I picked up the guitar at an early age of 10. Having exposure to good music in our household and listening to records of Eagles, Pink Floyd and Dire Straits as a kid, I was fascinated by the sound of that instrument. But, one fine day I heard my Dad play and I knew I had to learn it.
Growing up in a typical small town Indian household, music was never considered a career option. So, I did Engineering just like everyone else or almost everyone and Engineering and Music don’t always go hand in hand. At a certain point in your life you need to choose and I’m still somewhere in the middle (Hanging).
Well, just after graduating I decided to give it a shot at being a full time musician/session artist. Those were the most difficult days of my life or so I call it the “Broke Days” as I was living off my own and was hardly making any money.
With no stable job or income and to see your friends drift away, depression starts to kick in. That’s when I started writing songs, jotting down my thoughts and composing music. This helped me cope with stress and also helped me focus more on my art. I’ll probably write a book on ‘The Life of a Struggling Musician’ when I’m older.It is a tough industry to crack and I realised that you need a second source of income if you want to survive so I ended up taking a regular job.
My major influences as a kid were Mark Knopfler, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and B.B King. However, In the mid 2000’s when pop music was at its peak, John Mayer released Continuum and changed everything. I was heavily influenced by that album and his guitar playing. In recent years though, things have changed and I look up to more obscure artists like Sufjan Stevens, Novo Amor, Sigur Ros, Ben Howard, Bon Iver to name a few. I’m more inclined to writing songs and composing now than playing the guitar.
Certain events that occured in life changed my outlook towards it. I realised that life is more valuable than you think and I began to look at life from a different perspective. It has changed the way I look at music too. I’ve started writing more songs, taking more initiative, making amends and getting things done. Hopefully it pays off.
I love performing as I like to inspire people with my music and everytime I take the stage, it’s just me, the lights and the music and everything else disappears. It’s like I’m taken out of time and space and only ‘the applause’ or a ‘you suck’ from the crowd brings me back. And no, you don’t need drugs to get that feeling.
My favourite venues in the city were Bflat and Humming Tree. It’s sad that these venues no longer operate. These places were safe haven for musicians where they felt at home. Bflat had become like a special place for me during its final remission days where I got to perform in one of their farewell gigs. I hope we get to see more venues like these in the future.
I’ve had the privilege to work with so many amazing people throughout and I hope I get to work with a lot more in future.The list is too big to mention and all of them have helped or inspired me to become what I am today.
Bangalore used to be the hub for Rock, Metal, Blues and Jazz listeners and we as artists used to love performing for that audience. In recent years however, things have changed and the IT bloom has definitely had an impact as most of the crowd we see now are corporates who just want to have a good time and get smashed on the weekend after slogging the entire week. Well, it is all fine but when all the venues start playing dance music then it's a problem. We as artists are left with very few venues in the city where we can showcase our art and where the audience gets involved as well.
At times you get asked why are you still doing it and what’s the fun in this. Well, the fun part is getting yelled at by the bassist for making a mistake, getting mad at the drummer for not keeping time, telling your bassist that he sucks, correcting the wrong note that your keyboardist is playing but then you end up playing that wrong note yourself and despite all odds, hitting the stage and rocking out to a thousand people is a treat that no amount of money can afford.