Rishi Dhir is a Brossard, Quebec-born, Montreal-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. He’s a grizzled Montreal indie rock and psych rock scene vet with stints in bands like The Datsons and The High Dials. Dhir is also an in-demand sitar player and bassist, who has collaborated with the likes of Beck, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Black Angels, The Soundtrack of Our Lives, The Dream Syndicate, psych rock supergroup MIEN and countless others.
The Brossard-born, Montreal-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist founded the acclaimed JOVM mainstay psych rock act Elephant Stone back in 2009. Along with collaborators and bandmates Miles Duper (drums), Gab Lambert (guitar), Robbie MacArthur (guitar) and Jason Kent (keys, guitar), the Canadian psych rock outlive has released five albums centered around a sound that incorporates elements of traditional Indian classical music with Western psych rock, rooted in his own personal experiences.
Dhir’s own journey in music, frequently found him trying to find a place that fit him until he decided that what he made was worth sharing in the space that he had created for himself. “I only write about what I know and think I understand. As long as there’s Rishi, there’s going to be Elephant Stone,” Dhir says in press notes.
Slated for a February 18, 2022 release through Elephants on Parade, Elephant Stone’s soon-to-be released EP Le voyage de M. Lonely dans la lune reportedly picks up on the personal aspects of survival explored on their previous album Hollow and what that means on a dying planet with — or without people. “I built this storyline about a hermit who is very content in his solitary world, until a world event happens that causes everyone else to stay home as well…sound familiar?” Dhir explains. “He sees this as a mockery of him and his choices, deciding instead to build a rocket ship to the moon to be left alone.”
Over the course of the EP’s four songs, the EP’s main character M. Lonely “ultimately realizes he was happier back on imperfect earth with all of its imperfect people,” Dhir says.
The EP’s latest single “M. Lonely” is centered around an expansive and mind-bending psych rock arrangement with rousingly anthemic hooks, some blazing solo work, a dreamy acoustic-driven bridge, and Dhir’s propulsive bass lines. While most of their output features lyrics written and sung in English, Le voyage de M. Lonely dans la lune is a departure for the band, as the material is written and sung exclusively in French. According to Dhir, the EP doubles as a love letter to Montreal and to all of their Francophone fans around the world.
“M. Lonely” actually sets the stage for the EP’s storyline: the EP’s titular character is upset about a worldwide epidemic that forces the rest of the planet’s population to stay home for their safety. M. Lonely decides that he needs to leave Earth for his own reclusive sanity.
“The riff from this song dates back to my time playing with The Black Angels in 2012,” Dhir explains. “Following our gig in Nashville, Christian Bland (The Black Angels’ guitarist) and I proceeded to get drunk backstage and started jamming. Coaxed by Alex Mass (The Black Angels’ vocalist), we came up with the idea of creating a new band called The Woodpeckers: playing primal 60’s garage while wearing Woody Woodpecker masks. We both came up with tunes on the spot and, 10 years later, mine ended up evolving into ‘M. Lonely.’ Anyhow, I’m still waiting for those Woody Woodpecker masks…”
Directed by Daniel Ross and Vincent Gauthier, the recently released video or “M. Lonely” features the band in mod-style outfits playing in front of trippy animations and effects by Vivid_AV. The video hints at the EP’s larger story with Dhir dressed in an Elephant Stone spacesuit, and a spaceship traveling through the cosmos.