Singer song-writer Suraj Mani is back with a single after a two-year hiatus. The EP, ‘I am Fine’, releasing today, is an ode to the times. Moved by a friend who was going through a phase of separation and loneliness, Mani wrote the song. As it turns out it is also relevant to the current lockdown, where people are battling the same challenges.
Mani has been a formidable presence in the rock music scene in the country for over two decades, infusing his own musical flavour in verse and notes. Starting with the Kochi-based band Motherjane , which Mani was part of as lead singer in 2000, he has shared the stage with a number of other popular Indian bands including Thaikkudam Bridge , Indian Ocean , Indus Creed as well as American bands such as Megadeth and Third Eye Blind to name a few.
Founder and frontman of Suraj Mani & The Tattva Trip , which he defines as a real-time, multi-sensory interaction between the artist, audience and a mythical traveller, Mani is also the founder CEO of Suraj Mani Engineers.
He speaks to MetroPlus about his new album.
This single is about loneliness and separation. Does that make it especially relevant today, in the midst of this pandemic, which demands social distancing?
Well, the ironic thing is that loneliness and separation are relevant in every century and civilisation. And it will continue to be so. While ‘I’m Fine’ is the story of one man dealing with his pain, social distancing can identify with it as a symbol of what we are all facing.
Although this started off as one man’s story of separation, this song is for us. In its yearning to soothe the soul, it is optimistic. A heartfelt declaration of an underestimated truth that this too shall pass.
Could you tell us about your next EP, set to release in June? ‘Rinse and Repeat’ is an interesting title .
It is a four-song EP and explores four very interesting aspects of romantic relationships. It is something to loop and listen to when you are in the mood. I worked with Keshav Dhar (of American metal band Skyharbour fame) as a producer. I had a blast working with him and I’m extremely proud of what we’ve done.
You have been a rock musician in India for 20 years. How has the journey been?
I call my journey the ‘Tattva Trip’. Most people presume it’s the name of my band. Actually it isn’t. As an artist, I’m Suraj Mani. The ‘Tattva Trip’ is my journey. One that started by chance and yet one that burns with a rare passion. Sure, I’ve written some great songs, but it’s the journey that opens me up.
You have performed with a number of leading bands in India. How has it helped your own music?
I’ve learnt the most from Motherjane. Musically, it was my primary school and university. Then I started from scratch as a solo artist. This sentence is an oversimplification of course, but — from metal to minimal, I embrace my contradictions.
Rock and poetry could be seen as strange bedfellows. How do you fuse the two?
I don’t read poetry. But I write. I’ve not learnt music formally, but I compose. Some call me ‘The Singing Sensei’. Some call me a rock poet. Who am I to disagree? I just embrace whichever side of me I like for the appropriate moment.