Once you listen to The Pallavi Shift by IndoSoul, you are hooked and ought to be blown away. If your ears could taste, it’s like honey dripping and with each savory moment, you feel the ecstasy. We are happy to have had an opportunity to interact with Karthick Iyer - the front-man of IndoSoul and Boy! Is he a gentleman.
If you are a performer laced with immense talent, today is great time to be an independent musician in India. Today, there is wide social acceptance for experimentation to produce something new for art-lovers to watch and listen. Karthick Iyer and his bandmates at IndoSoul are doing exactly the same for the past 5 years, blending the soul of Indian Carnatic music with other genres to bring out compositions and performances that are truly world class.
Though each band mate of IndoSoul comes from diverse musical inclination and background, but when they jam, this diversity unifies into something magical. More on each bandmate later into the article.
IndoSoul has released two albums thus far - Looking Within to Look Beyond which was their debut album and this defined their sound as a band not afraid to experiment, particularly the composition Boundless, gives you the feeler of transcending boundaries and taking that leaps of faith. In this album we can listen to blues, jazz, rock influences seamlessly blending into Carnatic.
Experince it first hand here
Then came The Pallavi Shift where the band had collaborated with a French keyboardist and arranger - Mr. Dondieu Divin, to push the envelope further. One cannot resist but be enthralled with their sound in this album, where Dondieu creates a base for IndoSoul to just go crazy with their dexterity of interplaying with genres. Our favorite from this album, is the song Kaa Vaa Vaa, this song keeps one guessing, there is some kind of mystery that is unfolding in your brain while you listen to this; wish the song didn’t end at all .
Kaa Vaa Vaa for you here!
This variety of compositions and fearlessness has been taking IndoSoul places, they have toured the US, Canada, Sri Lanka and Singapore several times, and each time they set out on a tour, the fan base and audience is ever increasing. They had recently performed to packed houses across various stages in their 2017 Tour of US and Canada.
Well, now their third album 2 Sides of Karma is in the making and Team IndoSoul are very keen to involve music lovers like you in their endeavor to put this album together. Read along to know the band better!
The Thirst With Passion
Talking about his journey, Karthick explains how this passion towards music started - “Music had always been important to me. But it was when I started playing concerts that I really became passionate about it. Watching the way people enjoyed the music made it all worthwhile. The connection between my listeners and me made me feel like I was doing something that mattered. What motivates me now is doing something unique and putting it forward to the audience.”
Choices in Life
Karthick has been training in Carnatic music since he was 8 years old, but, he realized his true calling for music, only after joinng the engineering course. He realized that juggling two things, the core academic field and music, was not going to work out, so it became apparent that he had to choose between the two and he chose music over the engineering job; we are glad he did because this led him to eventually start IndoSoul. He cites his family’s support for whatever he has done so far.
Where And How It All Started For IndoSoul
Moving over to IndoSoul’s roots, it all started when Karthick jammed along with Sumesh and few other friends to play a concert at his sister's wedding. This concert was unimaginably well received with immense applause from the attendees and this sparked the forming of IndoSoul. The theme of IndoSoul eventually evolved with the addition of each band member. Now they are playing a good number of concerts for fans and regular audience and also for various events.
Sumesh is the oldest member of the band, he plays the Mridangam and is a well know name in the India Carnatic Music circle, having played with a lot of senior singers, his repertoire is envious. He is an integral part of the band. His rhythmic sense allows him to experiment with the other percussion instruments as well and he works the computers too whenever IndoSoul performs.
Vikram plays the leads, he joined IndoSoul from their third concert. He has been a major part of how the sound of IndoSoul has evolved, bringing about a unique style with his Guitar to the band and his dedication to the sound of IndoSoul is second to none.
Ramkumar joined them next; his drum sound was exactly what the band was looking for. His knowledge just doesn’t stop at drumming; he is well versed with the Indian Classical rhythms too. Ram and Sumesh’s combination works wonderfully for the band, one should listen to their jugalbandis when IndoSoul performs, it’s a treat to watch and listen, when these both are giving a back and forth to each other.
Ram keeps the groove going along with IndoSoul’s most recent member - Reshwin, who joined them on their first tour to the US. Reshwin’s bass playing helps tie the rhythmic and melodic part of the band together. He has been a great addition to the band, making their act watertight.
