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Sounding with some style

Sounding with some style
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As the monsoons arrive in the Capital, here’s something to add to its romance. The Big Fat Lulu’s bring you the guitarists Adil Manuel and Dhruv Visvanath to enthrall you with their foot tapping music. We got talking with the musicians.

What was the first big break for you?

Adil: Way back in school. 8th grade. Getting to play King’s X tunes with my old friend and mentor Chris Hale. I am self taught so I owe a lot to people like Chris.

Dhruv: Definitely getting to open for Swarathma in the month of March, 2011. It was also my first set at Hard Rock Cafe and I was well nervous. I was initially supposed to accompany them on a track of theirs, but they asked for me to open the night. They really motivate me to be the best musician I can be.

How would you define your musical philosophy?

Adil: I do not like definition and putting music in boxes. I have always been open minded about music thanks to the way I grew up with so much music all around me.

Dhruv: My philosophy when making music is simple, I always try to represent emotions.

In our country, how easy (or difficult) is it to make a mark in the music scene? What do you think about the main issues are?

Adil:
It depends on the kind of mark you’d like to leave behind. It’s not like how it was. Anybody with a webcam can be the next big thing. Quality control and content is at it’s lowest.

Dhruv: It has it’s own difficulties but there are some bright spots. The scene does need a little bit of order, but the beauty of the scene here is that there is a sense of camaraderie among artistes.

Indian independent artistes do have a vibrant character but it’s often hindered by the fact we can’t project their sound efficiently. I’d just be happy to see venues have some good sound!

Tell us a bit about your music, what do you think defines you ?

Adil: The focus these days is straight ahead jazz/bop as I haven’t done it for a long while and felt the need to play it again and learn more! This is very different from the sound last year which was jazz fusion, blues and funk. Something that I love a lot!

Dhruv: I love making acoustic music. I compose a lot of instrumental music and always try to express emotions in a way words can’t. I really like being expressive with my instrument and bring out many band like elements. I love using the entire guitar body to replicate the drums, the bass, and the guitar of course!

What/Who inspires you?

Adil: I have been inspired by people whom I’ve played with and in turn, learnt from. Some started out as unknown and later into good friends and fellow musicians. Like others I too have my guitar heroes from my early ones. I am most interested in improvisation and try to keep the music fresh.

Dhruv: I’m really inspired by what people feel and emotions, also my family. My mum is also a massive inspiration to me. My brother too, he has his moments! I really love guitarists like Antoine Dufour and Erik Mongrain who make a name for themselves in a genre that seems rather tightly knit!

Tell us about your best tracks?

Adil: No favorites, they each have a specific thing happening. It will be challenging playing trio and I am going to have a blast with the other two!

Dhruv: I don’t quite know which ones are the best! But every time I write a new track I always think its better than my last work! Although I do have songs like Can’t, After the Rain, Dover, Chaos which I love playing live, and I hope to cheer up many an audience with these tunes for a long time!

What lies next in the pipeline?

Adil: Will spill the beans when the time is right....hint...new collaborations!

Dhruv: At the moment I’ve been working on collaborative pieces with many artistes, and the list is growing. Im working on my 5th collaborative piece with some more artistes, but all to come very soon!
 
What suggestions/advice would you have for newbies in music?

Adil: Get down and practice! Make it count and find your voice. Stop looking for shortcuts. Be honest to yourself.

Dhruv: The one suggestion is that we are all newbies is constant learning. One must always learn and explore with their instrument.
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