Karthick Iyer, Violin Artiste
"Music need not have an agenda"
March 25, 2017

If one were to subject your music to a blind test, meaning, play it to an untutored listener who has not met you or listened to your music before, there’s a good chance that he/she would describe it as young, fresh, music with almost a sense of playfulness in it. If that’s what Karthick Iyer sounds like now, what would Karthick Iyer sound like in ten years from now?

A lot of what you describe as energy, as spunk flows straight from the musicians behind the music. There’s a collective energy which finds its release as a musical product. The average age of Indo-Soul is around 24 years. At 31, I am the oldest member in the band. So, I believe in ‘music by consensus’. What you hear now is a creative expression of my band and me as we are now. As our relationships grow and as we grow as individuals, our music will evolve as well. Our music today is and will always be a meeting of minds and not just a meeting of musical styles.

Your band Indo-Soul’s tagline is “Looking within to look beyond”. Tell us more about that.

There’s obviously a philosophical angle to it, but the fact is that Indo-Soul plays a specific form of fusion music. We don’t like the label ‘fusion’ but there’s no escaping from the fact that it is a fusion of Indian classical and Western music. But fusion is such a generic word. “Looking within to look beyond” at one level is looking into a musical genre to see within and to try to identify a common thread with other genres, but at another level, it is also about us, the band members, looking within ourselves to look beyond. Looking into the future, to a world ahead.

Karthick-Iyer-with-band

Karthick Iyer Live

And the ‘coming together’ which you have spoken about in the past.

It’s immensely important. It’s like marriage. We each have our opinions and it’s natural to trust one’s own opinion. But balance arises out of difference of opinion. It leads to the music being fresh, something which is greater than just the sum of the parts. My music will never be the same without the other artistes.

What does music stand for, what’s the purpose of music in today’s world? Especially in a world where increasingly walls are being built and doors are being shut.

I don’t think music needs to have an agenda. If music did not have its own deeper purpose, it would have been extinct by now. Music takes the listener to a place which cannot be reached otherwise. It results in an elevation of the senses, even if only for five minutes.

As an artiste trying to explore the intersection of two genres of music, how does it feel to navigate in a space where there is no ‘right’ and no ‘wrong’?

It feels beautiful to be able to create something unique. It is liberating because now there are literally thousands of ways in which we can do something. There are no closed paths. And in a situation like this it’s amazing what the human mind can create. As an artiste I recognize the importance of something like technique which comes from the classical framework and that’s tremendously useful and necessary. There’s also a huge amount of excitement in being able to operate in a musical space like this. But it has to go beyond just creative excitement. Today, where I am, what matters to me is really how do I feel when I listen to my own music. Does it move me enough? And that becomes the determinant of my musical style.

Prelude in Bilahari

Prelude in Bilahari is #IndoSoul's take on the Indian classical song Paridana Meechite, originally composed by Patnam Subramaniya Iyer in the 19th century. This violin and piano duet performed by Karthick Iyer and Dondieu Divin brings together the rich tradition of Indian and Western classical music with the violin melody in Raga Bilahari interwoven with Bach inspired lines on the piano. Audio Credits: Violin : Karthick Iyer Piano : Dondieu Divin Original song composed by : Shri Patnam Subramanya Iyer Arranged by Dondieu Divin Recorded and mixed by Biju James (VGP Studios, Chennai) Mastered by Madhu Viswanathan Grand piano - Musee Musicals, Chennai. Video Credits: Directed by Karthik Charan Assistant Director : Pravin Kumar Raju, Arun Prasath DOP : Arun Bathmanaban Associate Cinematography : Muthukumar, Pugazh Focus Puller : Deva Editing : Baskaran Colorist : Sheikh Production Design : Ayyappan Srinivasan (BTOS) Make up and Styling : WINK Unisex Salon Post Production : SriSix Media DI : Master Frames Outdoor Unit : Anand Cine Service Musee Musicals Production House : The Indian Films #ThePallaviShift #newalbum #violin #piano

Posted by Karthick Iyer on Friday, 31 March 2017

From Karthick Iyer Live's latest album, ThePallaviShift, this violin and piano duet performed by Karthick Iyer and Dondieu Divin brings together the rich tradition of Indian and Western classical music with the violin melody in Raga Bilahari interwoven with Bach inspired lines on the piano

Music takes the listener to a place which cannot be reached otherwise. It results in an elevation of the senses, even if only for five minutes

When does a passion become a job?

Well, one does get inspired by many people around you who are doing great things. Just watching people from different walks of life work very hard can be beautiful. For me, people like Sachin Tendulkar, Roger Federer are special. Look, Federer may not be at the top of his game today but the grace, the beauty is all there. I was lucky to watch the 2001 Wimbledon 4th round match between Sampras and Federer Live in London and I saw at close quarters the beauty, the grace there. And it works on you. And that’s what I would like to do with my music, to create something beautiful, something aesthetic. Nadal may be the more effective tennis player, the one with the more wins. In sport, the scorecard decides; you either win or you don’t. But it’s not that absolute in music. But then again, these things evolve. When I look back at my first album today I do see what appear as rough edges now. I have changed as a person as well since then, my sense of aesthetics has also perhaps changed, unknowingly. That spark of inspiration, to create something beautiful can come from a single scene, a flash, but the finished product comes with toil, with brutal hard work and practice and that’s beautiful too.


Interviewed by Ashwin Prabhu


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You guys are one of the best fusion musicians :)

Amrita

April 25, 2017