Dwitiyo Purush seems to be a complete departure from your singer-songwriter identity to a very band sound…
Yes, that’s true. The singer-songwriter sound can become quite monotonous after a point. I was just trying to break out of that to a fuller sound and for that I needed inputs and suggestions that had to come from other musicians. And that’s what I’ve done, recorded this album with my band that I formed in 2010.
Introduce us to your band…
In 2010, when Amake amar moto became popular and I decided to come back to Calcutta, I needed to perform on stage. So I picked some musicians to perform my movie songs on stage but with a rock and roll sound. There’s Subhodip Banerjee on guitar, Nabarun Bose on keyboards and harmonica, Roheet Mukherjee on bass guitar and Sandeepan Parial on drums and percussion. At first we never had a signature sound, we were just five of us on stage replaying the songs that were popular. Then I wanted to create and develop a particular sound that would define us. We’ve been working on that over the past one year and I think we’ve been able to establish ourselves that way now.
But Bangla bands, they say, are getting dated. How do you intend to strike out?
Bangla bands have never had a very defined sound and what we’ve mostly heard are heavy guitar distortions. The nature of my songs does not go with that. My compositions are very influenced by John Mayer, Radiohead, Coldplay and Travis. Guitars play the main role. Very clean guitars with an overdrive, not the orthodox guitar playing. The drum grooves also move away from the usual beats like the ’80s glam rock sound, which I don’t like. That apart, I have a funny problem. A large number of my fans are used to my film songs but I try to avoid sounding too filmi in my album. At the same time, there’s a need to break away from the monotony of my singer-songwriter numbers. If I move away too much from either, it disappoints many.
That’s why the film songs in the album?
A film song no matter how popular pales over a year… that makes me wonder if it could be rearranged to sound fresh again. The song Ei Srabon was originally written as Aro sheet but the words had to be changed for the film (22shey Srabon). But should that mean the original song is lost? It’s like giving the song another lease of life. Same with Amar mawte, the version with me singing had to be dropped from the film album (Hemlock Society) and Ekbar bol (22shey Srabon) here in the album has a different set of lyrics. The song choice was also based on the theme of this album...
What is Dwitiyo Purush about and how much of it is you?
It’s about three things. Firstly it’s the alter ego and what he likes, hopes for and wants to do. Secondly, about love. When you’re not the primary but the second person in a woman’s life. The third bit extends to the dual sides to the album. If the first part introduces you to the band and the sound we’re trying to establish, the second gets more gentle with a songwriter’s perspective. So sometimes I’m the dwitiyo purush (second person) when I reflect on days that I’ve been through and sometimes the tritiyo (third) like in the song Ami ajkal bhalo achhi which is a complete lie from start to finish. Maney ekta kotha bujhiye arekta kotha bola (Saying one thing and meaning another).
Of the 10 songs, pick a must-listen number for t2 readers...
I would choose two. Phanka frame, the first song on the album, because it would immediately give listeners an idea of what the band is about. The second is Ami bhalo achhi, which is more introspective. There’s esraj, it’s acoustic, light and I sing along.
Dwitiyo Purush is not the average Valentine’s Day album. What’s a love song for you?
Feelings that are very real, very evident. It’s more about strong melodies and lyrics than the sweet kind. The attitude also makes a difference. A basic sense of respect for the lover even if he or she has left you and gone. That’s why Tagore’s songs continue to be so popular. The love song genre is decaying. There’s so much happening around you that there has to be a reflection of that. If I talk about love and the lover in two lines, I sing about other things happening around us, that also defines the times in which we’re living. That to me is a modern love song.
You have been tweeting your new song Odbhut mugdhota to Sting and Noel Gallagher!
(Laughs) Just to tell them that we’re a bunch of guys trying to do some serious music here in Calcutta. I’m a big fan of Sting. He’s a picture of perfection for me — his melody, lyrics, arrangement, singing and performing styles. And my dream is to meet Noel Gallagher (of Oasis fame) someday so this is my way of telling him how much I’m influenced by his music. Ekhon obdhi keu patta daeyni (Till now no one has taken note)!
You’re missing from Srijit Mukherji’s Mishawr Rawhoshyo. Why?
At first the film wasn’t meant to have songs. Later perhaps some songs were added and Srijit decided to go with Indraadipda (Dasgupta). I think every director should have the independence to try out new musicians. That apart, I’m doing the music for Arindam Dey’s Chhaya Manush and I’ve kept myself busy with writings. I just launched my second book of poetry Chhoachhey kalam at the Book Fair. I also intend to release an English single sometime soon.
Mohua Das Is Anupam your favourite Bengali singer-songwriter? Tell firstname.lastname@example.org