As soon as you press play on the title track of Supersoul’s new EP “He Can Dance,” and hear the irresistibly catchy melody, funky rhythms, brass, and smooth harmonies, you’re likely to find that you yourself, and possibly your whole family, can do nothing but dance.
But the head-nodding grooves and immaculate radio-ready production aren’t all there is to discover – the lyrics quickly reveal something different, and deeper, than most.
“Lost in a desert, the world of names / Searching for pleasure, but only finding heat haze / My oasis, an illusion,” the vocalist intones. And listeners may feel a thrill of intrigue when he sings, “I would only believe in a God who could dance.”
Hailing from ISKCON New Govardhana in Murwillumbah, Australia, Supersoul consists of four devotees, all family men – singer and guitarist Deva Gaura Hari Das, bass guitarist Laksmivan Das, rhythm guitarist Svetadvip Das, and drummer Yadunandana Das. Starting out in 2016 as “Transcendance,” the band released a four-song EP in 2017, changing its name to Supersoul later that year.
Recording of “He Can Dance,” their first EP under the new moniker, started in July 2019. Although it had to be postponed from March to May due to COVID-19 restrictions, the project could continue more recently, as people in the Northern New South Wales area are now allowed to congregate with up to ten people in their homes.
Published under the band’s own label GC Records, the new EP was released through Distrokid on Apple Music and Spotify. It was recorded at Deva Gaura Hari’s home studio, and was mixed by ARIA award winner Govinda Doyle and mastered by Grammy winner Willy Bowden.
The four songs on the EP – the title track, Falling Apart, Dying Again, and Supersoul – blend stomping, joyful funk with soul-stirring lyrics, incredible instrumentation and unforgettable choruses. All this is unsurprising when you learn that for the band members, Supersoul is part of a lifelong journey.
“My father had a huge music collection,” Deva Gaura Hari recalls, “And even as a boy I was fascinated by the whole process of putting words to music; both its emotional effect, and its ability to powerfully communicate messages.”
From his teenage years, Deva began writing songs about finding meaning in life, and as he took up the bhakti path, his lyrics focused more directly on spiritual themes.
“After I started seriously practicing bhakti yoga, I was inspired by the music of Mangalananda Das, George Harrison and Shelter, and how they presented pure devotional messages so expertly in contemporary music,” he says. “This inspired me to try and share my own songs about Krishna conscious themes in a more contemporary funk/rock style.”
The cover of the He Can Dance EP
Music has long been a part of the other band members’ lives too: Laksmivan Das played in brass bands as a youth, and was the bassist for Ramai Swami’s traveling festival band for many years; Svetadvip Das played acoustic guitar for Sri Prahlada’s kirtana band; and Yadunandana Das played bass in bands as a youth and managed a live music venue in Melbourne.
Together, the group have a very collaborative approach, in their mission to create music that inspires a wider audience to inquire further about bhakti yoga and Krishna consciousness.
“When you collaborate with others on a regular basis you have to learn to take the humble position and work with others on a creative process,” Deva Gaura Hari says. “I always liked the music of bands that are based on mutual respect and appreciation for each other. And I think its important for the music that we respect each other as individual people and devotees – who have their own unique perspective and contribution – as well as musicians.”
Over the years, band members have done a variety of services in ISKCON. Deva Gaura Hari has worked on sound engineering and video production for the TOVP and other projects, taught at gurukulas in Mayapur and Australia, and now owns the Lucid Pure Vegetarian restaurant in Murwillambah. Laksmivan has served as head pujari at ISKCON Sydney, and bhakti yoga teacher at Krishna Village in New Govardhan. Svetadvip, along with his day job managing an optometrist clinic, has managed catering programs in Melbourne and New Zealand. And Yadunandana coordinates a devotee men’s group, does remedial massage for Vaishnavas, and has managed a Crossways restaurant.
All members, therefore, are busy with various services, “so it’s not as if we just play rock music all day and night,” Deva jokes. But they do also all have an attraction to the excitement and energy of funk rock music.
“The Srimad Bhagavatam says that one should use any skills and abilities from their previous karma to offer to Krishna,” explains Deva. “So the band is a chance to dovetail that aspect of our lives. And it enables us to utilize our attraction for this art form as an offering to Krishna in the spirit of yukta-vairagya.”
This offering is evident in the lyrics to Supersoul’s songs. “He Can Dance,” based on a quote by Friedrich Nietzsche, who said, “I would only believe in a God who could dance,” describes the seeker’s journey and invokes Lord Krishna, who is of course known as the greatest dancer.
“Falling Apart” describes how we can spend our lives waiting around for a special person to make everything alright and “throw us a lifeline,” and how we often only seriously turn to the Lord of the heart for shelter when things are truly falling apart in our lives. “He’s there when you need Him, just three words, call His number today,” Deva sings, referring to the words “Hare,” “Krishna,” and “Rama” which comprise the maha-mantra.
“Dying Again” explains how we can rise above bodily identification, give up taking shelter of the “fallible soldiers” of society, friendship and love, and take shelter of the Lord, to stop the endless process of dying again. “The third verse describes how the seeker takes shelter of the ‘infallible soldier,’ Krishna, and eventually attains the spiritual abode, where he never has to take birth or die again,” Deva Gaura Hari says.
Finally, “Supersoul” is about how the Supersoul is constantly watching us, “never turning away,” through millions of lifetimes, and is always ready to accept us when we finally turn our faces back to Him.
With these deep songs, the band is aiming for a wide audience of rock fans, but also catering to devotees who want to listen to upbeat, energetic Krishna-centered music.
Pre-pandemic, they played at Rathayatra festivals in Brisbane and Melbourne, as well as at Krishna Village, the yoga teacher training and retreat facility attached to New Govardhana.
Eventually, whenever COVID restrictions ease, Deva Gaura Hari, Laksmivan, Svetadvip and Yadunandana hope to be able to play local public music festivals aimed at socially conscious people, who may be inquisitive about the bhakti yoga message of their music.
For now, Supersoul are already writing and arranging new songs for their next release, which they expect to complete by the end of the year and are excited to share with listeners.
“We’ve had lots of positive responses from people so far, which is pleasing,” says Deva. “We hope that the music will give people inspiration to look deeper at the wisdom tradition of Bhakti yoga and how it can be relevant to their lives.”
On a personal level, he explains, “We like the musical outlet that the band provides, and also the chance to meditate on how to encapsulate Krishna conscious messages in music and verse. We practice every week, so it’s a nice chance for us to put aside our other duties as fathers, husbands, teachers, and business owners, and spend a few hours just focusing on playing music with like-minded devotee friends.”
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Watch the video for “Falling Apart,” produced by Ananta Vrindavan Das: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wf0EAP2vLsI&feature=youtu.be
Listen to the “He Can Dance” single on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMo4eK8PmqN6XxKePdWi5tA
Listen to the “He Can Dance” EP on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/79ywqTuyZaUBqe6CuqBCt5?si=EJ7PE1gTTjKdffwYInFHQA
Find it on Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/au/album/he-can-dance-ep/1528159770
Visit the band Supersoul on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thesupersoulmusicband[ australia ] [ australian ] [ band ] [ funk ] [ music ] [ rock ] [ supersoul ]