Indian Ocean band member talks about World Music Day

Jun 21, 2012, 08:29 IST | Deepali Dhingra

From doing seven shows in five years, to doing more than 60 shows annually, Indian Ocean has come a long way

One of the most prominent and successful bands to have come out of the Indian music scene, there could not have been anyone better to speak about music on the occasion of World Music Day. Currently busy with live performances and working on a new album, Susmit Sen spoke to CS on behalf of the band:

Who: Indian Ocean
What: On their music and influences

No limits to their music
We don’t like to categorise our music. The moment you do that, you limit yourself. To understand music is fine but to truly appreciate music, you have to feel it. That’s the ultimate level of appreciation. Then it doesn’t matter if it’s rock or folk or fusion. I knew when we started out, that it will take time for people to ‘feel’ our music, as it was a different sound. We would get an amazing applause every time we performed but when people would ask us to describe our sound, we could not express it in words. Slowly and steadily, more and more people heard our music. In the first five years, we did just seven shows! But we didn’t stop making music. Now, we do more than 60 shows every year!

Cultural influence
The best part about being an Indian musician is that we have grown up in a place that has unlimited kinds of music. The cultural landscape is so huge that if you open your mind to it, then there’s a plethora of emotions you can trap. You have to identify with yourself and your surroundings.

Indian melody as the base
The band has been a steady set of four people till Asheem passed away two years back. Earlier only I used to compose and then everyone else started contributing, so everyone’s influences came into play. Our sound is the way it is because of the influence of Indian classical music. It’s different from Western music as we follow melody and scale. That influence still remains.

Independent and original
One of the challenges independent musicians face, is that the media always gives more priority to Bollywood music. But then, Bollywood is popular. Independent musicians should get it out of their thought process that their music should also be popular. Their music should not be run-of-the-mill. They have to have a lot of patience, believe in hard work and have a lot of conviction in their work.

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