Today, we are speaking with World Void Web. Can you give us a little background information about yourself? How did you get into music?
Well, I’d like to think of it as music getting into me instead of me getting into music. I have been listening to music since a very young age, much like most of the readers here. I am from Bangalore, India and as a kid I was exposed to sounds from the west and the east, something that Indians are blessed with.After schooling, I finished my graduation and started working in a software company here. I still do. During my school days, as would be the case with many in my generation, I was a die-hard Michael Jackson fan and that’s how my liking for music developed. I would absorb the sounds of each instrument played in his songs. From the beginning, I have blessed with what I consider as a special gift – I can filter out the voice from a song and can discern the specific sounds of each instrument as the song plays. Probably, this is the reason why I have always been inclined towards instrumental music. My dad had gifted me a guitar at an early age but I didn’t take to it till I was 18. During my graduation days, I joined the college band as a lead guitarist and we would perform classic rock and metal numbers, apart from the crowd favourite indian songs. That was a huge education for me, in music. I have not undergone formal training inmusic and everything I know about music is what the music itself has taught me. So yeah, all of these life experiences have landed me to where I am today. Into instrumental music and about to launch my debut production, “Think Void”.
Is your upcoming release Think Void your first foray into recorded music?
Yes and No. No, as I have been composing and arranging background scores for short films here in Bangalore, for the last 3 years. I have a home studio, called Blank Point Studios, where I compose and arrange music. Yes, because, for the first time, I have left no stone unturned in ensuring the production quality of the compositions and arrangements. The music is mixed by my mix engineer, Tharun Kumar, in Bangalore while the mastering was done by Alex Psaroudakis at the legendary Sterling Studios, New York. This is my first foray into putting up a commercial album globally. I have enjoyed this transformational journey and I absolutely look forward to the future, with “Think Void”.
What was the preparation and the recording process for the album like?
Since I work for a software company, as a first step, I took a sabbatical from work, for 4 months, to completely focus on the album. In the first month, I read up quite a lot of material that I had ear-marked for reading. One fine day, a thought flashed in my mind – Keeping the 5 fundamental elements of nature, namely Earth, Wind, Fire, Water and Ether in perspective, we associate our visual senses with Earth, Fire and Water and our sense of touch with Wind. But what about Ether? My In-depth reading thereafter, got me hooked to this element primarily because this was the “Void” and it could be sensed only through “hearing” – Music to my ears and mind, quite literally. Being an avid reader and an observer, I have a habit of going really deep into a subject matter. And with Ether, I did just that, and this culminated in “Think Void”.
For instrumental music, you need to come up with song titles that would set the mood of the ensuing tunes. I first chalked out the titles, carefully noting the points I wanted to cover and ensuring none of them are missed. In the month of May, I started recording samples and had set just one rule – one arrangement per week. I surrendered myself to whatever creative flow was coming through, most of the time, be it structure, or twists, or the choice of musical instruments. Interestingly, no song repeats the esoteric, ethnic instruments heard through the album. The track-listing of the album was exactly the sequence I followed for the arrangements and mixing. By mid-July, I had completed all arrangements and mixing was complete in another 2 weeks. I was also blessed with some legendary collaborations, in the album. Dr Prakash Sontakke, a legendary Indian Classical Hawaiian guitar player, collaborated on a song, where I wanted an ethereal flow of sound, without breaks. Legendary Carnatic Rock guitarist, Baiju Dharmajan, also collaborated on a song that’s western-carnatic style of fusion. The Music Saw sensation Adriano Fernandez (Of Spain’s Got Talent) was kind enough to collaborate on one of the songs! Last but definitely not the least, the most sought-after bassist in India, legendary Keith Peters graced my studio to record for 2 songs, incidentally, the first and the last tracks in the album! One cannot feel more blessed than this!
What does my recording setup look like? Whenever I am blessed with a tune that I hear in my head, I record it on either my Zoom H2 recorder or on my phone recorder. I use an AKAI MPK-61 as my main controller, with Focusrite 2i4 sound card and Mackie MK2 studio monitors. I use Logic on iMac as my main DAW. I also have a NI Maschine mk2 but I have not used it on this album. To test the final listening output, I use speakers from Bose and PolkAudio, testing both tone and bass. This, pretty much, is my setup. I love to play the guitar and the keyboard, with most of the tunes naturally flowing on my guitar. I use an ESP LTD WA-200.
Think Void is oriented into three distinct metaphors. What do they mean, and how did you come up with the typology?
I read a lot of non-fiction. I am fascinated by History, Ancient Indian history, politics, sociology, psychology and autobiographies. Each inspires me, moves me, helps understand me and helps me understand the universe. My own experiences in life have added multiple dimensions to me. I believe that each of us, consciously or subconsciously, has 3 states of mind at any given point in time. These 3 states are what I call myself – World Void Web. Each of us is embroiled in our own web of sorts (whatever that may be) as we continue to lead our lives in this world, and some times each of us delve into the seemingly unknown, unknown not because it can not be seen but simply because we do not pay attention. When I was planning to write down the song titles, these 3 states being part of the album, came to me as a brainwave. For me, the current problems of the world are as important and crucial (Web) as the smallest things we do on a daily basis, be it taking care of the aged, or simply bringing a smile on someone (World), or the vastness of the sky above us, so much accommodated, so much remaining (Void). With this brainwave, I set out one night to think through the titles and late into the night, they manifested into the titles you see today! 12 of them! 4 in each metaphor! The album starts with Web, moves to World and ends with Void.
