As a kid, I never really enjoyed going to church especially because we were forced to get up early on a Sunday and get ready for service which seemed endless. On one of the said torturous days I noticed the musicians, more specifically the drummer playing for the service, that’s when something clicked inside me and I decided to learn to play the drums. I was around six years old at this point and what started as a way to enjoy going to church became the sole reason for my strong faith in our Lord, Jesus Christ. That is a whole different journey that I’d love to share on another day.
Going back to when I was six, while learning to play the drums, I became interested in staff notations and began learning to play the piano and guitar simultaneously.
I was only allowed to listen to Gospel music as secular music was a complete no-no in my household, with a secular music list limited to the ones we sang for Annual Day in school, I felt content.
Getting permission to learn the instrument or join the church choir was thoroughly encouraged and on one occasion I was made to sing solo in front of the congregation, the response to that, sparked the urge to learn more and thus began my musical journey.
Fast forward to high school, I played the keyboard and sang my first real solo, a song from Westlife, that’s when I dreamt of being a part of a boy-band someday. Westlife and Backstreet Boys became the only songs I listened to all the time.
Once I started with pre-university, these fantasies took the back seat and I looked forward to establishing myself in the corporate sector. I still remember the first time I visited Orion Mall when it was opened, I stood near the water and gazed at the glass building (World Trade Centre) saying, “One day you will find me in one of those glassed cabins.” Little did I know that I’d go to corporates to help the sophisticated and suited individuals loosen up and get out of their glassed cages.
In college I was to introduced various genres, ranging from rock to heavy metal. We formed a band to represent the college in numerous inter-college fests that takes place. Initially the college would fund our entry fee to these events but after consecutive failures, the management had lost hope and decided not to pay for our entry to any event. To prove them wrong, we would pool-in money to fund our jam sessions and pay our entry to fests. Still faced with losses, we felt rejected and decided to quit. So, now I was back to square one, I enter my college for my degree in Commerce. It was at this point that I met more individuals who enjoyed music the way I did and we formed a new band, we still met our old pal, Failure; for most of it, but that soon changed when we performed in Exodus, a Gospel Fest hosted by St. Joseph’s College, Bangalore. This was the first time we heard, “The First Place goes to Indo-Asian Academy”, (the college I studied in), we were on cloud nine, with spirits lit with joy, overwhelming emotions and renewed courage. Not only did we bag the first place, but we won against St. Joseph’s Commerce College, which was the greatest achievement at that point.
It was then that I met Rahul Joseph, the lead vocalist of my band, Gigs on Wheels. He congratulated me and we had small talks about the fest and our win; and now we are like brothers, completely different and yet so alike.
This was the turning point in my life, as I decide to make the announcement that I want to pursue Music as a career, unaware of how one can make a career from what is treated as a passion and no contacts, I started off!
Rahul and I got together forming a band and started performing at different venues, looking back at the time we started (which isn’t a decade and all) we have come a long way. I still remember playing for gigs that paid us seven hundred rupees for three hours.
While watching bands perform at the Fete De La Musique for the World Music Festival, I was thinking out loud and told Rahul that it would be an achievement to play on that stage one day, I wasn’t surprised when he said that I spoke his thoughts and true enough our efforts were rewarded when we played for the first time the very next year. We are truly blessed and grateful that we successfully performed that year and for four consecutive years after too. It was from this point that our music career hit the runway. We were approached for gigs at various venues and private events. At times performing as a full band wasn’t possible and so we got to making a subset, acoustic band. This gained a lot of eyes and everyone seemed to enjoy our setlist, style and interaction with the crowd. The Acoustic set consisted of Rahul (Lead Vocals and Percussions- he knows how to get you on your feet), Dennis George (The most soulful Violinist I’ve met), Ashwanth (Saxophonist- Mr. Saxy can drive away your blues with his majestic tunes) and myself (Guitarist and Backing Vocals- I can’t really blow my own horn now, can I?).
The journey from performing at the Music Festival to various events, big and small, wasn’t a cake walk, but through all the hardships we learnt one crucial lesson, i.e., the more serious you make things the more you complicate it. And since then, we have one moto that we follow strictly, have fun and be grateful for another chance to bring a smile on a stranger’s face.
Believe it or not, this is the secret to our success! We have gone from playing for a room with only two people to the UN’s Under 25 Summit.
The last two years have presented us with incredible opportunities as solo artists and as a band too.
I was selected as a semi finalist for an international competition called the “Living Talent Masterpiece 2017.” Through this event I got a chance to travel to Dubai (a place I always wanted to visit) and everything was taken care of by the organisers. It was the best moment in my professional career but also on a personal level, the faith in being able to accomplish greater things was restored.
When I got back, we decided to start working on our full set (Electric) band and that’s when I was introduced to Febin Wilfred (Lead Guitarist for Gigs on Wheels and a guy who knows how to string in your hearts with every strum).
There are times when we are faced with arrogant and inconsiderate event/venue managers and people who tell us to adapt the chalta hai attitude and perform with whatever is available at the venue. But this is what we strongly believe- Only when you respect yourself, will the others respect you.
We have walked out of events that made us feel other than what we are- Respectable Artists!
This has gotten us more gigs than we’d ever imagine, as we don’t like to compromise on our moral and ethical values just to please an event manager.
Wondering how I know I am growing? When a mentor-teacher says, you are doing great and invites us to play with his band on bigger stages. Ashely from a renowned band, Zehen is one such person. We used to watch his band and talk about how amazing it would be to be like them someday. I will always be grateful for the advice he has given us as a band and also to me as an individual artist. One of the events where I played with Zehen is most cherished, as it was in Manyata Tech Park, a place where I worked in the KFC for a brief period, and here I was playing with the band for Philips. Achievement don’t you think?
Gigs on Wheels is my solace and these guys are my family, they have been my pillars of strength and helped me get through a miserable phase. We regularly have a night out at the turf to have a fun game of football, as a time off from our regular gigs and events.
While performing, the audience is usually pleasantly surprised, when I sing in my bass voice and the low notes gets them grooving. I guess it’s what I love doing the most when I’m on stage. Other than that, taking a selfie with the band and audience in a single frame has become a signature style for Gigs on Wheels. Be there at our next gig so you too can be a part of the selfie!
We have been blessed with great and diverse minds that somehow manage to flow in the same frequencies, another secret to success! Learning from each other and our session artists helps us improve ourselves continuously.
Venues that once was only in our imagination have become a reality, be it the Hard Rock Café, The Fisherman’s Wharf or Byg Brewski, we are leaving our mark one venue at a time!
Drummer- Gigs on Wheels
2 thoughts on “Arun Paul, Guitarist/Drummer”
So proud of you Arun! Seen you grow through the years and i know that greater things are gonna happen soon! Super excited for you hon!
Very well articulated, Arun. So proud of you and your journey of ‘no compromise’. Take a bow. Other artists should take a cue.