Ajay Mathur Interview

What brought you into creating music?

I grew up in a family of artists and musicians. I was always surrounded by music and art. I remember picking up a dusty, pink, acoustic guitar in my uncle’s attic and someone teaching me “Sloop John B”. I think that’s what got me started. It was a great era and I listened to bands like The Beatles, The Doors, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, and Buffalo Springfield. That pretty much clinched it. I’ve never looked back.

Have you encountered any difficulties establishing yourself as an artist?

I think the music industry has always been competitive and good songs have always managed to attract listeners through proper exposure. The challenge for an independent songwriter/artist today is getting exposure. Because there are so many more opportunities and channels for exposing music, singer/songwriters today have the freedom to make music and market it their own way. This is mostly positive. The downside of that is that there is a lot of stuff out there, not all of it is good.  The other downside is that unless you have management and A&R working for you, doing all that’s required to promote your music and still be able to find the time to create new music does become a huge challenge.

Another challenge for independent artists is the mindset of some of the mainstream media. They are have the notion that if an artist is not represented by a big record company, the artist is not worth looking at. This blocks the independent artist from these mainstream channels and prevents a huge potential audience from information about excellent music by independent singer/songwriters.

My experience so far with the exposure of my album “A Matter of Time” has been very good. Once people hear my music, they normally love it. Thanks to Internet radio, I get a lot of e-mails from my listeners. It’s very motivating to hear how my music has made a positive impact on their lives. To me, this personal interaction with individual listeners is priceless.

Why should individuals pick up your music?

People can expect something unique on “A Matter of Time”. Each song is entirely different from the every other song and will take you on a different journey through my musical universe. “A Matter of Time” also features several award winning singles: Easy, Rise and Shine and Communicate to name a few. These songs have earned nominations in several songwriting contests.

I think that my music will add something positive to my listeners’ lives and that sometime in the future they will hear one of my songs and say, ‘Wow, remember when we listened to that?’  Music always calls up memories and helps people to see where they’ve come from.

How did you get into performing and recording your tracks?

I’ve been performing since my days of growing up inIndia, where I performed at some of the hottest clubs inDelhiand Mumbai with my band. I still remember the first song I wrote. It was a rock song. I was 15, singing and playing bass in our first band. The guitarist was 19 and the undisputed leader of the band. Every new song had to pass his ‘test’ – mine did.

After moving to Switzerland, I continued writing and celebrated success with my rock group, Mainstreet. Along with sold out tours across Europe, Mainstreet had an impressive four singles and two albums make it to the top 20 on the Swiss radio charts, the songs enjoyed airplay on various European radio stations and month-long club power play in Tokyo’s Hard Rock Cafe.

Who would be “big gets” in terms of musical collaborations?

John Mayer, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Sting and Don Henley.  These are musicians and songwriters that I greatly admire and respect. These are artists with a unique style, substance and grit. Collaborating and playing live, as opening act for any or all of these musicians would be my nirvana as a performing artist.

What has been on your MP3 player as of late?

Among many others great songs, lately I’ve been enjoying songs from John Mayer’s new album. I love “Shadow Days” and “Walt Grace’s Submarine Test, January 1967”. Bob Dylan’s “Roll on John” from his Tempest album and the edgy Foo Fighters song “Walk”. I’ve got Tom Petty’s “Free Falling”, “Into the Great Wide Open”, “American Girl”, Jonathan Wilson’s psychedelic “Gentle Spirit”, John Butler Trio’s cynical “Good Excuse“ and Richard Koechli’s haunting blues “Howling with the Bad Boys”.

What is “Taking the Night Away” about, and what was involved in the creation process behind the track?

I was blown away by the peoples’ movements. First, the Arab Spring, at the end of 2010, which completely changed the political landscape in some countries in theMiddle East. Then the grassroots “occupy” movement in theUnited Statesin September 2011. This time something was radically different than a lot of other protest movements in the past. This time there were people of all age groups, professions and ethnic backgrounds involved in these protests and it became global very quickly. This movement has spread to almost every developed country in the world and has taken over a peaceful, yet determined dynamic of non-obedience. These are working-class people, families, old and young people, people who have decided not to sit back and accept what they see as injustice, but to take action, take to the streets, no matter what the sacrifice.

I got inspired by the positive spirit of the struggle and lingering hope that the average person can change what has been forced upon them by the misled power and greed of an elite few. People are no longer willing to sacrifice their own well-being and the well-being of their loved ones for the benefit of the privileged few. “Taking the Night Away” is a song about hope. As long as there is hope, there is a chance for positive change. “Taking the Night Away” evolved and matured with these movements.

Do you have any upcoming tour dates or radio appearances you’d like to discuss?

There are concerts planned inEuropefor late Fall and Winter, that I’m really looking forward to.  This winter, I’ll be also doing some live streaming concerts through the Internet. So, instead of my fans travelling to distant venues, I’ll bring the concert to their homes and perform for them. My fans can enjoy my concerts from anywhere and even interact with me via live chat during the concert.  I’m very excited about this possibility. Stay in touch with me for more.

How would NeuFutur readers find more information about yourself and your music?

NeuFutur readers can find more information about me and my music

on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AjayMathurMusic/
on Reverbnation http://www.reverbnation.com/actofchoice
on Number One Music: http://www.numberonemusic.com/ajaymathur/

NeuFutur readers can follow me
on Twitter https://twitter.com/actofchoice
on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/user/ajayactofchoice
on Pinterest http://pinterest.com/ajaymathur/

NeuFutur readers can find my album “A Matter of Time” on almost every online store including
CD Baby: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/ajaymathur

iTunes: http://tinyurl.com/3avlaxg

Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/66b76pz

Tunecore: http://www.tunecore.com/music/ajaymathur

CD Universe http://www.cduniverse.com/productinfo.asp?pid=8615880

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AjayMathurMusic/app_2405167945

Reverbnation http://www.reverbnation.com/store/index/artist_1233713

MOG http://mog.com/albums/mn55805341/ajay-mathur/a-matter-of-time

eMusic http://www.emusic.com/listen/#/album/-/-/12681703/

 

Do you have anything else to say?

I know from my own experience that music plays a huge role when it comes to opening up new perspectives in the minds of listeners. Music may not change the world or a system, but it does help to make us dream, give us hope, make us feel strong and even loved. Music can evoke powerful emotions in people. Although some musicians avoid society’s issues, I’m not shy about writing and singing about what’s going on around me and how it influences me. I’m a part of the society we live in and everything that happens in this society affects me and my creativity, directly or indirectly. My music, especially the lyrics, reflects that.

I’ve always loved the poets and songwriters who addressed social subjects and have admired their grit. These are songwriters like Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Sting, Don Henley and Jackson Browne to name a few of the best. Taking the Night Away is my way of addressing the struggle that people are going through in our society.

As an artist I can only raise awareness by not staying silent or being fearful or complacent about these things. It’s important to have an opinion, to speak out, sing, publicize and discuss these issues over and over again. Action is required.

 

Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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