I am often asked what inspired me to write music in such an unorthodox format. Contrary to what they expect, instead of citing any names, I am only able to muster bits from the final days of my Mumbai experience to have effectively set me on my way.
As far as my musical evolution goes, I think I have allowed myself to grow freely, but in a way that I could store the best of each world that I was a part of at any point in life. For me, all that I had learnt from the very beginning in different spaces of music, especially songwriting-wise, from metal to percussive fingerstyle, are co-existent, parallel universes, occurring at different times but continuing next to each other, instead of being milestones on just one road… separate chapters, most of which did not have to be over for another to begin. The latest and most significant of these, reinterpretations, started towards the end of 2016, when I left Mumbai and came back to my hometown because it felt like I had reached a tipping point. That was in fact a chapter that had to be over for me to restart my journey in music, and I was able to begin again in a way that allowed me to bring the best of all my worlds in one place as I hoped to create something that was entirely mine.
Growing up, metal quite literally saved my life more than once and gave my life its first ever “must-have” – a target towards which I could direct all of my energy and find my first sense of achievement. I had my heart and mind set on music early and it was hard to find a connect as strong as that anywhere else, so luckily for me, metal showed up at the perfect time and gave all the negative energy in and around me such a strong and positive channel. There was so much to chase and just 24 hours in a day!
Sadly, this was as naive as it sounds. Soon enough, life caught on, and I was on a more obvious path – working day-job(-ish) for bills, while trying to manage music on the side, until I found myself facing “the choice”. Despite what paid my bills was technically something creative and fun – a freelance video-editing and audio production space – a duo that I formed with a childhood friend – on most days, instead of being the perfect middle-ground between a proper job and what you call, “my-bands-can’t-pay-my-bills”, it had started to feel more and more distant from the one thing that it was supposed to enable. While I was getting more and more commercial projects that kept me glued to my desktop in my room for weeks, in the very next room were my guitars… dust-laden, rotting, the colour of the fretboard faded, the strings rusted, the neck almost symbolically broken as they hung mid-air from the wall. To be honest, it was between me and the guitars where the wall really was.
That moment of realization had hit me so hard that I could not focus on my work anymore. Performance levels dropped, the capability to care about it vanished. In other words, I had found my final calling and nothing else mattered. It was time. I returned to my hometown for the perfect solitude that it had never failed to offer me, while also temporarily canceling out the need to earn for my necessities and hence, the need to do anything else with my time. I wanted to restart in a way that made sense out of all of my experiences and instincts, including a desire to be world-class. Of course, for such a huge target, I had to start simple and work on every single thing at the minutest level. Little did I know that while on break after a practice session, as I was fooling around on the guitar with one hand and on my computer table with the other, I’d conceive the idea that would become the foundation for all that I was looking for and all that I ever wanted, really. Not only musically, but the way I view the world and philosophy of life somehow found their way to fit into this intriguingly inventive space of music. I’ll be honest, I am more a Tremonti fan than I will ever be of an Andy Mckee or a Jon Gomm, but somehow the best of my ability has come forward in percussive, or more expressive form of fingerstyle, where I could be fully self-sufficient and completely submerged without really constraining a musical instinct that tilted towards a bigger, more layered sound.
Fast-forward to today, which may be only a few months after I started but unhealed, torn finger-tips are my battle scars again, and to add to that, now I have the mind and experience of a 28-year old musician who has been around for about a decade.
It just feels so right.