Working in a hospital can be a draining job. Sure, JD made it look easy in Scrubs, but the reality is 12-hour shifts stopping you see the light of day, scrubbing your hands to the bone to stop all those pesky germs and saving lives on a day to day basis. So, after being superheroes for the day, how would you wind down? Well, three doctors from Luton are swapping their smocks for suits and their medical instruments for some rocking guitars.
The name The Palpitations actually arose as a bittersweet homage to their hometown. Bassist Nishant Joshi has worked in Luton hospital for six years, and within his time in the cardiology unit, he discovered that Luton was an epicentre for palpitations in the UK. For those unsure of what palpitations are, they’re when your heart is pounding or beats irregularly for a few minutes.
After hearing the condition talked about on a daily basis, he started to grow fonder of the term, aiming to get that fluttering feeling through music. “When I say the word, it’s so rhythmic, and it’s one of the rare words around the hospital that has a bit of music about it.”
Not only was the name drumming around his head, Nish soon felt inspired by each shift he had at the hospital. In every encounter, each human interaction, he saw a story that was more than just medical condition. “I ended up getting into trouble with my supervisor because instead of writing logs about the science and physiology of the patient, I’d only write about the human stories.”
This human art, or as Nish calls it ‘unfortunate inspiration’ found its way into song form, and he began penning tracks. He still needed people to play them though…
Banding together with other Luton Hospital doctor Tom Talbot and pro guitarist Brett Rieser, The Palpitations began strong. Not only did the trio connect musically, but because of their close work in emergency circumstances, they knew they could count on one another. “Being in those situations where it’s just between the two of you to save someone’s life, or break the bad news to someone’s family, it already created a bond that will last for the rest of our lives.”
The Palpitations are a grungey desert rock band. Their music is about people and stories. Their single ‘Siren’ delves into the life of a drug-addicted young woman through haunting bass riffs and an album cover fit for a thriller.
With inspiration mostly coming from a place of grief, Nish’s lyrics whisk you off your feet and take you to a familiar, and slightly unnerving, place with whitewashed walls.
We’ve all had that long wait in a waiting room; uncertainty taking over as you twiddle your thumbs, waiting for someone in a uniform to give you the good or bad news. The Palpitations perfect that uneasy feeling, but give comfort to the uncomfortable.
So far they’ve teased fans with just one single, but 2020 will see the expansion of their ward with track ‘Lights Out’ set to hit Spotify at the end of the month and ‘My Carnivore’ soon to follow.
This wait, however, isn’t due to their busy daily lives, but a decision to keep the fans waiting. Like the fable about the tortoise and the hare, some bands do make their way through the race quickly, wearing themselves out to perform night after night. But The Palpitations are taking the Tortoise approach—slow and steady. “When we talk to our fans, they re hungry for our return and that’s what makes it worth it. That’s the beauty in it, needing that sense of longing for something.”
“To be in a band is draining, especially if you want to get to where we want to get to,” Nish tells me through our crackly phone call. And he’s right. At the end of a rough working day, you can go home. Put your feet up, stick the kettle on, and relax before clambering out of bed the next day to do the whole thing again.
Music, however, is a thought that never turns off. And, between keeping patient logs and performing surgeries, the musical buzz still lingers throughout the day. “Yeah, you may get the phone call asking some questions when you’ve clocked off or have a sleepless night thinking about a patient, but I’ve had countless sleepless nights thinking about the music.”
Listen to The Palpitations on Spotify and get the latest edition of our print magazine containing interviews with Black Honey, Matt Maltese, Mattiel and Molly BurchHERE