World Void Web’s Alpha Interview

You have just released a new single, Alpha. It’s in Kannada; why did you choose this over other languages?

At the outset, it’s great to be talking to you again and thank you for showing interest in the film “Alpha” and the associated single “Kolegara” (The Killer). Kannada is a classical Indian language spoken widely in the southern state of Karnataka, the state I belong to. Many of your readers would be aware of the multi-lingual, multi-cultural ethos prevalent in India since times immemorial. This language stands as testimony to such rich and seemingly infinite legacy. The film “Alpha”, which is about the alpha state of sleep and certain experiences in that state that shape up the protagonist’s life, is scripted in Kannada, naturally alluding to the language for the song. So, as they say, a film chooses its crew, it also chooses the language I guess.

How does Alpha add to the body of music that World Void Web has created in the past?

I started by creating background scores for short films across many Indian languages, occasionally dabbling with vocal-based theme songs as a part of those films or as independent singles. With experimentation at the core of whatever I do in music, I have created themes featuring vocals by children aged 3. I consider the song “Kolegara” to be a continuum in that experiment, substantially adding to my body of music, with its arrangement depth and production quality. As a perennial student of music, this composition, and the subsequent changes and tweaks as a result of director’s feedback, has been a great learning for me in terms of capturing the pulse and the vision a director has for his film’s music. I am indebted to the director, Vinay Papu, and the executive producer, Arun Ramkumar for this wonderful opportunity and for their belief in my music.

Alpha Download

What major differences do you see between the songs on Think Void and your latest single?

As I mentioned earlier, I guess it was the fact that “Think Void” is about World Void Web’s vision while the single is the director’s vision. Another difference, I’d say, is in the process. I began working on “Think Void” by coming up with the song-titles since it was a wholly instrumental album. With “Kolegara”, I was provided with some fantastic lyrics and the director’s vision, to come up with the composition and arrangements, within a stipulated timeframe. It might be an interesting piece of trivia for you and your esteemed readers that this song was composed and recorded in 2015-16, prior to starting work on the album “Think Void”. A prequel of sorts, to the album, if I may.

Since we last talked, you’ve gotten a bit of good news about your album distribution. Can you go into some of the accolades you’ve received since the last time we’ve talked?

In early 2017, I happened to get a mail from Sony DADC, the packaging division of Sony, who had originally packaged my album “Think Void”. The opportunity of nationwide CD distribution along with digital promotion and marketing seemed awesome. Subsequently, I met up with the folk at Sony DADC in Mumbai to discuss on the finer details before signing the deal. For an independent musician in an emerging market like India, I feel it’s a blessing to have such an opportunity early in my career. “Think Void” was re-released on 24th Nov, 2017 worldwide on digital channels and is available in CD stores across India. It includes previously unreleased, bonus material and a repackaged 2-CD set with detailed liner notes. Sony DADC released the first music video titled “Memories in Raindrops” from the album, in December. It’s the fifth song on the album, and for those familiar with the structure of the album, it’s the first song from the metaphor “World”. This music video was directed by Avinash Balekkala and produced by Prakyath Narayan. Another video was released by Wilderness Films India, the world’s largest production house and tourism content archive of factual HD videos from South Asia, for the seventh song from the album, “One, The World Over feat. Baiju Dharmajan”.

Some more music videos will make their way this year, aimed at being rich, visual journeys for the viewers. I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to interact and collaborate with some wonderful human beings across the planet, including Mr. John Stuart-Reid, Scientist and Engineer in the field of Cymatics, with his amazing instrument, Cymascope, which makes music visible. He has been at the forefront of research in Cymatics since the late 1990s. I am also excited about a collaboration with a noted sand artist from India, Kanthrisa, who uses sand and light as a medium for story-telling. A great human being, humble to the core, full of thoughts and ideas and an extremely inspiring personality.

The album was nominated in Radio City Freedom Awards 2017, an initiative of the leading FM Radio Station in India. Though it didn’t win, it was an amazing opportunity to network with folk in the industry and meet some of my old friends in Mumbai.

Can you give us a bit more information about the film Alpha?

