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Interviews |  03 Oct 2017 16:27 |  By Kavita Yadav

I would never call the music on 'This is Us' to be Indian: Siddhartha Khosla

MUMBAI: Singer-songwriter-music producer Siddhartha Khosla has the Midas touch, for anything that he steps into turns gold, just like his band Goldspot. The talented man is currently in news for producing background score of Golden Globe, Critics Choice and Emmy Award winning show This Is Us.

Apart from This Is Us, Khosla has worked on Lionsgate TV drama The Royals, the musical film Basmati Blues. His songs have been featured on numerous TV shows like How I Met Your Mother, The OC, The Neighbors, major brand advertising campaigns like Google, Target, Apple and films like Today's Special.

Currently, he is working on This Is Us S2 and the world wants to know, what are the ingredients that he has added to this seasons music. Well, he answers the questions here. 

In an interview with Radioandmusic, Khosla talks about This Is Us, song making process for him and plans for Goldspot. Excerpts.

What are your plans for This Is Us S2?  

It's been a lot of great momentum going in season 2 of This Is Us. We have such an incredible fan base that loves the show and loves the music of the show. I'm just excited to continue where we left off. This season is going to be even bigger and better than before. The description and the stories are so compelling, as they always are. It will be basically what people are used to seeing and hearing, they are going to see more of it this season. And I’m not going to lie; there will hopefully be more time for me, when I take a break to work on some of my own Goldspot material.

"People connect to the raw emotion and the emotiveness of the music"

You’re known to mix the Indian elements into your music and your audience seems extremely receptive to this, but did you face any challenges breaking through initially?

Yeah, I think. I would never call the music on This is Us to be Indian. Maybe there is some subtle part of me that can’t escape it and Indian music is in my blood. There’s going to be a sound that’s distinctly mine and distinctly Goldspot-ish that finds it way on anything that I work on. Especially anything that is emotional and emotive. This Is Us music is very emotive and Indian music is that too. This very Indian music gives me goosebumps.

I haven’t found any difficulties with people. I think people connect to the raw emotion and the emotiveness of the music. I think that’s the beauty, you know. Music does not have a colour. Music is its own kind of medium and art. I think in that sense people have embraced it, they’re experiencing something they’re listening to and feeling the emotions.

"I used to sleep with my guitar in my bed"

How did you come across the opportunity to work on This is Us?

Well, I’ve had my band Goldspot for many years and Goldspot has been played in a lot of radio stations in the US. Especially in LA, there are a lot of film producers and directors and a lot of people have been familiar with the music of our band out here. That has kind of been my early introduction. So, people are becoming fans of my music outside of film and television. That helped always! It also helps when you have friends in the business. My friend Dan Fogelman invited me to score one of his other projects a few years ago and since then we started working on a lot of stuff. He created This Is Us and he approached me when he’d written the script for the pilot. And he asked me to read it and write down a piece of music that he could listen to after I’d read it. And I wrote this piece of music that inspired the sound of the show.

What made you take up this show in particular?

It was one of the best scripts I’ve ever read. I was literally in tears after I read the script. I was so moved by it. I also know Dan Fogelman’s work and he is one of the most prolific screenwriters of our generation. I had faith and truth that this will be a great project and I believed in it. I was moved by his script to write a six minute piece of music and that tells you something.

"This Is Us is a project where I’m on deadlines and I have to turn in an episode every week"

Did you know about the success of the show early-on?

No, I didn’t know it was going to be a hit. I had no idea. All I knew that it was good. I knew that I was entering a project that was going to be artistically sound. I knew that it was a beautiful piece of art.  That’s all my motivation is. I work on projects that are artful and have perspective and a vision and that are original. That’s what this show did for me. I had no idea it would be a hit. You never know. It’s very rare, it’s once in a blue moon that something like this becomes a hit, you know. This is one of those cases. This is lightning in a bottle.

What is the song-making process for you?

I tend to be most inspired late in the night. All of my Goldspot music was always the case. When we were making albums, I used to sleep with my guitar in my bed. So, I would sometimes wake up with it. This is when I was single. When my wife moved in, my guitar left. But I would sleep with my guitar in my bed and wake up in the middle of the night and be inspired to write something and I would record it quickly on a tape and that was it. Even now for This is Us, I get inspired late but not as late as I used to. I have to sleep and I have kids and well, so. But yeah, the inspiration comes that’s when some of my best inspiration comes. However, this is a project where I’m on deadlines and I have to turn in an episode every week and I’m working all the way from morning to late in the night. But some of my best stuff does come late into the night.

"I do listen to Indian music"

You’ve mentioned before that Kishore Kumar or R.D. Burman have inspired you in the past. Do you still listen to Indian music?

I do listen to Indian music, but I mostly listen to the older stuff when I get a chance. And to be honest, I’m not as familiar with any of the newer stuff. I don’t know as much of what’s going on with India anymore. I know there’s great stuff. Somebody sent me bands music recently, it was good, you know! I can’t remember the name. Some band in India. I thought they were very cool. And it’s very inspiring to see, the next generation of musicians coming up. I wish I knew more.

"I draw my inspiration from great material"

What inspires you to make the music for This is Us?

What inspires me is great writing and a great show and great actors and great performances and feeling the emotional honesty from the show. That’s really it. I feel every word that’s said. It connects to me and lives with me. I draw my inspiration from great material.

"I can probably tell you with a 100 per cent certainty that I will never run a record company"

Soundtracks for series are a growing trend everywhere. Even the Emmys have started a category for music. Do you have any plans to concentrate on this side of the entertainment music business?

If it happens it’ll evolve naturally. We have a This Is Us soundtrack and I add songs on it and play the part and my music has appeared in the soundtrack. I really don’t know. My focus right now is on writing music and being a composer. Those things kind of happen naturally, its part of the process. Am I going to go and run a record company? I don’t think that’s part of my plan. I can probably tell you with a 100 per cent certainty that I will never run a record company. But for me, I am focused on my heart first and foremost.

"I will get to a Goldspot record when I have the time"

Your future projects are The Runaways and Me, Myself & I. How are they coming about? How’s it going for you?

It’s great! I am very fortunate that I get to work on many different shows and films. It’s exciting for me! I get to write different types of music and I have to deliver all of that at a high level and very quickly. I’m on a very tight schedule. It’s a lot of work and a little bit of sleep. But it’s my passion and I am excited to be doing this.

What is happening on the band front? Are you still making music? What are your plans for the future?

Yes, there are some Goldspot tracks that appear on This is Us album and one of them is a different version of Evergreen Cassette. It’s actually my original demo version. Another one is a Peter Gabriel song that I covered. Most of the work is happening slowly. Sometimes there’s This is Us staff and sometimes there’s some other work. I think in time, I will get to a Goldspot record when I have the time. My work schedule right now is 6-7 days a week and all-year round. So, once I have a little bit of a break I can get back to it.

This Is Us S2 premiered on 30 September on Star World in India.