Music

Chennai musician Mr Kev locks himself in a room until he completes ‘Quarantino’ album

City musician Mr Kev has locked himself in a room until he finishes his album. On Day 8, we check how ‘Quarantino’ is progressing

Five days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that India would go under a three-week lockdown to curb the spread of Coronavirus, a musician in Chennai imposed one on himself. Kevin Paul aka Mr Kev stepped inside his one-room apartment and decided: “I am not coming out of this room until I finish my album.”

For the seventh day today, Mr Kev is cooped up in a box, determined to get out only when he finishes seven songs for his new album, unofficially titled Quarantino. And the entire process is being video streamed live on Instagram (@kevsleepin) every day.

In a psychology experiment of sorts, we get to see him in the windowless air-conditioned room for eight to 10 hours a day. He is surrounded by artwork that ranges from the basic AC/DC, The Who and Sarah Jane posters, to the personal: pieces made by his former students (he was a teacher before he quit his job two years ago, to be a musician). Some are downright bizarre: “I put up a collage of wrappers that you get with burgers, and tags that come with clothes and bags.”

We see him working on his music most of the time, but also measuring cups of rice to put on the electric cooker, talking on the phone, munching on snacks and sometimes Blair-Witch-Project close to the camera, to read the comments on his Live. “How’s it coming, Kev?” ask most of them.

“Four of the seven songs are almost ready, one definitely is. I’ll send it to you,” Kev sounds groggy over the phone, when I ask him the same question. I have just woken him up after a late night, and the daily Live hasn’t started yet.

Having collaborated with Anand Kasinath, whose forte is electronic music production, Kevin says this album will be different from his previous work. He will step away from his indie style for a bit to sound more post-modern pop. “Anand was actually with me in this room on Day 1, when we started. But he has the problem of wheezing, and needs fresh air. My room does not have windows, so he had to leave. Now he is working from a friend’s place,” says Kevin.

When he started, Kevin was sure he would be out in three days. It turned out to be not that simple. “I have never worked like this, ever. I normally take months to finish a project: in terms of words, melody, getting feedback, and improving on it.”

So how many days until he finishes his album? “Not more than three, I hope,” he says, joking, “Even God rested after seven days.” Which is why he is hoping to do as many collaborations as possible. He has so far worked with Vaisakh Somnath for a Tamil song, and his mentor Raemus Castelino, among others. While it is a great help, it is also a challenge, he says, to not be physically working together. “I don’t want it to sound like I just sent a sample, and they added their bits on to it. It should flesh out their talent as well, and do justice to their body of work.”

He admits he did not realise the difficulties until he locked himself in, but is adamant to stick to the challenge. “I have a huge ego! If I got inside with the one-track mind of finishing this album, I will achieve that goal, even if it is sub-par work,” he says, impressing this writer who understands creative blocks all too well.

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Printable version | Apr 3, 2020 2:06:18 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/mr-kev-locks-himself-in-a-room-until-he-completes-quarantino-album/article31173019.ece

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