“Alpha” has been envisioned and produced by a group of Bangalore-based software engineers, out of sheer love and passion for film-making. A compelling storyline pushed the producers to garner an unprecedented support from the mainstream Kannada Film Industry, either in the form of cameo roles or in the form of promotional sound-bites from some of the leading actors and film-makers in the industry. This propelled the cast and crew of the film to give their better-than-the-best performances, be it in the technical aspects or in story-telling. The film stars debutant Rakesh Raaj along with noted actor Srinagar Kitty in lead roles. Directed by Vinay Papu and produced by Narasimha Murthy (EP4 Productions), the film was released online on YouTube by Sakkath Studio, a famed studio in Bangalore under the aegis of a leading Radio Jockey, Pradeepa. The Background Music has been composed by a renowned music director in Kannada, Charan Raj. With subtitles in English, I hope the esteemed readers get a glimpse of the next generation India and enjoy the film. The film can be watched here

Vijay Prakash adds his vocals to the song. Why was he such a big “get” for this single?

Vijay Prakash is a legendary name in the Indian Film Industry. He has sung songs for films in multiple languages and won numerous awards from various film fraternity groups across India. He is most acclaimed for he is also one of four artists credited for the song “Jai Ho”, which won the 2008 Academy Award for Best Original Song and Grammy Award in the category “Best Song Written for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media”.

There is an interesting story associated with “Kolegara”. Once the composition and arrangement was completed, one of my friends and a very good singer, Pavan Kumar, lent his voice to the demo track. I had a racing thought, an intuition, to have the song sung by Vijay Prakash. I reached out to the director and asked him if we could give it a try. It’s extremely hard to reach out to legends in the Indian Film Industry, let alone have them entertain your request. In short, I had set them up on a daunting task. A considerable wait ensued. During this time, many voices were auditioned but I was fixated on Mr. Prakash’s voice. Eventually, after months, we did connect with the singer and requested him to sing “Kolegara”. An absolute gentleman, draped in humility and a very down-to-earth human being, it was an honour to have him lend support to the film, by his legendary, mellifluous voice!

How has your recording/production changed from your prior LP to now?

As I said earlier, the single was created prior to the album. In fact, it is my last song using Ableton DAW on Windows OS. I have shifted to Logic Pro and ProTools on Mac for arrangements and mixing, respectively. So, yes, there was a transition period wherein a lot of raw tracks were on my Windows PC and had to be ported to Ableton for Mac during the course of “Kolegara”. Thankfully, it didn’t add significantly to the delivery timelines. Needless to say, “Kolegara” marks a transition from Windows to Mac and from Ableton to Logic Pro, in my musical journey! While I had a comfort level with Ableton and Windows after having worked on it for 2-3 years, I found Logic Pro to be more intuitive and replete with features that I could leverage during the production of the album. For example, I had a malfunctioning pitch-wheel on my Akai MPK61 Midi Controller, with inconsistent pitch data sent across to the computer. Even after applying oil and cleaning all circuits, there was little luck. Logic Pro came to the rescue with an option to disable the send signal of the pitch wheel, thereby creating clean, unwavering notes. Ableton, to the best of my knowledge, does not provide such a feature. A new addition to my equipment since the days of “Alpha” and “Think Void” is the Theremin, an instrument I have started learning now. It’s such a beauty!

How has the popular response been for this single?

The single was released on 1st Feb, 2018 and has received a wonderful response from the viewers. It’s got over 2000 views since. It’s heartening to receive words of support and encouragement from people. Infinite thanks! _/\_

Which sort of social media website have you had the best successes with lately?

It’s wonderful you asked this question! I have stuck to Facebook as my primary social channel, having built an audience over time. I have also enjoyed contributing to Quora with answers in the field of Instrumental Music (Western and Indian) and World History. With a targeted list of followers who request for answers to particular questions, it’s amazing to engage with the audience and share our lives with a diverse audience across the world. I have made some great connects on Quora including artists, musicians with special abilities, historians and the like.

Recently, I have started writing on Medium and have 2 articles there, one of which explains the repackaged cover-art of my album “Think Void” in great detail. You could read it here. People and agencies have connected with me, over Medium. I am enjoying such interactions, the ability to connect with people across the world, with technology making the impossible, possible. It’s the best time to be alive – for, sure!

Finally, do you have any concluding thoughts for our readers at NeuFutur?

Inward Is The Best Way Forward. I firmly believe that when each of us reflect on our innermost emotions and give that inner voice a complete listen, every time, magic is bound to happen. Be Better. Every Single Moment in Your Life.

Thank you as always for your time, Ajit

Author: James McQuiston

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

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