The Solo Project

A musician may have more ways to express himself than one particular genre of music allows.

Written by Zaira Arslan | Published: July 17, 2012 1:20:24 am

A musician may have more ways to express himself than one particular genre of music allows. For instance,the band that a guitarist is in may be making electro-rock,but he may find that the music he’s written on his own is somewhat different but works just as well — if not better — in expressing his ideas.

Take Rahul Nadkarni,guitarist of the Mumbai-based electro-rock outfit — Sky Rabbit. His solo act,SnowShoe,began much like that. For many years,he’s been with Sky Rabbit (formerly called Medusa,when they were a progressive metal outfit),but last month,he debuted his solo project,SnowShoe,at Mumbai’s Live from the Console. “The whole process (of a solo project as opposed to a band) is different,” he explains,adding,“Writing music in a band is,for lack of a better word,more traditional.”

Unlike the music of Sky Rabbit,Nadkarni’s solo act is mostly instrumental with little,and sometimes,no vocals. Melodious and undeniably calming,it’s the kind of soft music that’s best listened to with earphones while lying on the bed on a rainy afternoon. Currently a 45-minute long set,the guitarist hasn’t put this music on an EP yet,but plans to do so soon. Although the set featured Harsh Karangale,the drummer of Sky Rabbit,the recorded songs are solely Nadkarni’s work — music that he’s written in the last one year or so.

Fellow Sky Rabbit member,vocalist Raxit Tewari,also introduced his solo act — Your Chin — last month. He,however,chooses to put down the introduction of a solo act to something more basic. “On the most basic level,it’s because you’re sitting at home with your laptop and gear,and you just end up writing music,” he says. He released an EP comprising four songs,a couple of which have definite similarities to the music he makes with Sky Rabbit.

Why,then,did these songs end up on a Your Chin EP and not Sky Rabbit? “I’m not sure I think all these things through,” says the vocalist,adding,“It’s just a very professional thing — the music has been made,so why not put it out there.” The solo act,Tewari says,is a way of bettering himself and exploring new things.

Another well-known name in the industry — one-half of the electronica duo Midival Punditz — Gaurav Raina,also recently announced his solo project,Grain. While both Raina and Tapan Raj (the other half of the band) have worked on a number of things outside of the band that they started in 1997,neither has had a definite solo act until now. Grain’s debut album,Grey to Silver,will be ready for release in a month or two.

Raina,too,attributes the formation of a solo act to a form of self-expression. “We all want to express ourselves,and with Midival Punditz,songwriting in English wasn’t happening,” he says. His work as Grain,therefore,will see little or no vocals in Hindi and a much more international sound than that of the Midival Punditz. It will,however,continue to be electronic and the first album features guest performances by a number of musicians including Monica Dogra,Karsh Kale and Tapan Raj.

However,despite the attention given to their solo projects,none of them have stopped making music with their bands. Sky Rabbit,for instance,performed in Delhi last week and have another gig lined up in Mumbai this week. “We’re simultaneously also working on material for Sky Rabbit and will start recording a new EP soon,” says Nadkarni.

Raina,too,will continue making music with Tapan Raj,who,he says,has been his friend for more than 25 years and supports his solo venture. “We’ve always supported each other on the work we’ve done outside the Midival Punditz,” he says,adding that Raj would see the same support if he were to launch a solo act.

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