think. If you’re content with what you’re creating and excited by your processes, then there shouldn’t be too much to get worked up about. It does start to creep in from time to time though. A different day might be a different answer.
Whilst being recognised by NME is huge - what do you hope to achieve next and why?
We’ve been putting a lot of work into the new live show, so that’s something I’m excited to see come to fruition. An exhibition for the EP at some point would be nice to put on. We did that for the first two singles, and I miss the communal experience of sharing art.
Further, with live music creeping on us, how excited are you to perform your latest work to fans and can we expect any surprises?
The bands have grown to six. A little super-group of all my friends and favourite players in the city. It feels SO exciting to rehearse and get this show ready for the road. I mean, I hope there are some surprises along the way. I’m sure we’re gonna throw some fun parties this year.
Lastly, what is the next step for Cj Pandit?
EP 2 is in the can, off to mix and pretty much finished. So, to decide and work on the art direction for that and get it ready for the world to hear and see.