Keeping the fun in music alive since 2002
Not very long ago, Swarathma treated fans to a brand new single titled Savera that they had written and recorded in collaboration with singer-producer Clinton Cerejo. Although it's been perforcmed live, it's yet to release. This time, the band went ahead and used social media to make music in public spaces, the Bengaluru metro, to be more specific. The hugely popular Bengaluru-based folk band has recorded live sessions inside their metro gigs. Recently, the band live-streamed an eight-minute-long jam on Facebook Live. Fans were obviously elated.
We chatted with band members, Vasu Dixit, Jishnu Dasgupta, and Varun Murali to dig into their musical philosophy.
You've collaborated with a few traditional folk artistes. Who inspires you?
Vasu: Although we are a folk-rock fusion band, we don't take folk songs and make them contemporary. Apart from one TV show, in which we collaborated with Baul artiste Lakhon Das Baul, we haven't really worked with any folk artist. Yes, we did jam with a folk artiste from Mysore while we were working on the songs for our second album. We got some ideas from him. For example, Kooraane was inspired by a tribal/folk song. I personally listen to a lot of Malvi folk music, Rajasthani, African and Kannada folk songs. I draw inspiration from them — it could be the rhythm patterns, the story narration or just the singing style.
Indie music bands don't have it easy in the music industry. How has the journey been for you?
Jishnu: If you're enjoying what you're doing, don't call it a struggle. I think gaining acceptance in the music industry is tough. But we would rather chase acceptance within ourselves as musicians and band mates. And as long as we have fun making and playing the music we do, it is never going to be a struggle.
Do you want to be part of mainstream industry? What do you think of it?
Jishnu: I don't think there is any point in separating the mainstream from the sub-stream any more. We see ourselves as musicians rather than musicians for a particular kind of audience. Ultimately, music choices and judgments are subjective. What I like, someone else may not and vice versa. So passing judgments on other people's music is like saying you don't like Chinese food when there are thousands who love it. Our approach is to keep making the music we love, and acceptance will come on its own if it has to.
Ever thought of making music for Bollywood?
Vasu: Yes, we'd love to make music for Bollywood and we are ready to take on anything. I guess we would make our style of music that would fit the script or the story. The director has to have that confidence in our sound. Indian Ocean is one good example, in the way they've created their niche.
Does training in music really matter, what with the increasing number of YouTube singing sensations?
Varun: Yes, I believe musical training does matter. It doesn't necessary have to be formal training in any particular style of music. You could even follow different websites or follow particular instructors on YouTube who follow a certain sense of syllabus and order in teaching. It really helps saving time learning things faster than going about trying endlessly with wrong techniques, wrong habits, which makes it harder to play an instrument. Besides, in my experience, learning music and continuing to do so has really helped me overcome a lot of frustrating situations when composing music either with the band or on my own. It makes you so much more confident.