P.V Unnikrishnan talks about ‘underground release’ and his compositions
‘Shashi,’ a quirky Malayalam rap song released on Youtube, is generating quite a number of clicks. It’s a comic take on fickle puppy love and already it has been aired on a number of Malayalam music channels.
P.V Unnikrishnan, the man behind the work, has his reasons for releasing it on the web. “Currently, in the Malayalam music industry only singers get exposure. There is no platform for nascent composers like me to get my work noticed. Producers are not willing to take risks and that is why I decided to go in for ‘underground release’ ( directly releasing on to the internet). It’s cheap and has wider reach,” explains Unnikrishnan.
The album has Unnikrishnan and his friends doing an interestingly hilarious act a la hip hop singers and rappers. ‘U.K.’ as he is known, has been training in Carnatic music for the past 13 years under teachers such as Omanakutty and Paravathipuram Padmanabha Iyer.
“At first I wanted to be a vocalist, but slowly music direction became a passion,” says U.K. as he breaks out into a raga.
And this passion led in the direction of composing. After much struggle, he released his first album ‘Campus Days’ when he was a first year student of English literature at Mar Ivanios College which dealt with campus life in the eighties. “I had to beg money from my friends to get produce the album,” reveals U.K. Following this, he composed ‘Kerala Vandanam,’ which he performed at the closing ceremony of the Kerala University Youth festival in 2007, to much applause. Recently, he composed music for 15 works of three generations of Malayalam poets such as Kumaran Asan, Vayalar, and G.SankaraKurup. It was for Victers, an education channel.
A number of U.K.’s compositions have appeared as title songs for various programmes on TV channels. One has been used as the title music for Jaihind TV’s afternoon show ‘Neelambari’. Another, a one-minute compilation for ‘Star Utsav’ on Asianet Plus, sung by seven singers including familiar names such as Nithin Raj and Vijay Madhav (of Idea Star singer fame), has an eclectic mix of rap, reggae, aalap and swaram. “Composing title music is a challenge. It’s music in a capsule form. A programme’s success depends on it, so one has to carefully study the content and accordingly score the music,” says the budding composer. .
In the works is an album on club music made in collaboration with Nithin. “With club music, it’s the tune and the tempo that matter rather than the lyrics: an instant gratification of sorts. This is the best way to test my limits,” explains the ambitious youngster. Apart from promoting ‘Shashi’ as part of the album ‘Ocean of Dreams,’ U.K. is also currently putting together a band and researching on tribal instruments in contemporary music.R. REGHURAM