An interview with “Advaita” an emerging eclectic fusion band from India
The time-honoured grounds of Purana Qila recently witnessed the great musical extravaganza South Asian Band Festival, 2011, presented by the ICCR in collaboration with the Ministry of External Affairs and Seher, which was founded in 1990 by Sanjeev Bhargava, SEHER literally means ‘breaking of the dawn’. Since its inception, Seher has been synonymous with thoughtful and imaginative initiatives in the sphere of painting, sculpture, theatre, dance, music, literature and cinema.. The concert presented a stage where bands from various countries would perform in harmony and union and connect with their own musical influences and creations.
Vaibhav Agarwal caught up with chayan, Advaita’s ,western vocalist for a chitchat. A lil chit chat that followed.
Why the name “Advaita”?
Well advaita signifies non-duality, uniqueness and focus. So, way back in 2004 almost 7 years ago, Aditya our ex guitarist and other members who were in the band decided on the name “ Advaita”, they wanted a name which connects to spirituality and Indian roots, and being unique at the same time, so advaita was unarguably the best name. We have 8 individuals from different back grounds and we are producing one sound, keeping music and our songs above individuals, so that is our ideology and philosophy and nothing justify it better than the word advaita.
About band’s lineup?
It’s 8 people, with 8 different music taste and musical background. I grew up listening to 90’s music like carpenters and all, there is ujjawal who is from a gharaana and is into Indian classical music, then there are Anindo and abhishek who grew up on pink Floyd and glam rock bands of 80’s and 90’s, some of them are into heavy electronic and all, so it’s a fusion of music.
Abhishek Mathur – Guitars/electronics
Anindo Bose – Keyboards/electronics
Aman Kumar – Drums/percussion
Chayan Adhikaro –Western vocals
Suhail Yusuf Khan – Sarangi/Hindustani vocals
Ujjwal Nagar – Hindustani vocals
Mohit Lal – Tabla/percussion
As you said, all 8 of you are from different musical background, so how was it having so much diversity in the band, Did it helped?
Ya, of course, in fact there was so much to learn from each other, and i think this diversity has made us .unique as a band and also the variedness amongst the group has created a much stronger bond between the members and so we were able to deliver a fusion of different music to our audience.
How was the experience of sharing the stage with the band s from different countries performing in different languages?
This is the second time we are performing here at “Seher”, first time was at the very first edition, which was held in C.P, Central park, firstly it’s a very interesting concept to be playing with the multilingual bands from different neighbouring countries, It’s a concert where language really doesn’t matter ,it’s all about music and one gets to meet so many musicians from different countries, It’s fantastic to hear music we haven’t heard before, we have stereotypes of how people and countries are and how their kind of music will be but when we hear them here it’s great to know more about them and their music.
So any biggies from the industry you are collaborating with and plans about international collaborations.
Both our album’s were recorded with Yashraj studio’s Bombay, so it’s a big name we are already associated with and the collaborations we really kind of enjoyed were with” MTV coke studio and MTV unplugged” , we got to met many producers and artists there, so it was great.
For international music and collaborations there are no plans as such, but we would love to associate if some offer comes up.
What you and the band has been listening lately, any particular artist or track?
Latest one i think everybody has been listening to was “Imogen heap” as she was in India. We saw her live at the concert in New Delhi, and everybody’s was kind of tripping on that, so certainly it’s Imogen heap band has been listening to.
Your upcoming projects and when we are going to see you next?
We don’t have any conformed gigs as if now but we are planning the launch of our second album in January, which is untitled yet, so most probably in January or may be if there is a gig before that.
Do see advaita’s performance in MTV Coke Studio.