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'True art evolves from imperfection'

One half of Midival Punditz, Gaurav Raina, explores the flawed side of his personality with his solo new project, Grain

Gaurav Raina, one half of electronica duo Midival Punditz, has launched a solo project titled Grain. He has explored a different side of his musical persona with his recently-released debut album Grey to Silver, which feature collaborations with Karsh Kale, Monica Dogra, Anoushka Shankar, Talia and Brooklyn Shanti. “With Grain, I have the freedom to collaborate and create any kind of sound that I want. It’s an open canvas and I’m going to fill it with music,” says Raina. Over to the musician:

Gaurav Raina’s debut album is called Grey to Silver.
Gaurav Raina’s debut album is called Grey to Silver. Pic Courtesy /Sachin Soni

Q. Why did you decide to go solo with your project Grain?
A. Every artist has different facets to him. I discovered a more English lyrical songwriting style, so setting up a new project was the most obvious thing to do. I started writing songs and lyrics and developed a certain sound. My aesthetic was intensely affected by electronica. That’s pretty much the sound that I worked out.

Q. Why did you choose an unusual name like Grain?
A. Perfection in music has become an expected norm. But for me, that’s one of the most boring things modern society has developed. I feel that it’s in the imperfections that true art evolves. It’s only when you experiment and put yourself in an uncomfortable situation, that art emerges. I wanted to explore this side, which is imperfect or darker and more melancholic. That’s when the name Grain emerged, because to me, grain refers to detail. The same details could be details of either imperfection or clarity.

Q. You’ve collaborated with some very talented musicians on Grey to Silver.
A. When I began exploring the sounds I wanted to create, I turned to my close friends. When you’re trying to find your sound, one fears being judged. At a time like that, you’re more comfortable with people who will not judge you. So it was the question of respect and trust that decided who I would collaborate with.

Q. Can you tell us a bit about the collaborations?
A. I wrote some tunes and sat down with Karsh and we started experimenting and came up with the first track, It’s All Right. I’ve been working on Monica’s solo album, so I’ve been spending time with her. During those sessions, I wrote some things, which she found exciting, so we worked on them. Anoushka is a dear friend and I have always wanted to create something very electronic with her. I didn’t know Talia was such a good singer but I threw something musical at her and it came out well. As for Brooklyn, she was in town and we started jamming together. That was how the song came along.

Grain will play a live set at blueFrog, Worli on September 26

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