Indie100: Up and coming talent all in one album
Indie100 is an initiative by Earthsync, Queensland University of Technology, and KM Music Conservatory to provide an opportunity for young indie musicians to have their songs recorded, mixed and mastered professionally. Only the cream of the crop is selected at the IndiEarth XChange in Chennai. A few days ago, the outcome of last year’s project was released in the form of an album on Earthsync’s bandcamp page. The 8 artists/bands on the tracklist talked to us about their songs and the recording experience.
01 Yestey feat. Marius Wylie – Fire
Yestey is an electronic music producer/DJ from Kerala. Fire is an experimental melancholic pop record which incorporates electronic music with organic sounding instruments, especially an Indian percussion instrument called mridangam. The soothing vocal texture brings a new life to the production entirely. “It was timing, I believe. The entire song happened overnight when Marius Wyllie came up with the vocals and lyrics for this record. I knew the moment I heard him sing that this is it, this is the final piece of the puzzle,” Yestey says.
02 Krameri – Taking Me Down
Krameri is an electronic duo consisting of Gopi Krishnan and Damini Chauhan. They wrote and roughly programmed Taking Me Down for the Indie100 project because they wanted to have the experience of starting a song from scratch with live instruments and then getting the finished product, as opposed to programming everything electronically like they usually did. They also wanted to get other people involved with them on the song. “It was fun collaborating with other talented musicians on this track. Matt Bacon played strings and bass, and Munna Pm played the cajon. We were really happy with the finished song!” the duo says.
03 STEVIE – Silver To Crimson
Stevie is a singer-songwriter from Chennai who dabbles in all genres from metal to R&B. The rock ballad Silver To Crimson was written more than a year back in the state of mind that he was in while a friend of his was going through depression. The song reflects the emotions of agony, confusion and the will to go on perfectly. “We had Joel on guitars, Matt Bacon on bass. Matteo was the brains behind having a rhythm section. Atman Sheth worked overnight to program the drums. And Deepak Sugathan, faculty at KM, produced the track with his team. Basically, working together with a lot of people worked in our favor, resulting in the sound that I’ve always pictured for the song,” Stevie says.
04 Bjorn Surrao – Crystal Skies
Bjorn Surrao might be best known for being the frontman of Franks Got The Funk, but he’s also a talented singer/songwriter. Crystal Skies was written a couple of years ago about his travels at that period of time and the personification of the skies during his adventure. He says he had a great time recording it with Phil. Crystal Skies will also be on his EP ‘Stories From A Bottle,’ releasing later this month.
05 Pithukuli – Kadavule
Pithukuli is an acoustic band founded by Aditya Ravindran and Karthik Manickavasakam. They write and perform their songs in Tamil, covering a diverse range of subjects from satirical humour and narratives, to ideas on pastoral and romance. Kadavule is the first song written by the band, and it talks about an urban guy singing about his girl from native town. The song is composed with folk style melody set with contemporary harmonies, creating a new sound.
06 Midnight Rush – When You’ve Forgotten The Words
Midnight Rush is a trio band of members Akash, Merwyn and Amarjeet. They compose ambient smooth jazz music. When You’ve Forgotten the Words can be described as an ambient jazz ballad featuring hauntingly beautiful melodies and a mournful saxophone. Intimate and laid-back, it aims for the listener to be transported to a dark smokey lounge on Frenchmen Street. It features vocalist Lavita Lobo. The song is a true blend of jazz and melancholy. It was a challenge for the band to present a variety of instruments, and this is where Amarjeet was able to highlight different aspects of “letting go.” The faculty of KM and the producers were a part of the unit, guiding the band to tell a comprehensive story.
07 Akash Donald – High
Singer-songwriter Akash Donald has an unabashed enthusiasm for catchy lyrics and mournful tunes. He’s currently working on his debut album. High is an indie pop/rock song featuring a sick groove and a catchy hook. Masked by the upbeat musical composition, the lyrics describe a darker message of a troubled addict and his struggles. Melodically, Merwyn’s saxophone bursts out with the smooth signature riff. The producer Philip Graham helped in helming this song. The band faced immense difficulties while recording the track due to unforeseeable reasons such as power cuts and technical issues, but Phil continued with dedication and zeal to bring the song to fruition. “It was an absolute pleasure working with the other QUT students Brad Columbine and Marius Wyllie, who were incredible during the vocal recording session. It was also a delight to have some of the talented KM faculty members to play on the track. Merywn’s catchy sax riff, Matt Bacon’s groovy bass lines and Matteo’s drums gave this song the energy and drive it needed,” Akash says.
08 Bombay Chutney – Makhmal
Bombay Chutney is an alternative electronic music act from Mumbai. Prepare to embark on a surreal journey of heady synths, sick beats and angelic vocals with this band comprising Darshan Lodaya a.k.a. Bluesanova (songwriter, producer and guitar player), Barkha Swaroop Saxena (songwriter and vocalist) and Sagar Bohara aka Crazy Vibe ( Producer and Engineer). Makhmal or velvet is a sensuous song, set on electronic music, and quite different from the rest of the songs on the album. It is a lover’s sonnet of the desire to be loved, an expression of love for the self, a praise of one’s own beauty. “We are all beautiful, if only we allowed ourselves to feel it,” is the theme.