Fusion rock band Advaita on the making of their second album, and the shifting contours of music
There is a term ‘sophomore slump’, which refers to the apathy of second year college students. It is also applied frequently to the decline in quality seen in the second instalment of a film, second season of a TV show, or the second album by a musician or band.
But Advaita’s second album The Silent Sea lives up to its promise of the first, Grounded in Space (2009), which gave us instantly hummable tracks such as “Durga” and “Ghir Ghir”. The band comprises eight members — two vocalists, a tabla player, a sarangi player, a keyboardist, a drummer, a bassist and a guitarist — and belongs to the genre of music called, for want of a better word, fusion.
Was the combination of two different styles, and the corresponding difference in the upbringing of musicians, ever an issue?
“Classical musicians come from a background where they are used to listening to a single piece being elaborated for an hour and a half, whereas their western counterparts can listen to 25 songs in the same duration. So the thinking is very different, but that’s what makes it interesting because you’re feeding off each other’s traits and energies,” explains Anindo, the keyboardist. “Now it’s come to a stage where all the influences cling on to each other and also cut through each other.”
Formed in 2004, Advaita started recording its first album only in 2007. The foray into the second album was also marked by a similar patience. “We decided to give it time. Sometimes even when you have the content, you are not sure what needs to go on the album. It is a difficult process; sometimes content takes time, sometimes the recording takes time. While our first album was harder to record, this time the recording was smoother. The post-production took longer,” says Chayan Adhikari, the lead vocalist. Having brought it out, the band is not rushing things. They expect to spend the next couple of months. “When you are an independent band, the reach isn’t like a commercial outfit.”“We were an independent act when we started out. We are still independent in the sense that we are not backed by a massive organisation. Abroad, a label manages the artiste and does everything on its behalf. But here the labels are just distribution sources. The overall growth of the band is completely in our hands,” Anindo clarifies.
Their music video from The Dewarists Season 2, in which they collaborate with Dualist Enquiry, crossed 2 lakh views on YouTube within two weeks of it airing. “For us that’s like a number we can’t really connect with. Our individual videos put together don’t have those many views.”