Fusion has been the buzzword for Prem Joshua and band. The USP that made them one of the pioneers in fusion music. We caught up with the band ahead of their performing in the Capital today. Here are excerpts:
A lot of mish mash is going around in the name of fusion these days. How exactly then, does your band separate itself from the rest?
Firstly an artist has to be really at home in both worlds to create intelligent fusion music. He has to absorb, understand and ‘own’ the musical genres and traditions he wants to fuse. It is not easy at all to create good fusion music. I don’t like the word fusion, as to me it is about going beyond fusion. It’s about respecting different traditions and daring to cross boundaries, to enter new musical terrain and create a musical language that can be understood worldwide.
What elements of Indian and Western music do you incorporate in your works?
All our compositions are rooted in raga, you can hear elements of Indian classical, folk and Sufi music merged with Western elements deriving from Jazz, Rock, Funk, Reggae, Trance, further incorporating African and Middle Eastern rhythms. Fusion is not something that we have to construct.
What will you perform in Delhi?
We will play our full set, but for our Delhi audience we will also play some brand new tracks.
Is Delhi opening up to music from around the world? Has an audience been created here in the city?
We have played in Delhi before several times and we always had a full house. Delhi is also the home of many talented upcoming bands that do an interesting mix of rock with Indian roots. Slowly there is an opening towards different musical influences — but there are still not enough venues and chances to perform. This is not only a problem in Delhi but all over India.
How did you get into music?
At the tender age of five my parents bought me a small flute and sent me to a teacher. I loved playing music immediately.
How do you compose your music?
While doing my daily riyaaz, sometimes inspiration overwhelms me and I get carried away discovering new musical streams. At times just a small melody appears, at other times a whole orchestra gushes in like a waterfall, and sometimes the stream dries up again. It is a lot about coming from a sensitive and silent space to be able to hear hidden musical worlds. But someone else once also said so rightly that creating art is 5 per cent inspiration and 95 per cent perspiration — I agree totally. I also consider myself lucky to create and develop new songs with my band of dedicated and passionate musicians. Everyone’s input is essential to create music which is beyond everyone’s capacity as a single artist — and that is the beauty of a real band!
Your music has influences from all over. How do you pick and choose?
We are extremely picky and choosy in the first place. The basic idea and inspiration for a new song has to be strong and with a clear message, then the further ingredients have to be right, our new songs mostly grow slowly like oak, not like reed. We practice them again and again until we feel they are right.
What are some of your most memorable performances?
Glastonbury Festival in the UK, a concert for Prince Edward at the Royal Palace in London, the Kala Ghoda Festival in Mumbai, our annual shows in Goa...
Does ego ever come into play among the band members?
Do you think we are saints? We are normal human beings and sometimes we have extremely opposite opinions. But that adds spice and so far we have always found ways to unite for the sheer joy of playing music together.
Any albums in the pipeline?
Of course! We are working on it. But as I said before, strong trees grow slowly...
At: Hard Rock Cafe, DLF Place, Saket
When: 20 December
Timings: 9 pm