We connected with the artist to know more about him and his new album.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your venture towards the work of music?
My name is Inder Pal Singh Takshak, IP Singh in short or just IP for my friends and listeners. I have been a musician since my school days. I started performing by doing musical score for traditional and contemporary puppet shows. It began in Tilonia S.W.R.C Rajasthan, one of India’s oldest. In Delhi I began working with Anurupa Roy at Katkatha puppet art trust. From there I spent close to 14 years, producing a daily dose of satirical puppet show at NDTV called Gustakhi Maaf and The Great Indian Tamasha. You must be wondering why am I sharing the entire story. Well one needs multiple and diverse passions to feed one another! Like a train that needs two tracks to travel, along with puppetry was music. I spent my time as a musician with Menwhopause, a revered band from Delhi and we released 3 full length albums and an EP. Menwhopause was also recognised as the best rock band in India by Jack Daniel’s Rock Awards. I am also a certified music therapist and am doing my work in the field of brainwave entrainment. I also work as a sound design educator and run a small studio where I provide music score for audio visual medium. And when it comes to sharing and educating I am a visiting faculty at MCRC Jamia Millia Islamia University, Delhi.
You’ve been a part of Menwhopause for a long while. What led you towards releasing your first solo album?
Evolution is inevitable. I had seeded a deep rooted love for stringed instruments. It came organically to me because as an acoustic guitar player I could do crazy thumping, create relentless rhythms and cradle like melodies. I started buying and collecting stringed instruments which had a different sound. A tambur (turkish stringed instrument) makes one even more curious sounds. These instruments for me were a totally different trip altogether. I use my instruments as texture, soundscape, main riff and a diverse engine of sound in itself.
So I started culminating my vision into an album. Zither was the first song I made in a line-up of songs. And I instantly knew it was an album and the ship sailed on this immersive album. I loved the title The Wild Blue Yonder a dive into the far distance of what I want to discover with sounds and music. It has a taste of the different instruments that I play. I used the purest instincts as I mixed a range of instruments, some taking the foreground and some creating an ambient convoluted and complex mix of arrangements, carrying each song like a story.
Walk us through the making of The Wild Blue Yonder. (ideation, music, story)
The idea was to capture the sound of a zen-sphere. I was born in Delhi and while growing up here I remember waiting at the bus stop for the next DTC bus sometimes for 45 minutes with almost no cars and an occasional Lambretta scooter carrying an entire family. It was basically not so dense a city. Now an explosion of sheer mass and scale has occurred as a smoggy capital in Oct-Nov is now called The NCR. A city so eager to function in a grind of chaos, filled with love and hate, ups and downs, daily combat and truce. The idea was to make an album which gives you a taste of peaceful truce kind of a bubble. Something to have as a light focus and a listening experience which is layered with dynamics of relaxed sounds but inspired by chaos all around. It’s my green pill kind of music. Zither was the first melody I made, Zither is a class of stringed instruments. The word Zither is a German rendering of the Greek word cithara, from which the modern word "guitar" also derives.
To share more about the tracks , here is a brief note on them all
Shaft: The window that lets one see and feel the light. Beginning of a voyage, it sets the pace for the soundscape which is about to come. Peaceful deception of dark and a clear sound of a tiny music instrument called Guitalele taking backstage and foreground has minimal beats and textures synthesised and a tweaked vocal melody phrase.
Beam: Its a zen garden of joy, to be able to see clearly and play around in the utopian lake. thats what this in the sky floating garden has . water flowing backwards .Cotton like flying ladybugs. Melodic arrangements comprising of various synthesised instruments mainly ‘Bandura’ a stringed Ukrainian instrument.
Starlit: A walk in a desert, lost and trying to get familiar with each deja vu.The groove and the sound of an OUD just draws one in, as if the Djinns are out to dance with you. The fire has no time to turn into ash, the night lit with stars burning bright like fire.
A Mother's Lullaby: A memory tucked away in the childlike phase of life, which had no fear. Being guarded and as if a mother sang a song each hour just to stay asleep knowing theres nothing that gonna harm you. But you have to wake up and seize the day. The muted guitars melding in with sequence of drums and an Irish Bouzouki leading the thought.
Birth of a Moth: A gentle reminder of the insect life how it starts , how short it is , asking myself why do Moths live just to be attracted to fire and thats the last dance, what is this why does it happen. A wailing texture from my electric guitar mixed with Tibetan shaman singing bowls beat sequence guiding the Irish Bouzouki. The track sums up with synthesised overture of Indian Pakhawaj one of my favourite percussion instrument.
