On the dance floor, electronic music rules. And for those who don’t like it, there are few places you could avoid it. This genre is strongly felt, be it music festivals or clubs. Contemporary electronic music (is there any other kind?) has surprising allies to probably stay relevant: actual instruments and voice. It is the latter, that too vernacular Hindi and Urdu, which musician Suryakant Sawhney has been adding to the texture of his brand of electronic music in his electronic project Luffa.
This is what he will be playing this weekend in the city which he claims will be “a constant refinement of his production techniques, instinctive take on melody and cadence, music that’s spiritual and sensual”. Talking to him prior to the event, proves to be a match of words, as his flippant sense of humour shades his replies.
So, what’s your background? Sawhney replies: “Right now, there’ s a green wall with some water damage and badminton racquet hanging from a curtain rod.” Well, that’s probably true but so is the fact that he started out as a student of filmmaking in San Francisco who, while recording jazz music for Peter Cat Recording Company, a Delhi-based outfit, set out on the path of music. Electronic music happened as he was making music on the computer, a departure from his usual practice of making music on the guitar. From the jazz world, he sauntered into this genre and even connected to his childhood memories by including Hindi verses. But, the reason why he got into music, is, “when I realised that I was blessed with two wonderful ears.” No points for modesty but Lifafa has been a work in progress which he says is “all about feeding the hungry.” No, don’t ask.
However, there is clarity when Sawhney describes his music. “I would define my music as contemporary music, the process of mixing electronic and acoustic techniques and aesthetics.” He calls all sounds in his environment as his inspiration but the music he listens to in his downtime is the sound of waterdrops dripping incessantly and monotonously. “I used to listen to and still prefer listening to a nonstop soundtrack of dripping waterdrops.” No, he isn’t joking and, in a way, describes the trance like rhythm of electronic music, one of the reasons of its popularity.
So far, Sawhney hasn’t reached out to the Indian audiences as much as he has to the audiences abroad where he claims, they want him. In his attempt to find ‘his music’ which isn’t aping any western or Indian music, he hopes to have created an album which resonates to his inner thoughts. Asked to define the music genres he plays, he writes, “I really like the genre of not terrible music.” That’s out for the jury to decide. But when prodded on the musicians he is inspired by, Sawhney takes two names: Anu Malik and Rajesh Roshan. Maybe first-time listeners in India will now get an idea about Luffa.
So far, Sawhney has released two albums Luffa I and Hi Ko (a four-song release), the latter having strong Bollywood influence with kitsch, synth melodies and vocal lines playing through the album. Looking at such influences, I ask him if scoring music for Bollywood sounds appealing. The answer, in his style, is as clear as it is whimsy. “$$$.” He signs off with the all-pervasive symbol which spell success, no matter what the music is about. Money, is indeed the fodder for an artiste wanting to make a name through music.
When: July 27, 9 pm
Where: Fandom, 4th Block, Koramangala