In conversation with Rajarshi Sanyal, guitarist of Fardikot

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Faridkot, one of India’s most versatile rock bands, have been in the music scene since 2009. Inspite of being affected by frequent line – up changes, the ‘hindi rock’ giants have managed to release their second album ‘Phir Se’ in June this year. We had the opportunity of speaking to Rajarshi Sanyal, the guitarist of Faridkot. This is what he had to say:

Your first appearance as we know it , was on V Launchpad in 2007(it was 2009). And now in 2014 you have managed to release your second Album. How do you think your music has evolved?

It’s really hard to judge your own music as a listener as you’ve been too closely involved with it. Maybe in 10 years we’ll be in a better place to be more articulate about its evolution. For now, we’d like to believe that it has evolved in the same way that we have evolved as human beings. All the changes and experiences we’ve gone through over the last 5 years inevitably ends up affecting and creeping into the music we make.


How is the first album different from the second album?

For starters, the first album was written in a different way. Some songs were written by IP and Anindo Bose (from Advaita) since they had been working on music before IP and I met. Since Anindo was busy with other projects, he couldn’t join the band and we ended up adding a ‘Faridkot’ flavour to the songs and spiced them up. The other songs were written by IP and I through guitar riffs and him singing along and both of us exploring various ideas to complete the song by introducing the other elements. To be honest, we barely had any idea about how to do it and were kind of just using hit and trial! Lyrically, IP was talking about the romantic idea of love mostly and a lot of the songs were about heart-break.
On the other hand, the second album was written by structuring the songs on the bass and drums by me and Sahil respectively. This was followed by me laying down the guitars and then finally the vocals/lyrics came in. So it was kind of a reverse approach to the earlier album’s songwriting method. Also, lyrically, IP talks more about cosmic love and other introspections and reflections involving the bigger picture.


Musicians in India, are known to play in different bands at the same time. Your bass guitarist, Nikhil Rufus Raj has been associated with many bands. Recently he left Skyharbor. Is it hard to dedicate oneself to one project and if not how do you manage to actively contribute to so many projects at the same time?

Quoting Nikhil on this, “Bands I play with are also my friends and since I’m playing with friends, there’s an understanding I share with them. After that, with careful planning and systematic scheduling I’m able to give my time to all projects without hindering any of them.”


How has Delhi University influenced your music?

We’ve played at a lot of colleges there and the University represents a big chunk of the younger generation. Playing there is a whole lot of fun since the audience is always so receptive and feeds us with so much energy that it’s a delight to be on stage.


Your latest single ‘Bijli’ consists of minute pieces of ‘Rap’. Is it something that was introduced to grab the attention of the crowd, given the latest fuss and demand of Punjabi Rap music?

Well, not really. Not that we have anything against the latest fuss and demand for Punjabi rap music.  We actually love Hip-hop music and there’s something really powerful about spoken word. It’s a different style of expressing and since we’re always looking for new ways to expand our musical horizons, it was inevitable that we explore this direction too. In fact, some of the new tracks we’re working on right now are highly inspired by hip-hop music.


What in your view is lacking in new bands? Is it important to make long term plans for a band that is just starting out?

I think when you start out, it’s important to just explore various kinds of music that you find interesting. When a group of musicians come together, they’re always bringing something unique to the table. The important thing is to find what is unique about their combined efforts and ideas. It might be something that none of them can predict so instead of assuming direction, it’s important to find it.

We’re all so busy thinking about the future all the time that few of us realize how beautiful the present is and how much you can enjoy it by just living in it 100%. If we try to envision a future while living in the present, then we’re just distracting ourselves. The same goes for bands making music. It’s important to work hard and put your all in the “now”. The future is always going to be unpredictable so why bother.


Your music tends to be groovy. What are your major influences as a band?

We love all good music. Especially rhythmic music. We feel its the foundation of life. Think about heart beats or the flapping of a bird’s wings.  Rhythms and beats. Melody comes right after that and we love that too. Our inspiration is the world around us. Just try to grasp the emotions you go through when you look into the depths of a mountain or feel the splash of waves on a beach. Existence can be just so fascinating, isn’t it so?


Any band in particular which you feel is doing pretty well in the latest music circuit and deserves a record deal?

There are a lot of artists working really hard here. The independent music scene is constantly growing at a really fast rate. Naming a few would mean that the others don’t deserve it, which is not true. So we’d rather not be specific.


Do you think social media has a huge role to play in the modern music scene and How?

Yes, it does. It’s the only platform where people across the world come together as a community. It’s the best way to reach out to audiences who would’ve otherwise never heard of you. As any musician, all you really need is someone to listen to you and maybe tell you how they feel when they do. Even if the latter doesn’t work out, the chances of the former happening has increased exponentially thanks to social media.


How did the deal with Universal Music Group come about?

We were looking for someone to help us distribute the album and they were looking for artistes. We got together and they wanted to take it further and do a 360 degree deal with us. Also, they were pretty open to ideas and thoughts that we had, which is a great thing. Not many mainstream labels are like that and we’re very happy to be working with them.

Ishaan Sengupta believes meeting people and understanding their differences gives him kick and a good trip. Hailing from the city of joy, he carries along with him the bong culture of "living and breathing" music, food and art. The socially awkward correspondent in team, he's currently pursuing a Bachelor with Honors in Economics from Motilal Nehru College. His favorite cartoon shows are Teletubbies and Dragon Ball Z. Do drop him a mail at [email protected] in case you want to give him some free advice or want to meet him personally.

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