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Slow and steady…

Varun Rajput

Varun Rajput  

Varun Rajput, the founder of Antariksh band, talks about the contemplative nature of their songs and why do they wear formals during performances

Antariksh, a Delhi-based band is pushing the boundaries of Hindi rock. Just as the name suggests, their work is as vivid as the ‘universe’. Stepping into the music industry after abandoning their corporate jobs, the members did not look back after the release of the first song "Dheere- Dheere". After earning acclaim , they are heading towards the release of their next album. Here are excerpts from a conversation with Varun Rajput, the founder, lead guitarist and vocalist of the band.

How did the idea of coming together and forming this band come to your mind?

Gurtej, Mridul and I knew each other since our college days. Each one of us had been a part of renowned Indian bands such as ‘Prestorika’, ‘Decibel’ ‘Under Siege’, etc. during our college days – however, post-college, we parted ways to earn our bread and butter through corporate jobs and were cut off from music for almost three years. Back in 2012, we started contemplating about getting back to music and composing a few songs together, although there were no plans to take it professionally. Ultimately, the stars aligned, and around August 2012 we got together, wrote few songs, jammed a little and created four songs in a couple of months, which later on were featured on our first album, ‘Khoj’. It started as an experiment to follow our passion as well as to try and bring in a new sub-genre to Hindi music, which had a very edgy, modern and eclectic sound while still being accessible enough for the masses. Much to our surprise, our very first release, ‘Dheere Dheere’ received quite a lot of appreciation, which in turn motivated us to take it a bit more seriously. And that’s how the journey began.

What drove you guys towards music...

Fortunately, or unfortunately, all of us came from a good educational background, which brought its own share of positives and negatives, more of the former than latter, I still believe. I was an IT engineer from DCE, Mridul was from IIT, and Vipul, who was the drummer of the band back then was from NSIT. A few years post college, we were living comfortable lives, in our office chairs, but something was amiss, you know. Through our entire college span, we had continued to learn and play music and the joy it used to bring was missing from our current lives. Personally, making a career out of music had always excited me, but I did not have the courage to take it up right after college. It was once I worked as a management consultant for about three years, I gained the confidence that this was something I could do anytime, but if I did not give pursuing music a shot right away, I might just never be able to do it. I somehow managed to convince Mridul as well and then after a few discussions we just took a leap of faith. The process of ideating, composing, recording and basically bringing an idea to life has always been very gratifying and I think it was totally worth taking the risk. Obviously, we faced a lot of doubt, confusion, and scepticism initially, but I guess if you stick around, things do work out eventually. So yes, so far so good, I’m quite happy with the decision.

You brought up an amalgam of rock music and intense passionate lyrics. What is your process?

The process was hectic yet frenzy and required immense hard work. We wanted to create songs that resonate with our own selves. As individuals, most of us are quite introspective and contemplative, and that came out in our song writing as well. We wrote songs about topics that mattered to us at that given moment – so if you hear ‘Khoj’, most of the songs are written about emotions that we encounter in our daily lives – emotions such as hope, greed, identity crisis, confusion, etc. For example, our song ‘Dheere Dheere’ talks about identity crises that quite a few of us face in our mid-twenties, while “Na Jaane Kyun” is a song about hope and finding courage to follow your dreams. We never write to impress anyone, rather we try and pick up themes of our choice and hope that people connect with them.

Despite the tremendous success of ‘Khoj, why didn’t we witness the release of any more albums?

There were actually a couple of reasons. First is that for any album/song/product to reach out to a significant audience, it takes time. Also, we were still testing out the waters at that time. Secondly, after a first album, a bunch of changes were lined up within the band, which also required a significant amount of time. Nevertheless, we didn’t stop working at all during this span. We’ve been playing and touring a lot ever since the release of the first album. Recently, the band was featured on Season 4 of "Music Mojo" on Kappa TV where we recorded 11 songs live. We’re hoping to release this as a live album in about a month’s time under the name “Antariksh: Live in Trivandum”. We’re also working towards our next studio album, which is expected to be released by the end of 2016.

Why do you prefer to wear formals for your performances?

Well, again two reasons there. Initially, we all hailed from a corporate background and we thought it’d be cool to build an identity around that, hence the formal wear. Secondly, it just looks really good and coherent which is a big part of performing arts. When you see a well-dressed band, with a good stage presence and co-ordination, it takes your show to a different level and people take you more seriously.

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Printable version | Feb 21, 2020 12:39:23 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/Slow-and-steady%E2%80%A6/article14591313.ece

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