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Interviews |  15 Sep 2017 14:09 |  By Mihir Samant

If there is quality thought put into music then it will definitely do well: Abhijit Vaghani

MUMBAI: "The Alchemist possesses the art of gildening but only a Goldsmith can scratch gold from the darkest mines", this wonderful quote perfectly defines music producer- composer Abhijit Vaghani.

The multi- talented Abhijit Vaghani is a music composer who has created a niche for himself in the music industry. He is known as the man behind the music, he has been the music producer for movies like Jab We Met, Love Aaj Kal, Kurbaan, Anjaana Anjaani and many more.

With a career span of sixteen years, Vaghani has certainly built a reputation for himself in this industry by working with some renowned names like Salim-Suleiman, Pritam, Sanjoy Chowdhury and more. Vaghani made it big for himself with T-Series’ biggest live music project Mixtape, where he composed the entire show.

Radioandmusic spoke to the composer about his musical journey and more. Excerpts.

Tell us about your Mixtape experience.

There were only four people who actually handled the entire project till the last edit. We were the only people who used to meet every night to jam and find solutions to the problems. Gradually, music started becoming the way it is on Mixtape. We featured some rare instruments like Sarod, Esraj, Sarangi, et al.

You too got to experience a few new things with Mixtape.

I sang for the first time which was pretty exciting. I just wanted to taste the water and wanted to see if people like my vocal, and they did, so I am happy.  I was also camera shy and I had a set fear, but here, when I took the first step on the set, the fear vanished. I was cleaning up the sets, picking up rubbish; I was literally the stage director. I was not just a music director at Mixtape. Obviously when it is your baby then you don’t give a damn, so I did that. I even did editing. Mixtape was overall a learning experience, there was, of course, bearing their nakhras (tantrums) also, but it was an enchanting experience.

So, can we say that you’ve mastered singing and certain musical instruments now?

I am not a master of anything, my instrument is the computer, but like how everybody says I can play, but I won’t say that I am a professional. I am a better producer than a musician; I don’t want to perform live, though I am considering singing. My expertise lies in production and if you ask me to produce a track then I will nail it. Singing wise I am not confident, so I don’t display much.

How did the Mixtape deal really work with T-Series? There is S2 in the pipeline.

T-Series has always supported me and it’s been a pleasure working with them. People have myths about T-Series that they are a mafia company and they don’t care about music and they just want to make money. That’s not true. They do listen if you are confident. Budget wise there are some issues, but reputation wise they will never let you down. I remember doing Wajah Tum Ho with them and there was no creative interference whatsoever. They let you do things your way and that’s why these properties turn out to be a success.

Tell us a bit about Mixtape S2.

We have already made an official announcement of it, we thought that 17 episodes which we did for the first season were a bit too much, but for the first time, it was nice to establish a base. So, for this season it would be twelve or maximum fourteen episodes. We might feature some YouTubers who have made it big. Last season we featured Shirley (Setia), we will have more such singers in the new season. We are also planning Mixtape Punjabi.

Bhushan Kumar confirms 'Mixtape Season 2'

Mixtape was all about remakes. Do you like remakes or you prefer making original scores?

I reduced doing background scoring because I love tracks, the love for them is insane, if anyone gives me an option, that for a movie I have to compose or handle the production, I will choose production. My take is that if there is a quality thought put into the music then it will definitely do well, but it has to be in the ‘dayra’ of respecting the original song. A remake is technically an outlook to that particular song but the criteria are different. If you want to make a sad song or you want to make a club song, so it depends on what the vision of client is, but if you yourself are a client then think sensibly, understand it, don’t speed up the vocal to such a space where you can’t understand it because that’s spoiling the popularity of your song. 

Apart from Bollywood and Independent music space, what more is Abhijit Vaghani doing?

I am trying to live a family life; along with that, I am also encouraging a lot of activities among the musicians because I am from the industry.  We try to engage in activities, we meet up, play cricket and things like that.

Did you always want to make a career in music industry?

It wasn’t a dream; it was a hobby since my childhood. When I was three years old, we were in a toy shop in Singapore, when I noticed a keyboard. It was kept according to my height and I started playing Happy Birthday out of the blue. My mom caught on it and she bought me that keyboard. We were not from a well to do family, my father passed away when I was two years old and all responsibilities came to my mom. I with my two elder sisters, we have had our enough share of staying hungry. Actually, from my mother’s side, my uncles helped me in buying keyboards, which were gifts from them and we accepted it as we had no choice. But I am thankful to my uncle for showing me a right path unintentionally and putting me on my merit path.

Was there ever a time in your life, where you lost hope?

I lost hope once in my early stages when I was not getting a job. At 20 I tried working at a call centre; it was Orange at that time, which is now Vodafone. So, I tried my hand in that and I was chosen for it from 50 people. It was the first day of my work when I had to make my first call, I picked up the phone receiver, I dialed the number, the other guy said 'hello' and I kept the phone down. I told the team head that I was going for lunch; I stepped out of the gate. I stood in the sun for five minutes and I told myself that music is the only thing which I can do. So, that was the only time I lost hopes.

Personalities that influenced you to take up music?

Pritam, Salim- Sulaiman and Sanjoy Chowdhury.

Which is your favourite composition, made by your mentors?

My favourite of Salim Merchant is Ali Maula, and for Pritam, it is Channa Mereya and I have so many times told him that I like this composition of him.