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Interviews |  17 Dec 2011 18:43 |  By swapanjari

Imogen Heap: 'Vishal's fascination towards new music impressed me'

British singer-songwriter-producer Imogen Heap who loves to experiment with organic sounds and technology is quiet excited with her Indian ventures. Imogen has been touring India since last year and has been featured in several shows and fest of the country.

The two-time Grammy award winning artiste had collaborated with well-known singer/composer Vishal Dadlani for Star World's musical travelogue �The Dewarists' which has been highly acclaimed across the globe. Her collaborative single �Mind above fear' is one of the much favored tracks of the show.

In a candid interview with's Swagata Panjari, Imogen Heap reveals her experiences of her India tour and her future projects.


How did you get into technology and organic music?

I was always fascinated towards technology and the simple sounds that we listen in our day to day life like the rustling of leaves or the whistling of trains. I decided to use these sounds in my music and fortunately the new technology has helped me to master it.  My fans love my music as they relate to these sounds.

Tell us about your collaborative track �Minds without fear'?

The song is inspired by Rabindranath Tagore's poem �Where the Mind Is without Fear' which Vishal bought to the table. We quiet like the concept and so we implied it into our song. The song has a driving force a kind of dark feel to it which says that there is something to be done to make things right without fear. That's the reason we even titled the track �Minds without fear.'

How was it to collaborate with Vishal Dadlani?

When I met Vishal I was like, â€?I like you' and I could spend three-four days writing a song.'  Vishal's fascination towards new music and sounds was what impressed me. His rock band Pentagram is quite amazing. I know that India is gifted with musical talents and to collaborate with such a talented artiste was quite exciting. He was very cooperative through the nonstop 14 hours of work.

Is there any other musician that you would like to collaborate with?

I would love to collaborate with AR Rahman.  As in my records its sound that matters, the musicians should be really fluid and have a good tone. During the India tour, I have collaborated with several musicians who have those qualities like Nitin Sawhney, Ian Burdge, Rina and Ashwin.

You have been touring India since last year, how was your journey so far?

When I came to India, apart from music the vigor and the warmth of the people appealed to me. I have been touring a lot and all the people who are on tour with me Ian Burdge, Rina and Ashwin whom I met through Nitin Sawhney are absolutely talented. The connection that we have made has ultimately ended up into the song.

Due to the tour, I haven't got much time to explore the country, I have been to few places like Gateway of India and Juhu Beach. Thanks to Dewarist, I got an opportunity to roam a bit in Rajasthan. I loved their folk music and harmonies; there was music shop which displayed various musical instruments. I tried playing several Indian classical instruments including 200 year old harmonium.  On my way back home I would never forget the warm and fuzzy feeling that I have received from India.

In Nokia Music Connect you demonstrated a unique pair of musical gloves. Shed some light on the functioning of the gloves.

In Nokia Music Connect, it was for the first time that I demonstrated my musical gloves and I think audiences quite like it. The high tech musical gloves connect an interface to a live musical production system controlled entirely with hand gestures. It was developed by Dr. Thomas Mitchell, a lecturer and researcher at the University of the West of England. The gloves can record, synthesize and manipulate live on stage sounds by intuitive hand movements.

How did the idea to develop high-tech musical glove come up?

It is always tiring to carry several instruments whenever you are on tour and even during the live shows the technical glitches hampers the show. I always wanted an instrument that can execute the work of several instruments. So the idea of high-tech gloves was put forward.

You have played several instruments, which device do you use the most?

Generally, I use keyboard the most as it gives me access to a lot of other sounds. I also enjoy playing acoustic piano, but one of my favorite instrument is my gloves.

Tells us about your recently released crowd sourced single …

That is the most interesting and favored single for me, as it is made by my fans. My team uploaded a contest on social networking site, asking my fans to submit or upload the most unusual sounds. I received thousands of sounds out of which I selected the most unique sounds and applied it in my music. It was something that was done to pay tribute to my fans.

As an artiste you are highly active on social networking sites, you recorded 40 video blogs while producing your record. What are your views on the digitalization of music?

For me my fans are everything. I make music for them and digitalization has given me an opportunity to connect with my fans.  Those 40 blogs mentioned above were one of my ways to involve my fans in the process of making new record, including the brick-by-brick building of a home-based studio.

Shed light on your crowd sourced film 'Love the Earth'

Over 1,000 people submitted nature-related film footage which was edited and compiled into a 32-minute film on my composition. I also performed that music at the Royal Albert Hall with a 100-piece orchestra and a 30-person choir (which included my mum).

What are your future projects?

To name a few, I have been working on a sound track for a film in Bhutan. Then I will be doing a tour in China Then, there is an album which will release in March 2012 and I will also be releasing a 12-page, virtual 3D kind of digital document for the album.