A four member band from Trivandrum started their journey into the stream of music towards the end of 2016 and since then they have been performing non-stop. They aim to blend different styles and genres and cut their vibe in the music world.
Meet the band:
Vocalist/Guitarist: Crishna, a versatile singer whose voice keeps the audience mesmerized, is capable of singing multiple styles of music. Most of the musical performances of the band are composed by him. He had earlier associated with projects like The Anju Joseph Project, Karnatrix, Dark Prophecy, and Reflections.
Drummer: Ananthu, who previously worked on projects with Job Kurian, Karnatix, Gowry Lakshmi and Prog Rock band is a versatile drummer, whose rhythm plays in different genre with smoothness.
Keyboardist: Pranav is an excellent keyboard player, whose finger can’t stop creating music once it hits the keys. He plays instruments like samples, pads, piano etc.
Bassist: Brian is a multi-instrumentalist and a sound engineering graduate from SEA. His command over various instruments has always enriched the music he creates.
For Crishna, establishing a foothold in the music world wasn’t easy. He had his share of struggles and rejections before he could rise to what he is now. He started off young as a student of classical music, training under mentors like Vaikundam Thambi and Irinjalakuda Vijayakumar who heavily contributed to his style and mode. However, he found his niche with the formation of musical band ‘Cut-A-Vibe’ that gave him a chance for soulful rendition of ‘Kunnikuru’, giving him his first break. ‘Saakadai Pechu’, ‘Highway to Sky’, ‘Virahame’ are among his other hit songs.
“Right from the start I knew what I want to do and whom I want to pick for my band: Brian (Bass), Pranav (Keys) and Anandhu (Drums). We all had a great vibe in common and is deeply reflected in the music we create”. He believes that music has no barriers, so before becoming a playback singer he wants to test his own barriers by exploring different musical genre.
Crishna has previously worked as a lead vocalist under a metal band ‘Dark Prophecy’ and later he voiced songs for John Antony’s international band ‘Karnatrix’. He is currently working on the video release of ‘Kunnikuru’ with his band mates, which is set to be released early in 2018.
As per reports, YouTube is planning to release a new paid music service by March 2018. The service which is currently referred as ‘Remix’ will be the company’s trump card to contend with Spotify and Apple. The service would include on-demand streaming and incorporate video clips.
If reports are to be believed, Warner Music Group signed on to the service, while other big shots like Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and independent label digital rights agency Merlin are still in talks. YouTube is also aiming artists to rope in for promotion.
Niranj Suresh has been a rising star among musicians since his debut in 2014. He has been recognized for his playback singing hits like ‘Neeyo Njaano’ from Anuraga Karikkin Vellam, ‘Thoppil Joppan’ title song, ‘Innalekalil’ from Godha, ‘Thechille Penne’ from Role Models, ‘Roshomon’ from Solo and ‘Villain’ theme song. He is someone who believes music is an endless stream with much to explore.
Very few people know that his passion and profession were never the same. Before becoming Mollywood’s most loved voice, Niranj dreamt of becoming an actor. He was launched into Malayalam film industry in 2013 by Martin Prakkat.“But my kismat decided something else and took me to music”, he says when asked about the connection between his career and passion.
Niranj started music training at a young age with eastern classical music, but it was during his college life he truly discovered his taste in western music. He says that it was the time when his musical journey really began. “The stage and I have been inseparable since then”. In addition to being one of the best playback singers, he is also the lead vocalist of the bands Motherjane, Blank Planet and NRJ Project.
‘Autumn Hue’, the soft yet raw melody, refuses to fade away even after it is over. Listen to ‘Falter’, which is a unique song in its own right or the ‘Phila’, another subtle beauty. These songs by the band ‘Black Letters’ make an indelible mark in your mind and playlist.
‘Black Letters’ has been in the musical radar for quite some time. Sharath Narayan (Vocals& Guitar), Sarang Menon (Guitar), Arjun Radhakrishnan (Bass) and Akash Chacko (Drums) were friends from school and took a turn to music out of passion. After winning their first competition in their debut gig, they knew their calling. These youngsters hate to play it by the book and experiment with sounds, rhythms and instruments.
“We love the appreciation we receive and the recognition of our experimental music”. It’s the moments on stage and the kick out of a rocking performance that drive them to the stage again and again. With a growing dedicated fan base, people are now waiting for their performances and putting up requests to perform in their cities. Even though they travel extensively for gigs, they make it a point to stay connected to the people and fans around them.
For anyone who wish to tread this path, they have one advice, “It doesn’t matter what your friends say, what the people say. Opinions differ. Say and do what you feel is right”. When asked to come up with a word to define their complex music and band, after much contemplation, they come up with an appropriate one – “Drenched”.
Padmavati’s latest song Ek Dil, Ek Jaan, starring Shahid Kapoor and Deepika Padukone, just released. Ek Dil Ek Jaan is written by A.M. Turaz and composed by film’s director, Sanjay Leela Bhansali. The vocals are by Shivam Pathak. This song explores the love story between Deepika Padukone’s Rani Padmini and Shahid Kapoor’s Maharawal Ratan Singh. Shahid Kapoor and Deepika Padukone are starring opposite each other for the first time.
Ek Dil Ek Jaan is the second song from Padmavati that has been released. The first song, Ghoomar, featuring Deepika Padukone, was well received by the audience. Padmavati is all set to release on December 1
“I love every kind of music”, replies Sooraj Santhosh when asked about his musical preference. This versatile singer does not believe in separating music based on genres. Whether its Carnatic, Metal, Hindustani or Progressive Rock, he loves listening to all these.
