Rupam Islam is ready with his third solo release Nishkromon. Fossils frontman and the citys rock icon tells t2 about breaking his past image to bring a new edge to his sound that also features some of the best from Calcuttas rock scene...
Tell us about your third solo album...
The journey of Na Hanyate, my 2010 album from SaReGaMa, continues through Nishkromon. The album, set to release on Thursday, has been musically produced by Allan Ao. All songs have been written and composed by me. The sound of the album is very different from Na Hanyate. These edgy and aggressive songs have been recorded live at my studio, Working Class Zero.
What is the thought behind Nishkromon?
The thought of nishkromon or departure comes to every human mind at some point or the other. Be it a physical departure like departing from home, city or country, or a psychological departure like setting free the emotions of pain, anger, depression, disappointment, jealousy, frustration and even love. I too have been influenced by this thought many a time and have written several songs on this. Eight such songs form Nishkromon, the album.
How is it different from your previous solo releases?
Let us not compare any album with my first solo album of 1998. My musical ideas have gone through a sea change since. Na Hanyate was very easy-going, well-produced and soothing. I dont believe in repeating successful formulas. I try and bring in a completely unexplored method the next time. That is what I have done after Na Hanyate. This album breaks every image that was created through the previous release in terms of musicality. Nishkromon is raw, edgy and intentionally under-produced to achieve the organic sound we aimed for.
Theres a buzz about the album being very aggressive and angry...
Anger and aggression are always an integral part of rock music. This time we didnt want that emotion to be diluted. My songs are always angst-ridden and that is why people can relate to my music. Not only anger, any emotion that disturbs is my potential subject. It is definitely a way of letting out pent-up emotions. The bottomline is that if I wasnt affected, I wouldnt be writing rock. Now if you want to know what I am angry about, then I shall ask my listeners what they are angry about. It is their anger, which they cannot talk about, and I portray that on their behalf. I represent my generation musically.
Why did you opt for a live recording?
While live recording used to be the norm earlier, all international bands are now returning to this method to capture the raw and organic feel. In India, particularly in Calcutta, this is still largely unused.
Who are the guest artistes youve teamed up with for Nishkromon and why did you pick them?
Nishkromon would be the first time many members, not only vocalists from different bands, would be joining hands to record an album. Arka (ex-FLI currently Ganesh Talkies) and Gaboo (Lakkhichhara) have played the drums, Sandy (Cactus) and Chandra (Fossils) have played bass and all guitars have been played by Allan. Subhajit (Lakkhichhara) has helped Pom (Insomnia) to record this. The idea to team up with all these musicians was Allans, as he thought the songs needed them. I simply agreed to it. Since it is a solo album, theres no boundary. It was a wonderful, learning experience working with all of them. They all put in a lot of hard work and time unconditionally. Cant thank them enough.
Do you agree that Bangla bands and their music is getting stereotyped? Has that ever prompted you to consciously try and break out of that mould?
Stereotype is a term closely associated with success. Since Bangla bands and their music are gaining more and more popularity and success by the day, many might tend to think that a stereotyped formula is also being established. But the audiences arent foolish. If we look at the top of the popularity charts, there are only artistes and bands who have never become stereotyped. Fossils has five albums to their credit and they have never repeated any success formula. They have always tried to do something new and have successfully done so. My solo ventures too follow the same path. This holds true for the live performances as well. That is the reason why Bangla bands are still so much in demand.
Was it your idea to have Rupsha (wife) direct the music video for one of the songs?
Bengali music never has any budget for a standard music video. I am lucky that Rupsha is competent enough to handle camera, editing and direction all on her own. Earlier, she didnt have her our own set-up to make any video, now she does. So, it was obvious that she would make a video for this album. The video is shot on HD and captures the feel of the song through colours, speed variations and expressions. We feel YouTube is the best medium for our music videos, so we have already released the video on YouTube.
Youve done the music for Bedroom and Aami Vs Tumi. Are you enjoying composing music for films?
When I started thinking of music as a career for the first time, I thought of myself as a music director, not singer. Finally, I am being able to fulfill that wish of mine. I am loving it even more, since I am working with the musician friend I am most comfortable with — Allan. We work as a music director duo. We are very happy with the work in Bedroom. I have sung three songs, and all three feature me and Allan in the film too.
Whats next in line?
My second rock journal, Ei To Aami, is ready to be released by Ananda Publishers sometime soon. A music video of my song Ei srabon from 22shey Srabon, shot by Parambrata (Chattopadhyay), will be aired shortly.