You mentioned that 5 fundamental elements influence human perception. Can you go into greater detail?
I am no authority on this subject but based on my limited reading I will talk about them. According to Ancient Indian history, the universe was nothing in the beginning. Nothing existed. The first element that came about was Ether, the subtlest of all the elements, all-pervading. A bit heavier, Air came next – the reason for life or movement. Fire, Water and Earth (not to be mistaken for the planet, but more like a surface or land) followed next. As per our ancient history, each of these 5 elements are the fundamentals of any form – living or non-living across the universe. Various permutations and combinations of these elements have resulted in nature and all creation as we experience it today. Each of these elements can be mapped to our senses, namely sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste. For example, Water can be seen, heard, felt and tasted (but not smelt) while Air can be felt and heard. So, we enjoy the beauty that surrounds us because we are built that way. The important thing to note here is what came in the beginning, Ether, also called space or void, can be only heard, and is essential for other elements to exist. It’s Ether that influences our auditory perceptions namely music, conversations, day to day sounds etc. It basically prepares foundation or space for all else to exist – Infinite and at the same time Infinitesimal. Imagine, the same element is present in subatomic particles and in the cosmos. Such all-pervading nature makes you think how small we are, yet such important aspects of the cosmos. Everything is important. The Smallest of the Small.
Which artists are the greatest influences for you and your music? Is there a dream lineup of performers that you would like to perform with if given the chance?
I have been influenced by many of the Greats – Ray Conniff, The Ventures, The Beatles, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Metallica, Guns N Roses in the western scene and Lalgudi Jayaraman, Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan, Zakir Hussain, Pt Ravi Shankar, Chitti Babu, U Srinivas, A R Rahman, Shankar-Jaikishan in India. There are many more of whom I would have heard a few songs but I know I have heard them and there is space made for them in my mind. I am subconsciously inspired by one and all. The artists who have had the most influence on me in terms of melodies and arrangement-styles have been Michael Jackson, Metallica, Pink Floyd and Yanni, in that order in my life. In fact, I would love to meet up with Yanni or have him hear this album! One of my friends just mentioned it on my Facebook page that the album title “Think Void” rhymes with “Pink Floyd”! I have never thought of a dream lineup. All I know is that I had a dream of making melody-centric music that cuts across regions, religions, languages, age, gender and I have had a dream run in the last few months, turning that dream into an auditory reality!
How is Bangalore’s local music scene. Have you been supported by the city?
Bangalore is full of life! I have always loved its people, their energies and we in Bangalore, of late, are getting noticed by bands from all over the world! The music scene is absolutely rich, diverse and happening! I have had a phenomenal support from the people of Bangalore, my friends and family here! Stores here have been kind enough to house my CDs, not knowing who I am or what I am here for! That speaks volumes about the generosity of the people and the space for passion and self-expression here, in Bangalore. I feel blessed to have been born on this planet, in this very city and living at this awesome juncture, where things are shaping up phenomenally well for our country!
You have a website available at http://www.worldvoidweb.com/ . How is the promotion and experience on the website different from the traditional face to face meets and promotion of your message?
Good question! I belong to a generation which saw each other face-to-face prior to seeing each other on Facebook. In fact, Blank Point Studios is as old as Facebook! I love the experience via both media, each different yet special, in their own way! It’s impossible in our lifetime to meet each of our friends or well-wishers, spread across the planet! The promotional activities online gives us all that surreal opportunity to touch a soul tens of thousands of miles away! For me, that’s nothing short of absolute bliss! The power to touch someone through your music, without having to meet face-to-face is phenomenal! At the same time, I love meeting people face-to-face and socialise with them to understand their perspectives. And when they express interest and curiosity in the album, I feel totally blessed. The reaction and the appreciation they come out with, is both fulfilling and humbling! Both forms of media are wonderful, and they definitely enhance your life beyond what was possible a decade ago!
What are your plans for 2016 and beyond? How can interested NeuFutur readers locate samples of your music?
I have always taken life as it comes. I was clueless about the structure of the album until 4 months ago and here I am talking to you about the concept, while promoting the album for its release in a week’s time! I am enjoying the journey of life, Music is a powerful language that transcends barriers and has the power to uplift humanity to higher realms. I hope to touch myriad hearts via my music. I am hoping the album is well-received the world over. I will continue to make music and probably look at performing live in the coming years. One thing I know is that the next album will be out in 2019 and will be called “Voider Perspective”. Dear readers, you could locate samples of music from the upcoming album on my website (http://www.worldvoidweb.com) as well as my Youtube channel, http://www.youtube.com/worldvoidweb. The Album will be available as digital download on iTunes, Rhapsody, Amazon MP3. The links will be updated on my website as well as my Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/worldvoidweb. So, be sure to check-in on or after 9th Sep, 2016.
Thank you so much for your time. Finally, do you have any additional thoughts about life and the universe for our readers?
All of what we are or do, starts with a thought in our mind. If you completely focus on that thought, night and day, that thought can indeed become a reality. If you think you are alone and you do not matter, think again! As Dalai Lama said “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito!” More than half of what you do every day, be it eat or work or party, has been made possible by others – farmers, engineers, architects, artists, masons, to name a few! You are definitely not alone, and you can not survive being alone. If we consider ourselves to be spiritual beings leading a human life, all our thoughts and actions mirroring that thought, life as we know it, will begin to change. Help the thought enter your life and enjoy the magic that ensues!