He’s a one-man metal band, whiz guitarist and music producer, all in one. He can play everything from ballads to hardcore riffs, and despite this abundance of talent, he’s one of the most down to earth artists you could ever come across. On Spotlight this August, Chennai/ Singapore based guitar guru- Sridhar.
HB: What got you into playing the guitar? Tell us how it all began.
Sridhar: It’s a pretty weird story. Grew up listening a ton of Nirvana and Zeppelin, but was learning classical music (mridangam) on the side. One day, I bought myself a Givson acoustic and everything changed for me. But I think it was Kurt Cobain that really got me to the guitar fad. It would be pretty interesting to see what Kurt thinks of my music now, haha.
HB: How has your move to Singapore impacted your music? What’s the scene like there?
Sridhar: There are some very talented musicians and producers here, but not too many people are doing thing seriously enough to consider music a full time passion. There are a few bands like Rudra etc. who do great, but the number of serious bands you can count on your hand. Gear’s fabulous here though :p And your country actually being listed on dropdown boxes on websites that ship stuff actually helps!
HB: You are a one man band. Have you not found members suitable to your taste, or do you prefer to make music by yourself?
Sridhar: I’d love the opportunity to bounce off other musicians which is why I am always looking to collaborate. It’s just been incredibly hard to find musicians here on the same mental wavelength, because otherwise it’s just recipe for chaos. Luckily I have found some incredible musicians online albeit in other locations, and stay tuned for collaborative material, mostly on Melakartha though.
HB: Do you think that your opportunities (in terms of bands and performances) would’ve been greater if you had stayed in India?
Sridhar: For sure. The way everything’s growing and catching up there, it’s incredible.
HB: You’re also handling a tutorial of sorts for audio production. What’s your aim in doing this?
Sridhar: It’s simple! When I started out recording on my own, I had literally nothing to start from. It’s easy for people to say google this and that, but really getting deep down to understanding the concept of good production is a task that takes a lifetime [Doesn’t mean you stop googling ;] ]. I have committed myself to helping people tread that path faster, and in an easier manner. I learn a LOT along the way too. Freq20.com has been doing great, with more and more productive conversations happening everyday. If you are a musician looking to get on the home recording bandwagon, do join, learn and contribute.
HB: About Melakartha- why a separate project for metal alone? Why did you not release it under the same self-titled banner (i.e. as Sridhar)?
Sridhar: I wanted another Identity. The music is just that.
HB: Both your previous albums are up for free download. Do you think you’re missing anything in terms of album sales?
Sridhar: Let’s get real – how many copies do artists really sell? The Indian buying scene isn’t as great. If you’re big on forums, facebook/twitter/gazillion more (yeah that’s a criteria now) and all those other sites, you will probably sell a few hundred more. That being said, releasing free is great – but I also believe that having a price on a record- which is a piece of art is very important for the artist. People don’t buy records, they buy emotions.
HB: You’ve just brought out ‘Afterward’. Tell us a little about this album- what’s the overall sound like, what are the songs’ themes etc.
Sridhar: [It’s not fully released yet]. I’m releasing a single at a time. Themewise, I don’t want to talk about it and I’d rather have you interpret it yourself. Sonically, It’s a lot like Transcend. Simple, melodic , groove infused music with the lead guitar as the focus. Very different from Melakartha, which is pretty much an alter ego to keep the balance going. As much as I love my metal, I also do enjoy other genres equally and have constant musical mood shifts. It’s funny, you know?
HB: Any plans of returning to India in the near future?
Sridhar: Not anytime soon.
HB: I’m sure there are a lot of people who’d love to watch you play live. Have you thought of touring and performing even when you come down for your holidays?
Sridhar: I’d love to. Just too lazy to plan it out myself. Right now, I’m focusing entirely on the music and nothing else
HB: What are Sridhar’s plans for the coming months?
Sridhar: Write write write, meet killer musicians to work with, record and produce more bands! Thank you for having me.