Symphony Novel from Mumbai, India, brings forth a new progressive, instrumental, and experimental album Aria which challenges your pre-conceived notions. If you like drums, this is your album. Sea of Tranquility Staff Writer Mark Johnson caught up with Rachit Sachdeva to talk about this exciting new release.
Mark Let's get started with discussing the novel performed within a symphony known as Aria. Tell us about the concept and how you developed it. Where did the inspiration for the album concept and the band's name originate?
Rachit - I had started working on ARIA in December 2011 and as this was the first album it was bit of a mess for me
There was inspiration coming in definitely from different sources but I really cannot say that the concept was ready and clear in my head from the beginning. Initially I had planned on making only instrumental tracks. The first song I composed was "Disorder ". But then I started writing the lyrics for "The Lake", "Infirmity " and "Smokin Sap". I could actually come up with three different concepts with absolutely no link to one another. At this time I was already juggling 15 - 16 names for the band. But then I realized I needed a name which represents music or musical composition that is new, unique, strange, and unusual in an interesting way and with a lot of research "Symphony Novel" seemed the most appropriate name as we are constantly thriving, making new stuff and evolving extensively. The album name ARIA was decided as it again represents air, music, hymn, melody, song, and a theme
and all of these characteristics were there in the entire album.
Mark The artwork is a great representation for the album's concept. Tell us how you chose the artist and more about their work.
Rachit -The album artwork has been designed by my very good friend Cyriac Varghese. He is an amazing sketching artist. I had seen his work and was blown away with his creativity. When the whole album was ready I made him hear the tracks and he showed me something he had made around a week back then. I could see a man bowing down atop an altar of rock. Cyriac then explained to me that he had made it using simple strokes placed closely together to create a sense of intricacy and tension to personify principles of surrender and grace. I decided at that very moment that this has to be the album art. Even with the Symphony Novel logo, he gave the idea to use of his other sketches designed using the mathematical symbol of infinity or rather half of the whole. So, the final form of the logo is fashioned from the infinity symbol and it represents the ever evolving, mutating nature of events. This is clearly what Symphony Novel is all about and had to be chosen as the logo
:) I met Gautam Deb through Cyriac and he helped in digitalizing the album art, band logo, the Symphony Novel font, deciding on the color of the logo and the album art. It is the combined efforts of Cyriac and Gautam that has defined the looks of Symphony Novel to the entire world.
Mark "Chant" is my favorite track on the album. Tell us about Bhavika Shetty's vocals and why she is only heard on this one track on the album.
Rachit ;- Thanks a lot Mark
!!. Chant is definitely the most defining track in this album. It is also the last track that I composed. Initially it was going to be an instrumental piece but then when the whole track was ready without vocals I felt something was not right. It needed vocals with a soothing, stylistic, Indian classical feel and Bhavika definitely has that in her voice. I immediately got in touch with her as she is a brilliant Indian classical singer and a very good friend. We sat down and decided on which chants would suite best. After a lot of research we decided on chants for the Goddess Saraswati, as she is the goddess of music according to Indian mythology and Lord Shiva who is also considered to the God of Gods. Her voice gave this song an entirely new feel and essence but then she had to pursue her studies in medicine and couldn't be a part of the entire album.
Mark Gauri Aayer's vocal arrives on "The Lake", a darker track, and she adds a whole new dimension to the album. Tell us about her initiation and membership in the band.
Rachit :- When I was finished writing the lyrics for "The Lake ", I knew it needed a female voice with slow, sad, dark, ambient, feel . I had heard Gauri singing many times before and she is trained in Indian classical singing. She also has a heavy touch to her vocals. I met her and explained to her what I was expecting out of this song and she delivered. Her voice creates a whole new vibe on the album. After finishing the album recording, I asked her if she wanted to be a part of Symphony Novel and she gladly said yes.
Mark "Disorder" is full of great acoustic guitar. Which style or brand of guitar was used?
Rachit :- The initial acoustic section on "Disorder " was recorded using my Granada steel string guitar which was gifted by my friend around 2 years back.
Mark The power assault on "Infirmity" is excellent as is Aayer's voice. Tell us about how that song was developed as an example of the writing process within the band.
Rachit :- The music for "Infirmity" was composed first and then I had written the lyrics. I have followed this process for the entire album. When I approached Gauri for this she was initially a bit skeptical on how her vocals would sound as the music is really heavy. But then after a few rehearsals she was convinced that it would sound very unique, exquisite and intense. She has done a wonderful job and complete justice to the track.
Mark Who are your favorite artists? Would you consider guest artists on your next album?
Rachit :- The artists I listen belong to are from all different genres like Nirvana, Alterbridge, Pearl Jam, Stone Sour, Porcupine Tree, Opeth, Tool, A Perfect Circle, Dissection, Arch Enemy, Textures, Ravi Shankar, Zakir Hussian, Frederic Mesnier, Ana Vidovic, and many more. Yes, I would definitely consider guest artists on the next studio album . Let's see how it goes. Hoping for the best
Mark Do you have plans to play Aria live? Where do you plan to tour?
Rachit :- Yes we do have plans to play ARIA live in December 2013 in Mumbai. The dates will be finalized soon. I have plans of touring in India and would love to take this band international as soon as possible. That's the dream..!!
Mark What is next for Symphony Novel?
Rachit :- As of now we are promoting the album extensively and the response is outstanding. We have a lot of fans from around the world and I am glad our hard work has started to pay-off. Touring is definitely on the books. I am composing new stuff and will be entering the studio next year with another batch of songs which will take Symphony Novel to a massive new level
Mark Is there anything else you would like to discuss about the album or the band?
Rachit :- I would like to thank a lot of people without whom this album wouldn't have been possible. Gino Banks and Sheldon D' Silva have guided me from the start to the end. They got me in touch with Aslam Khan and our entire album was recorded, mixed and mastered by him. Aslam has done a brilliant job and working with him is so much fun. He understands what you want and delivers it. Gino Banks and Sheldon D' Silva also got me in touch with Virendra Kaith, our drummer and Jerson Anthony for bass. They are amazing musicians and most importantly connect with Symphony Novel. My friend and guitar player Vivek Khati is an amazing person to work with. With Gauri on vocals, Symphony Novel has chiseled out to the band I always wanted..!! I would also like to thank Parth Daga from Parth Daga Studios and Preet Rajput for shooting and editing the Official Music Video for "Chant ". The whole concept of showing Cyriac painting the Symphony Novel logo makes this music video worth watching
!!.. Please do watch and spread the word..:) I would also like to thank you Mark for such an amazing first review on the Sea Of Tranquility.org. It was a great opportunity given to us. Cheers..!!
(Click here to read our review of Aria)