A multi-instrumentalist, producer and composer from Detroit, Boston and more recently from Bombay, India, Sid Vashi’s musicality is as vast as his influences. He grew up listening to the staples of the ‘60s such as Giant steps and Kind of Blue and Gerry Mulligan. Their music became his gateway to the world of jazz at the age of 10. ‘I chose to play the baritone sax because I wanted to sound like Gerry. I was also really lucky to have had a good jazz education from a very young age, which kept me interested long enough to actually become a decent player,’ says Vashi. The next defining moment came when his debut LP, Motherland Tourism reached far and wide while Vashi was still in college.
‘Until recently, I mostly identified as an instrumentalist rather than a producer, but that’s changing a little bit. I’m realising now that the power of a song doesn’t come from notes and rhythms but from how they are arranged. Even with something as simple as a voice and a guitar, there’s a difference between Nick Drake and those awful acoustic cover albums you hear in cafes sometimes. So a lot of my focus has been on creating environments that uniquely represent me and the ideas I want to convey. So far I’ve been using a lot of field recordings I took from travelling around India as well as samples from some of the Bollywood records I grew up with, but now I find myself moving back to instruments. Let’s see how it goes. ‘
‘I’m currently creating a lot of new music but I’m not sure what it’s going to sound like yet. I started gigging about six months ago, and now my focus is on evolving my live show and finishing a new album, which should be out in September. I’m working with a couple of visual artists for my shows which I’m really excited about. I think the independent scene is in a great place right now in the sense that there’s opportunity everywhere and people are really trying to experiment and innovate, but frankly people don’t expect much. My goal before going to med school is to change that.’
Text Hansika Lohani Mehtani