'SuperHeavy has a strong Indian influence'

Even as AR Rahman returns to Bollywood with the music of Imtiaz Ali's Rockstar, his band SuperHeavy -- a collaboration with international stars Mick Jagger, Joss Stone, Damian Marley and Dave Stewart -- released their self-titled debut album only last week. The composer-singer talks about his last two years

You have been working on SuperHeavy since 2009. How would you describe your two-year journey?
It's been great, making music and being part of a band that consists of legendary artistes. After 20 years of writing music for movies, a Broadway musical, western musicals and doing my own shows, going to a band and playing a keyboard and singing was a 180-degree turn for me. I think it's important for every one to experience an internal high, which comes from exploring different things.   

Have you worked with any of these singers before?
No. Dave Stewart and I are supposed to work on a movie, Paani, which will be directed by Shekhar Kapoor. The film is still under pre-production. But I've known him for eight years. 
How would you describe the music of SuperHeavy?
SuperHeavy is a musical team and each of us has a distinct style. When it is a collaboration of such a scale, you have to take a back seat and just let music be made naturally. SuperHeavy does have strong Indian influences. There is a Sanskrit number called 'Satyameva Jayate' and a romantic number called 'Mahiya'.

What is your role in the band?
I was playing solos in most of the songs, and piano, synth, harmonies, extra vocals, Persian strings and Indian strings. Two songs -- Satyameva Jayate and Mahiya are full-fledged compositions by me. It's not like each of us had a pre-planned role. Ideas started flowing and everything came together when we started jamming. 
Was it challenging for the others to get a Sanskrit song right?
I just played it and instantly everybody connected to it. It didn't take long to put it together -- some 15 minutes.

Why the name SuperHeavy?
SuperHeavy came about when we were jamming together. In one interview, Dave said that it was inspired by Mohammed Ali. In the beginning, we wondered if it sounded a bit over-the-top and pompous. But now I feel good about it. 
How different was the experience of composing music with others vis- -vis doing it on your own?
Usually I just lock myself in a room and make my music. But here we had jamming sessions where Mick would be playing something, Joss would be singing, Dave would join in, Damian would add to it and a melody would just evolve from all the interaction. And those were some magical moments for me -- a long lasting memory.

Where do you see Indian music on the global platform?
I think the world is going through a great change of connecting cultures through music. Indian music is being recognised globally for sure. 
Will SuperHeavy ever try their hand at Bollywood music?
The first album is just out. So we are all enjoying that at the moment. We haven't yet thought about anything else.

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