My City My Muse Society

How Chennai’s nightlife fuels music composer Ron Ethan Yohann’s creative process

Ron Ethan Yohann

Ron Ethan Yohann   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Ron Ethan Yohann opens up about spending time with his friends for a late night dinner

Whenever I feel like I need a break from work, I take my car and drive around the city. All through the day, the job expects me to sit at the studio and compose music. My studio isn’t far from home, for it’s on the first floor! The process is claustrophobic at times because I’m in a closed set-up for most part of my life. Which is why I yearn for some alone time.

The night is when the city actually comes alive. I prefer driving alone, which, in many ways, gives a sense of calm, and helps me introspect. After wrapping up work at 9 pm, I make sure I spend time with friends. We catch up for a late night dinner at places such as Buhari where people invariably discuss cinema. I have to admit that I sometimes eavesdrop on their conversations because I get an idea as to what kind of movie/song/music they prefer watching or listening.

Usually, I drive about 30 to 40 kilometres, covering places like Valasaravakkam, Mount Road and Beach Road to mention a few. The best thing about roaming around the narrow streets of Chennai is that it influences my creative process, quite subconsciously. I compose almost every day and by the time I’m done with work, I’m already zoned out. The late night driving is when I get fresh ideas, where I tend to improvise and make corrections to my tunes.

Drive and listen

I have also developed this ritual of playing my rough compositions while driving. Since it’s just me and my music, the destination never really matters. I listen to the compositions and add additional layers to them. When I get back to my studio, I’ll orchestrate and finish the track. This has been the case ever since my début film Maya to the recent Game Over. Of course, the nightlife isn’t without any perils. I’m a teetotaller and I’ve often been caught by the cops, asking me to take the breathalyzer test — that is inevitable.

La La Land

What’s your favourite hangout spot in the city?

I prefer spending time at the beach. Its serene beauty and breezy atmosphere is refreshing to say the least. There have been instances when I went to the beach, sat there for hours doing nothing and left.

Is there a restaurant that you would recommend?

It depends on the time. There aren’t many restaurants in Chennai, if you’re planning a late night dinner. Buhari and Sangam are two places that are my go-to spots. But other than that, The Cascade is also my favourite.

A place in Chennai that has pleasant music and good food?

To be honest, I’ve never been to pub/restrobar. The closest pub atmosphere I got was during the success party of Maya. While the whole crew was enjoying, me and my director (Ashwin Saravanan) were like: ‘Where’s the juice?’

(As told to Srivatsan S)

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 4:00:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/ron-ethan-yohann-opens-about-chennai-nightlife/article28353329.ece

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