Mudra – A musical melangeNews — By Tejal Johri on January 29, 2011 at 8:00 AM
The evening of 23rd January, saw the first ever performance of the newly formed band Mudra at Hard Rock Café. With Tarun Gulati on drums, Nikhil Aina on guitars, Piyush Narayanan Pillai on the keyboard and Vijay Desai on sitar, Mudra played a brilliant set of originals that had everyone dazed by its complexity and superiority. We at the Punekar caught up with Vijay and Piyush for a little chat.
Mudra is a Sanskrit name which sounds strong and ethnic and also gives a hint of how the band sounds heavy and melodic in most of the parts. Their music is essentially a blend of progressive rock blended with Indian Classical leads and patterns. Mudra, which was Evolution before, was formed last year. In the words of Piyush, their music is punchy, Indianised and energetic.
Aimed at an international audience, Mudra strives to offer something uniquely authentic. Piyush says, “We try to make our music as technical as we can. Our music should be crowd-friendly but appreciated by serious musicians at the same time.” The technicalities in their instrumental songs can be identified by the odd time signatures, djent patterns, off-time phrasings, constant scale and modal changes and syncopations.
On the prospect of experimenting with vocals, Piyush admits to having worked with a vocalist. He says, “Each one of us has been trained so much in our instruments that a lot of work is happening with it. There are lots of possibilities with the instruments and with the music that we choose to make. Hence a fair amount of experimentation is on its way.”
Piyush was full of reverence for the newest addition to the band Vijay Desai, who has officially played with Mudra since the last 45 days. With all praises for me he says, “Vijay shares identical interest levels and is equipped with superior training and knowledge. He is also not a conventional sitar player and considering how powerful our music is, he is the ideal fit for the band. Sitar is the instrument that plays the catchy tune in each song, which stays with the audience even after the gig. A sitar sound is melodically and technically superior.” Piyush himself has been playing since a period of 15 years and practices at an average of five hours per day. He can also play the keyboard standing up on his head, a forte in itself.
Prepped with some good progressive and rock fusion material for a set, Mudra has some good shows lined up and will be starting regular shows from March onwards. On what to expect from Mudra’s first album, Vijay says, “Most of the tracks as of now were composed by the other three members. I have tried to fuse in my sitar parts and ideas into these tracks. I am more into psychedelic and want to incorporate into the current tracks, some complex and dark aspects. The compositional aspect is going to go through a drastic change in the forthcoming days and our first album will have pretty much everything we have composed so far crammed in. We are looking for the perfect blend of emotion, aggression and content in our tracks.”
On what they think will haul Mudra up in the music industry, Vijay feels that it is a combination of good quality music, uniqueness and consistency that matters in the long run. To ensure that their music reaches the right audience before it hits the commercial scene, Mudra would be concentrating on the right shows at the right time. “Everyone knows that what sounds good will always remain at the top. To take Mudra to a new league would therefore require a tremendous amount of effort and patience,” says Vijay.
Contrary to what we thought, Mudra is happy if its music is pirated, as more people would then listen. On why their music is not available online, they reveal that they would soon be getting into recording at a professional level. “No matter what record label is there, music is going to get pirated. No artist makes money by selling music. All the money is in live shows,” feels Piyush.
Mudra’s first performance was experienced by a jam-packed Hard Rock. As we wait eagerly for the arrival of their next show, all we can say is Great start Mudra!