soundartist from India
1. When did you start making music, what is/was your motivation to do it?
I started making music in my teenage, the same time as I started learning to play an instrument formally. However, I would always like randomly improvising on the instrument (a keyboard – I was learning the piano but a real piano was too expensive), rather than play the prescribed lessons. So, the first motivation to make my own music was nothing but the joy of improvisation. From around the same time, I also started listening to and appreciating a lot of classical music, so another important motivation was to reproduce those imposing structures and sounds I heard on record.
2. Tell me something about your living environment and the musical education.
While music has consistently been a passion for me, my musical education has been informal rather than formal. I am nervous as a performer, and my formal education at the piano was curtailed by the need to pursue a more ‘viable’ and career-worthy university degree. So in my college, I utilised other opportunities (like working with the director of the college choir) to pursue lessons in harmony and composition. Since then, I have continued as a student in the academia – am now a master’s student – and while that has been my primary ‘public identity’, I have been a consistent ‘weekend composer’. My primary musical environment and education are the composers I listen to – nowadays, a lot of Bartok and Stravinsky, and avant-agrde composers like George Crumb and the early Penderecki.
3. Is making music your profession? What is the context in which you practice music nowadays?
No, unfortunately I have not been able to make a profession out of making music. I practice music mostly in private and in my leisure time, which may seem solipsistic but, I feel, brings the quality of introspection to my work.
4. How do you compose or create music or sound? Have you certain principles, use certain styles etc?
I usually start with a few themes/motifs – melodic or rhythmic. The way I work is to develop and ‘interbreed’ these primary themes/motifs constantly within the piece, creating new and unexpected links and patterns among them, thus creating something that is structured, and intensely self-referential. But I also tend to introduce entirely new, unrelated material into this web, at key emotional or dramatic moments. This structural method tends to remain with me though in terms of sound and texture my music varies a lot – from conventional harmony and instrumentation to dissonance and even avant-guardish textures and sounds.
5. Tell me something about the instruments, technical equipment or tools you use?
I use a synthesizer and a personal computer with advanced musical software – but also compose for conventional instruments and combinations, chamber, orchestral or vocal.
6. What are the chances of New Media for the music production in general and you personally?
In general, of course, the scene is very bright and it opens up opportunities of access to many more people than conventional ways of music-making. Personally, I feel New Media gives me ways of refreshing my music by placing it in newer interactive environments which also forces it to reinvent itself.
7. How about producing and financing your musical productions?
I am not really sure about opportunities, but am very open to offers. I would especially welcome opportunities for music theatre, which requires greater resources than chamber works, which is mainly what I have been concentrating on.
8. Do you work individually as a musician/soundartist or in a group or collaborative? If you have experience in both, what is the difference, what do you prefer?
I mainly work individually – but have worked collaboratively as well, mainly in choir productions. In general, when performing the work of other composers, I like working collaboratively, but when it comes to composition in itself, I work best alone. Of course, if it is my own work being performed, I like collaborating with the musicians over interpretation and love the way that new interpretations turn up – things which I may not have foreseen myself.
9. Is there any group, composer, style or movement which has a lasting influence on making music?
Well – there are many, actually – but if it is the most lasting influence, I would mention classical-era greats like Mozart and Haydn, who taught me a lot about musical structure. My musical language has been widened through exposure to people like late Debussy, Stravinsky, Bartok and Ives – and later, the early Penderecki, and George Crumb, Robert Ashley.
10. What are your future plans or dreams as a soundartist or musician?
I would like to expand the scope of my musical productions, especially by looking for opportunities in music theatre, if possible, outside India where scopes in Western art music are limited.
My music is available online at: