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Tuesday, May 26,2009

Shilpa Ray & Her Happy Hookers

The Best Band In Town

By Adam Wisnieski
. . . . . . .
Brandon Jernigan

Shilpa Ray fronts a band called Shilpa Ray and Her Happy Hookers and does a hell of a job. The group, which played a month-long residency at Piano’s in May, hopes to release its first album, A Fish Hook An Open Eye, in the next few months, and as far as we’re concerned, it’s going to be the record of the summer. Adam Wisnieski caught up with Ray before a recent gig.

What are your summer plans?
I’m planning on working a lot ‘cause I’ll be in town, and that’s the only time I can do it. I want to go to the beach. I didn’t get to go at all last year; I think that if I was independently wealthy, I’d be a beach bunny.

What beaches do you like?
I have my spots on the Jersey Shore—I’m originally from Jersey, so I am a Jersey Shore fanatic. There’s this place in Tampa Bay called Caladesi Island, and it’s an uncombed beach, one of the raddest places I’ve ever been. You can walk on sandbars with cranes walking next to you. It’s an actual beach instead of it being like Clearwater where everyone’s in a thong bikini.

Where do you hang out if you’re in the city?
I like the Cloisters. I like Prospect Park. I like Central Park too, but I have to get away from the horse manure. I like my neighborhood, Greenpoint, in the summertime—it’s really beautiful and it’s flourishing with young hotness everywhere. Of course they’re not having the McCarren Pool Parties this year, but when they used to: goddamn it was a good time. Summer in Brooklyn is so much fun.

Are you playing many shows this summer?
We have a bunch of shows coming up mid-June [June 12, Spike Hill, 184 Bedford Ave., at N. 7th St., Brooklyn]. We’re playing at the end of June [June 25, The Stone, 16 Ave. C, at E. 2nd St.] and a couple shows in July. I think we are gonna head to the studio in August and record a record. We are hoping to do that once we get our shit together.

When does the album come out?
I thought it was supposed to come out this month. The thing with me is, I always give you a date and it’s gonna be like three months afterwards.

Do you have any good techniques to stay cool when it gets hot out?
I’m actually the opposite. I hate the wintertime. I get cold very easily. I don’t get hot. I like heat a lot. Do you like air conditioning or you don’t?

I don’t, I can’t stand air conditioning.
Me neither, I’m a fan person, open the windows and have a fan—air conditioning is for pussies. Most of my extended family is from Bombay or Calcutta, so whenever we went there we didn’t have air conditioning. But I love the balmy summer, storytelling on the stoop, everything feels slow. I dig that shit, I really do.

What are your favorite summer drinks?
I drink everything neat, so I don’t do cocktails. It’s really tough to get me to drink a cocktail. I actually switch from whiskey to vodka in the summer. I’ll drink a bottle of Georgi instead of drinking Dewar’s. Georgi’s shitty vodka, but I’m not a vodka drinker, so I’ll just drink what I can find.

What pisses you off about summer?
Bugs. Not like those pretty bugs, the ugly urban bugs. Rats. I don’t like the underground. The urban ecology does not make me very happy. I don’t like rodents. 

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