For someone who was excited by sounds from childhood, music was the only meaningful path in life. He started off young as a student of Carnatic music, studying under various eminent gurus including K. Omanakutty and Kudamaloor Janardhanan (Flautist) and excelled in a number of stages before turning as playback singer for a Telugu movie in 2008. There was no turning back from then.
Sooraj kept making hits in Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam, winning the State award for best singer last year for the song ‘Manjerum’ from the movie ‘Guppy’. He considers every little thing, a joyous moment to disappointment to even boredom as a source of inspiration. A keen observer of the society and politics, he was much involved in student politics during his college days, but left active politics after college to focus on music.
Another fabulous milestone in his illustrious musical journey was the accidental formation of band Masala Coffee. This band of independent musicians came together for a channel show. But their music was well received that they started live performances and now is one of the most sought after music bands in the country. They are now gearing up to release a number of originals.
Sooraj is equally passionate about travel. He has traveled extensively with friends and solo before getting hitched, and now roams around with his other half, hand in hand. Next in his bucket list is the visit to Himalayas. He believes that all sound is unique and trusts in all good sense that, Naadam is Brahmam; that sound is God.
Words by Akash Kaimal
Photographs by Goutham Narayanan, Various Internet Sources
Ashwin Gopakumar stormed into limelight as the melodious vocalist of Indie band ‘When Chai Met Toast’. However, for many he is a metalhead, courtesy his college band ‘Purple Blood’. In between his packed schedule, Ashwin finds time to open up about his musical journey with Cream Life.
Let’s start with your college days and ‘Purple Blood’. How different were those days? Do you miss the band and the ‘Rockstar’ image?
College days are truly memorable in all ways. ‘Purple Blood’ played a huge role, and is the sole reason I took up music as my profession. Purple Blood is my stepping stone to becoming a musician and the motivation to move forward. Yes, I definitely miss my long hair and the times, however more than the image, Purple Blood is a feeling.
After a hiatus, you came up with the band ‘When Chai Met Toast’. There was a drastic transformation in your music. What made that change or how did the change happen?
I wanted to pursue music as a career and started writing songs. It was a long process indeed. During the break, I tried different projects, worked as a music industry professional, also did my associate degree in music business from LA and Minneapolis. Simultaneously I was searching for a sound that would fit me right. And then one day 18 year old guitar prodigy Achyuth Jaigopal walked into my life and from then writing became serious.
About your band and the beautiful music you guys create?
As the name suggests, it’s basically a bunch of South Indian boys who love chai and playing English folk meeting Indian roots. We are a bunch of happy guys trying to make the world a better place by inspiring good in people. We hope to remind people to smile and glide through life.
Your playback singing career started with the song ‘Home’ from ‘Jacobinte Swargarajyam’. How did you land it? How was that experience?
To be honest, it was indeed a surprising experience. One fine day after the release of ‘Beautiful World’ (When Chai Met Toast) Vineeth Sreenivasan shared the song and I was so thrilled. The next day I got a call from him asking to write a song for his new movie since it needed English lyrics. Then I and Achyuth wrote something for the tune of Shaan Rahman. Home is the first track with my voice on it ever to have come in a movie screen, was quite a bit of goose bumps seeing that.
‘Payye Veeshum’ was one of the most talked about songs of last year. Your voice added a prolific magic to it. How has that song influenced your career?
Payye Veeshum is my debut in playback singing for real. Sachin is a good friend, and we became even greater friends through this journey called ‘Aanandam’. First Ganesh met me to talk about how metal life was in college and what my story was in general being from an engineering college. While we were talking, Sachin said “I have a song for you in Malayalam” and I instantly replied “Wow, I am not a great Malayalam singer”. However, he was persistent in making me sing and that’s how the song happened. I’m so happy that it reached millions of people. It’s just a starting point. When people call me for who I’m, I try to give my best.
Latest to your list is ‘Roshomon’ from ‘Solo’. The song is already a hit and has garnered over 1 million views on YouTube. How was it working for a peppy music director like Prashanth? Are you excited to have sung for Dulquer Salmaan?
OMG, Prashanth Pillai is an amazing human being. Walked into the studio to shake hands, he put me on the spot and gave all the freedom to do what I want with the track. I gave my best both in Malayalam and Tamil, making this my debut Tamil song too. He’s always one I’ve looked into, with experimental compositions in all sense from the acapella ride ‘Ee solomanum’ to the folk render ‘Theeyame’. I’m super excited to see Dulquer giving out his rave moves for the song and can’t wait for the movie.
You are one of the promoters of independent music in Kerala. Do you believe that the scope of independent music has changed a lot in recent years?
It’s all about how you give in as an artist. Independent music scene is gaining a larger base in the state as well as in the country. More people are exposed to parallel music, thanks to channels like Kappa. Also bigger names are tying up with smaller bands and promoting them. Kerala movie industry has also taken the effort of finding talent which in turn is great for the independent scene.
How do you balance between live shows and playback singing?
There isn’t as much hassle as you think; it’s a fun and happy life.
Band has two new video songs coming out in 6 months time. Our latest video ‘Fight’ was released last month. Personally there’s some news I’d like to break after everything goes right.
“Strong belief and one’s family makes you who you are”. All credits to my mom, dad and sister Anjana for tolerating a weird kid and his dreams.