It was in 1986, when, I saw an American magazine called Guitar Player at New Market in Calcutta. Eric Johnson was on the cover and there was a free record of his inside. It was inspirational — it made me even more serious about music. I started practicing 12 hours a day. Later, St. Xaviers College shaped me in a big way as well. It taught me values and gave me an edge that I carry even now.
After starting my band, Krosswindz, the first big break was getting signed on by Chennai record label Cosmic Music in 1999. The album One World, showcased our sound, World Rock — a mix of Latin American, jazz, Irish folk and Indian folk music. Next, the American record label Joe Anthony Productions signed us for Music of the Globe, featuring groups from various countries. Krosswindz represented India. It was a very proud moment for me. Another high was performing on a Seattle radio station for a two-hour live music show in 2007 — a first for an Indian band. We did this again in 2009.
Yet another milestone was in October 2009. I was performing with the band in Austin, Texas (the hometown of Eric Johnson). With a lot of trepidation Id invited my unseen mentor to the show. Not only did he come; he gave me his own guitar processor. It was like coming full circle after all these years. All along, the one thing Ive maintained is to look inward for true inspiration.
Presently, I am working on two projects. I want to cut an instrumental guitar album, for which I have already composed a couple of songs and the other is the next Krosswindz album, which will be released later this year.
(As told to Amrita Mukherjee)