August 08/29/18, 2018
With an incredible track record both in the music and writing realm, artistic nomad Nandan Gautam brings to the world a bold and epic sound that is alluring from beginning to end. The sleek, sultry and ambient “Hold On To Your Sails” soars with melodic lead vocals, uplifting ocean imagery, infectious beats, and ethereal electro beauty. Nandan composed, produced, handled all the voices, spoken word, and played keys and programmed all drums and synth baselines on the song which made us want to dive in deeper. This Summer we caught up with Nandan for an interview that details his creative process. Let's begin, shall we?
When you are writing music, what comes first, the music or the lyrics?
A: I wish there was an easy answer. Sometimes the music comes first. Sometimes everything comes together. Making music is a magical process. I don't think I'll ever understand how it happens! We try to put down a process, but in truth, there isn't. I couldn't repeat my own formula, even if I wanted to!
What is the inspiration and aspirations behind the latest single release?
A: When we think or speak, there are many things we want to say together. They might even contradict each other. We can feel a sense of hopelessness and incredible strength, or freedom and isolation... all at once. I wanted to convey this sense of falling, along with a sense of rising. This song is about how these opposites can exist and express themselves together very cohesively even though it wouldn't seep easily possible. Not only within the lyrics... even the melodies I've come up with are both western and eastern sounding, but they co-exist very harmoniously. That was my aspiration. I hope I managed to come close!
Can you tell us about the new record? How did the concept come to life?
A: I've been working on my novel, The King of the Sea, for the last 4 years. Two years ago when I began to make music I realised how perfectly my music captured the emotional thread of the novel. It was much more than a soundtrack in the conventional sense. It was a true companion to the book I was writing. That's how the concept was born. With this record the goal was always to serve the narrative of the novel. To make the reader really dive in to the world I was creating. It was all about creating a completely immersive experience - a sort of virtual reality, where the listener/reader's imagination was the canvas on which it was all happening, and not some special goggles that you had to wear!
What is the ultimate inspiration when penning the tracks, especially on the new record?
A: Inspiration happens out of time. It doesn't happen in a linear fashion. If you're in the right frame of mind then anything you do will come from there. It's not an object that's in front of you, or a thought about something that inspires. It's the very source that you're trying tot tap into. It's the state of mind that you're in. In my case I don't think I can even bring myself to that state of mind. I just have to stay open to it and mainly recognise it when it happens. I found that it wasn't so important to put in the hours, but rather find those moments that felt pregnant. I knew something special would emerge at that point.
Do you produce and record your own records, or do you head into the studio?
A: So far I've been producing and recording on my own, with a few exceptions. But I'll probably head to the studio in the future. I'm very clear what kind of sound I want with each track so I do the mixing myself. For the mastering, I have a great guy in New York City, Alex Sterling who is patient enough to work with my constant revisions and last minute changes. He has taught me a lot about sound.
What are your key musical goals for the end of the year?
A: My next album, The Divine Flaw, the second and final volume of music to accompany my novel, will be out by the end of the year. After that I plan to do something quite different on the third album. I'm still a believer of the album. For me, a single is like a single chapter of a book. It's just not enough! Especially if you're onto something!
Stream “Hold On To Your Sails”
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