Music

Bengaluru musician Vishnu Ravindran Nair’s album ‘Dine Under The Ocean’ is an ode to Mumbai

Vishnu Ravindran Nair

Vishnu Ravindran Nair | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

In his previous album,  Stories From A Space Station, Bengaluru-based musician Vishnu Ravindran Nair tried to convey through sounds an astronaut’s perspectives on love, science, history and the future of humankind. A view from above, if you will. This was during the initial phase of the pandemic. The album itself was, according to him, an exercise in getting out of the world and viewing it from a distance.

After looking from above, in his third album, Dine Under The Ocean, Vishnu is looking around. This one is about the people, the music, the buildings, and the vibe of Mumbai, a city as dear to him as his hometown.

From last August to January this year, he was mostly in Mumbai, playing live shows, meeting and collaborating with fellow artists there, not just in music. “I stumbled upon a wide range of performers including musicians, authors, directors, and actors. There was much to learn in terms of themes from the writers, and moods and melodies from the musicians many of whom were recovering from a loss or hardships of the pandemic,” he says. 

Vishnu felt freer as an artist. “There aren’t that many barriers. The people are appreciative. The artists genuinely express themselves over there. They prioritise art, without pandering to the audience.”

Bengaluru has a vibrant rock music space, too. He, however, reckons it is more formulaic compared to Mumbai. He recalls a recording from 2017. “For me, the most important thing is that I express myself. I don’t aim for ‘perfection’. It was a passionate song and I was sighing and grunting while singing it, but this other rock musician, with whom I recorded the song, wanted to ‘correct’ these things.”  

It was not just the people of Mumbai that inspired Vishnu to make the four-track album. “Much of the Victorian Gothic architecture, the ocean sunsets and the vast animated cityscape contrasting with the tranquil sea were all features I worked on to be represented sonically in my music,” he says.

How does he translate these sights into sound though?

Vishnu gives the example U2’s Bono, who wanted to capture the spirit of the place after a soul-stirring visit to a famine-stricken Ethiopia. “Certain songs take you to a certain place at a certain point in time. It is largely a subconscious thing,” he says, adding, “I am not hell-bent on conveying my idea though. People can have their own interpretation of the song.”

With three albums released, Vishnu feels like he has evolved as an artist, understanding sounds as he experiments with them. What does he want to do next?

The resumption of live shows across the country excites him. He says he will keep returning to Mumbai to participate in more of them. For now, however, he is taking a break in his beloved Bengaluru. 


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Printable version | Jun 24, 2022 8:22:47 am | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/vishnu-ravindran-nair-dine-under-the-ocean/article65422225.ece