It’s like photography lovers: people who started off using film complain about a certain lack of richness in digital prints. Those who grew up listening to LPs (vinyl records), the electronic hum of CDs can hardly match the sound quality of the analog variants. “It’s a different sound. The sense of acoustics comes out,” says Inderpal Singh Kochhar, owner of the plush Lodi–The Garden Restaurant in the Capital.
Kochhar picked up the first of his collection of about 2500 records many years ago while he was at art school in New York. “I walked in to a second-hand store where people donated their books and old belongings, and bought a few of these records for about five to 10 cents. I didn’t even have an LP player then,” he recalls. Interestingly, this hobby started as a general fascination for everything old. “I would take 1940s footage of my great grandfather’s wedding, cut it up and add Jimi Hendrix loops to it,” he says. As he started picking up these records, he was fascinated by the worn-out texture of these circular discs, from their retro covers to the rare artistes. From then on, whichever part of the world he went to, he picked up LPs, even for prices higher than that of CDs.
Many of the records from his prized collection are played for patrons of his restaurant, located on the fringes of Lodhi Gardens (which means apart from the rich LP sound, you also get to listen to the chirping of birds returning to trees in the evening). These LP Nights, that started a few months ago, have Classic Rock on Wednesdays and Jazz on Sundays.
DJ Ravjot, who plays the records on the first floor lounge bar, says that many of the restaurant’s customers have responded enthusiastically to the idea: “Sometimes they browse through the stacks and request me to play LPs of their choice. Most of these people know their music and can tell the difference between classic jazz and acid jazz,” he says.
One such patron is Gren Pacheco, 32, who heads a hospitality company in New Delhi. Pacheco, who says that his family owns about 500 to 600 LPs, was a member of a rock band during his school and college days, and still plays the guitar and the flute. “This is classic stuff, which you don’t get to hear anywhere else. If I had to listen to Knocking on Heaven’s Door, I’ll rather do it on the super music system in my car. Why should I spend 3000 bucks to get to hear it in a pub,” he says. Kamakshi Malhotra, 23, a freelance journalist says she feels a unique warmth in the Lodi premises every time she drops by, and the music definitely has something to do with it: “Where can you get to hear Neil Diamond, Neil Young or Frank Sinatra in Delhi?”
Lodi–The Garden Restaurant is on Lodhi Road, near Lodhi Gardens, Gate No-1, New Delhi. Call 011 24652808 for reservations.