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Interviews |  29 Dec 2018 10:00 |  By RnMTeam

Indie music is not an organized field in India: AKoustic Soul aka Amit Khadikar

MUMBAI: An MBA professional, who shaped his musical skills, while taking care of his curriculum - is an apt introduction for Amit Khadikar aka AKoustic Soul, who recently bagged the VIMA nomination for his single, Home. In his interview, he talks about his VIMA nomination, musical journey, his various bands and about #METOO movement.

Can you tell us about your journey as an artist? How did you get into this field?

You don’t really know that you’re a part of music as a field until you’re already doing well into it. I never planned getting into music, a series of events over a lengthy period of time led to this. Indie music is not an organized field in India, and the focus is usually to get into an organized profession when you’re growing up. Hence, I entered into a corporate career first, and that actually connected me to talented musicians, who were in the same boat, and music projects followed thereafter.

My journey as an artist began taking shape during my MBA days. Once I entered the corporate world, this passion took a more structured form because I joined corporate music. In fact, this later led to the formation of my alternative rock band, Hourglass Inversion, which had musicians from Infosys Pune. We opened for the IPL match between Pune Warriors and Delhi Daredevils, participated in competitions like Channel V’s Launchpad 2009 and even won Hard Rock Rising 2013. When we released our EP, Our Time is Now, Mint Newspaper recognized me as one of the Youth Icons because I was handling a dual role of, both, a working professional and musician.

Hourglass Inversion is not your only project. Can you tell us about others too?

While Hourglass Inversion was going strong, I was simultaneously writing songs that were different from its hard-hitting style. Hence, my second project, AKoustic Soul was formed. I also joined a Western Music Choir called The Chamber singers in 2014. Throughout my entire journey, people kept asking me if I could also do Bollywood covers; I began exploring this idea through my project Desi Quarter, which was launched in late 2016, when I met an incredible vocalist named Rajtarangini Kumar. Desi Quarter has done over 200 events across 65 venues in four cities within less than two years! Besides, I’m also a music trainer and a consultant. I conduct music workshops and give talks. 

How do you juggle between so many projects simultaneously? 

The trick is I don’t really think of it as juggling. I enjoy what I do and each project is mutually exclusive in terms of the musical styling. It actually helps me cover a wide span of music. I can hone my skills further and improve my fundamental understanding of music. I have a clear vision for each project, so I am able to manage them smoothly. Yes, there is a physical and mental effort involved in keeping things running and not letting go of opportunities and traction gained for each project, but that’s a good problem to have.

Your song, ‘Home’ recently received a VIMA nomination in the category of Best Pop Song. Can you tell us about the song and its making?

I learnt guitar on my own, and was always keen on composing originals from the very beginning. Amidst the countless trial and error sessions, I finally pieced together a simple tune with simple words that conveys a simple message that has been embedded in me since childhood – home isn’t just a physical place; it is where your heart is.

The VIMA nomination for ‘Home’ must feel great! How do you feel about the other nominees? 

It goes without saying that it is indeed an honour to be nominated for the VIMA Awards. I am sure it would be a similar feeling for other fellow nominees, as well, who are working relentlessly to release quality-driven music. I am glad to be considered as a part of this eclectic group of artists, and there’s nothing but respect for all the nominees.

Do you write your own lyrics usually?

Although I am open to the idea of putting a tune together, someone else writes lyrics when it comes to a project like AKoustic Soul. I prefer penning down my own lyrics. I can capture the emotion fully through both words and music. Also, as I release more songs, you’ll notice that each song theme is linked to other organically.

Shifting gears a bit, do you feel there is more awareness in the industry in light of #MeToo Movement?

The #MeToo movement transcends industries and boundaries. I hope it has made everyone take a serious stock of what’s happening. What has come to light now has been happening for decades silently and has challenged the very fabric of human behaviour and mentality. #MeToo has raised important awareness and has permeated our consciousness. But, time will tell whether it really achieves the desired results.

What hope do you have for the music industry in 2019?

I hope more listeners pay attention to indie releases, apart from what’s happening in Bollywood. And, I hope people push for quality music to be offered to audiences more consistently.

What are your upcoming projects for 2019?

I am planning to expand my current projects so they can reach their full potential.  On an immediate basis, Desi Quarter has a lot of traction, considering its mass appeal. And, there are multiple concepts in store for AKoustic Soul, which I’m keen releasing soon.

Lastly, what's on your playlist at the moment?

Amit Trivedi, Arijit Singh, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Nooran Sisters, Euphoria, Parikrama, The Local Train, The Yellow Diary, Abhinav Bansal, Alter Bridge, Tremonti Project, FFDP, Metallica, GnR, Ed Sheeran, Sia, Adele, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani and Hammock.