In Karthick’s words “IndoSoul’s main focus is on taking Indian classical music and putting it forward in a way that is palatable to people who have grown up listening to different kinds of music. The unofficial motto of the band is to take Indian music to the world and to bring the world to Indian music. We work to blend Indian classical music with other genres seamlessly. This fusion works on bringing the sound together as one cohesive element, which they can experience through the story of the song and not from it's various parts. This is what we believe is unique about IndoSoul.”
Here is their special take on Raghuvamsa Sudha
Of Motivations and Inspirations
Talking about day to day motivation, Karthick says that, IndoSoul’s passion lies in bringing unique content to people and making a difference to them in the way they perceive music. Watching the way people react to their music and the way they noticed the evolution of the music really pushes the band mates, they are more like a family now. The comments they receive on their social media, where they see mothers writing that IndoSoul’s music helps them pacify their babies and things like that had been of great influence to indulge in their pursuit to become better and bigger at what they do. The post live-concert applause and recognition is altogether a different level of motivation which pushes them to do more. With so much of loving flowing in, Karthick says 2 Sides of Karma would be their next big leap.
The Evolution – Of Self and IndoSoul
With every phase of life, Karthick has seen instances that changed his perception of life, the first instance was, when he took a break from traditional Carnatic music to go on with fusion and he began to play with the band Emergence, that played internationally with a lot of jazz involved. The second instance was when he moved to Raghu Dixit Project which was a very happy sounding folk-rock music with a heavy dose of Indian style Violin. To top it all off, the third instance is his relationship with IndoSoul, here he saw a change from he being a freelance musician to starting his own band. The band went through different trials and tribulations over the years shaping their views about music and life, all leading them to where they are now.
Karthick Iyer and Dondieu Divin's duet with the Voilin and Piano can't be missed!
The Journey So Far
When IndoSoul started uploading music on Youtube, they saw an array of reactions from the audience. There were so many comments about how people were moved by the music and how they felt a sort of soulful attachment towards it. People started writing to them, saying that they felt like crying when they heard the music, that it helped them get through bad stages in their lives and there was an instance where a new mother had written to them saying that their music helped her pacify her child.
IndoSoul started listening to their audience and taking note of everything they said. This relationship with the audience has helped IndoSoul to evolve; you can watch the evolution by closely listening to the difference between their first and second albums, the band sounds more mature and now knows how to bring a sea of appreciation for very original and new sounds. And, now, they want to involve their audience directly in the production of 2 Sides of Karma-their third album. This kind of collaboration with the audience is very exciting for IndoSoul and they hope that it is going to be a successful endeavor. The band is hopeful of the support from their audience to create a great album. More on this in our next post about IndoSoul.
The Defining Moments
One of the very important moments for IndoSoul was the launch of their first album - Looking Within To Look Beyond, in 2015. The event as well as the album launch announced them as an independent music band which does original compositions and put them on map of interesting Indian bands to vouch for in the years to come.
With a profound sense of pride Karthick said – “We performed our music at the historic Museum Theatre - Chennai, to a full house audience. The event got people to take notice of IndoSoul and it was the first time we had put together such a huge event. The success of the event made us more confident to go for more such events.”
Arts As Agents Of Change
When asked about his take on Music and performing arts as agents of change he had this to say – “Music is essentially collaborative in nature. All music that is played becomes reflective of the relationship between all the musicians and hence, it takes a lot of cooperation and a mutual give and take to make music. Music is the only thing that can be enjoyed, loved and understood across languages and boundaries and therefore becomes a unifying force. IndoSoul’s aim is to blend Indian classical music with different genres and take it outside of India, bringing people closer together. We believe that through soulful music, we can unify the world.”
India and Independent Music
Independent music is seeing an uprising in India, Karthick couldn’t agree more, he believes we have a lot of talent in terms of quality of music and diversity from folk to Hindustani to Indian classical to rock and pop. Name it and in every genre, we have musicians who are really shining. It does seem that independent music gets clouded by commercial music but we think there is a great opportunity for good music to be heard and loved in India.
On this note of hope and optimism we ended this very insightful and engrossing interaction.
Post the interaction, Karthick Iyer said that IndoSoul would like to raise the funds for their third album that is 2 Sides of Karma via crowdfunding on Goodclap. IndoSoul is taking this route to involve all their fans and audience in their journey, in a more meaningful and impactful way, where the audience will personally get to know what goes into making of an album and in fact they will help produce the album. What’s more to it is that IndoSoul has some interesting give-aways to the audience who contribute. The 2 Sides of Karma campaign will go live in a few days time and you can jump onto the bandwagon to make IndoSoul's desire a reality.
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