Once upon a Night: Mayflies - life span 24 hrs, thats a metaphor, but ya a man and a woman singing till they consume each other. Warped vocal phrases conversing with each other as main male and female protagonists. The track is opened by a phrase recorded on a Japanese Shakuhachi Flute.
Wasp: The vicious relentless wasp , out at night . Its as if a new dawn will never come. It’s a track where keys and a vocal grunt meets a didgeridoo. Dark and dirty synth with a very neo-punk bump to get down to the core of dirt.
Firefly: Firefly is the track that i thought as an anchor for the vision. An ensemble of minimalistic beat and phrase rendition on a Guitalele massively transposed with soothing effects. And the sounds of the night where fireflies roam. Humble tanpura drone to keep the atmospheric tranquility.
Zither: A cosmic flight , pretty much where the album was suppose to sum , in the expanse of the place where time exists differently. A staccato yet evolving synth with Reverse patters played on various stringed instruments in my collection.
Pi 3.14 π: Pi 3.14 π , is a teaser for the next story , the sound for the next album .Rock and roll drums and two Guitars in 2 octave pitching together and a nomadic clap sequence to keep the voyage going .This track is the Album waiting in the wings for me.
The album is accompanied by a stunning animated video of one of the tracks called Firefly. What was the inspiration behind this video and how was it conceived?
Let me start by saying I love anime! From old Manga to the new and upcoming and more lifelike cgi. And simply put, I have an undying love the old hand flip books, stop-frame animations from Ek - Chidiya to ‘Jiri Trnka’ to Porco Rosso by Miyazaki to ‘The Great Yokai War’ by Takashi Miike to BT -‘This Binary Universe’, my list of inspirations and stylisation is quite long. This video was about a tiny light emitting firefly. I remember I was mesmerised when I saw one for the first time. Like a little jungle fairy. To be humble to life-forms in our cities is a far-fetched goal for a repetitive urban rat race. Tiny insects who have their own mysterious life spans, to an extent we humans are no different.We are like Insects, almost a blip on the timeline of the universe. I wanted to anchor as many natural phases of the life and harmony as possible. Firefly is the track that I thought of as an anchor for the vision. I teach animation students sound design and Shubhankar Mehta was one of my students who has a brilliant sense of art in anime and was suggested by Dr. Atul my friend and an Anime professor at MCRC Jamia. I had already written and drafted the anime teaser 2 years ago with Bhanu Pratap an animator who I met at Comicon. Animation is a long process , and trust me I mean it. But the end result is so yummy. The story is set in the future, where digital consumption is the very essence that fuels the human race. The planet is run by Firefly AlienGods, one rogue firefly-god from a god’s assembly line finds its target-the protagonist. The Protagonist who is offered a reality seeking serum in a green shade. The aliens reach the man immediately and push him into the void of space, where he keeps falling and then enters a wormhole tunnel which transports him to the world of the alien Firefly god. The world of the aliens is different from his own world. The protagonist is shocked and surprised with this experience. He is in his soul form without any body. He feels scared as he observes his surroundings. The protagonist discovers a utopian island in the air and is mysteriously convinced to reach it. He makes a jump to his destination and starts levitating towards it. As he feels optimistic and glad of his situation, the ground shakes and few hands plunge out of the ground. These alien hands grab the levitating man and pull him back to the ground. The aliens start to eat his soul and the blood is spraying everywhere. For a moment the protagonist resists but in the end he lets things go on and is eaten completely. The island in the bubble is still levitating in the sky. The ground of the island opens up and his soul is of a different colour. The protagonist had a face expression of stress and anger before the abduction. Now the protagonist has a face of a calm human being. He smells the fresh air of his surroundings.
Lastly what’s next?
Next up is a Video for the track ‘Beam’ from Wild Blue Yonder with an ally Dipeet Paul another fantastic animator, is creating a video for the track.
Track called Pi 3.14 π was a sample tease to next album which I wanted a gap-less story a tale of spoken words kind of a vision. I will jump into it with a writer or a singer songwriter or someone who has got an untold story. Ideas are brewing and I have patience, I like to be in a ‘No-hurry’ phase. Probably will get some vinyls made by my Bros at Amarass Records . And I am just enjoying a good spin of my album, looking in to The Wild Blue Yonder.