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News |  15 Sep 2016 12:28 |  By Mallika Deb

I canÆt really pinpoint a definite sound till the album and EP are out: Rahul Giri, Sulk Station

MUMBAI: Sulk Station is a Bengaluru based downtempo/electronic duo formed by Rahul Giri and Tanvi Rao in 2009. Their music is all about Tanvi Rao’s intense vocals, minimal beats and homegrown synth sounds. Also, with the traces of Indian classical music, their melodies are a fine blend of contemporary electronic music.

In a straight from the shoulder conversation with Radioandmusic.com, one-half of the duo, Rahul Giri shared bits and pieces of their musical journey, collaborations, his thoughts on electronic music and much more.

In the early days of the duo's journey, recalls Rahul, he was unable to describe his music and was forced to put ‘trip-hop’ as their genre on a press release. No more. In the beginning, it may have been influenced by trip-hop bands like ‘Portishead’, but he now describes their music as downtempo/electronic.

“It’s just a matter of spending time working on stuff more than anything else and just waiting for ‘cool’ to happen.”

Rahul, who has been making electronic music for a while, started performing live with Bengaluru-based band ‘Lounge Piranha’ around 2006 after he connected with them over MySpace. “It was basically the beginning and that started the ball rolling. I was part of the Going Nowhere album, toured with the band for a while as well”, said Rahul.

On creating those trippy, psychedelic and ambient sounds he shared, for him, it’s just a case of getting up and sitting in front of the computer first thing in the morning. “It’s just a matter of spending time working on stuff more than anything else and just waiting for ‘cool’ to happen,” added ‘Aur Nahi’ creator.

Coming back to his collaboration with Tanvi Rao and the duo’s debut LP, he said that he went to the same college with Tanvi and she was quite full of activity in the college music circuit. “Around 2007, I started working with Tanvi. I was quickly drawn to her voice and chased her down till we actually started making music together (smiles). Over the next four-five years, we worked on a bunch of songs, mostly over emails, which were self-released as Till You Appear in early 2012,” shared Rahul.

‘Till You Appear’, the duo’s debut LP also earned them a slot at the World Event Young Artist festival held in Nottingham, UK. The duo is currently working on their second LP. They also showcased their music at Alchemy Festival, Southbank Centre, UK in May 2016.

"I would say it’s more random in terms of sound, but my method, approach, and overall mood are pretty much the same as Sulk Station."

About his solo project _RHL, he said as he has been making electronic music since early 2000, the solo mission was always there in his mind. While talking about the sound of it, he said, “I just kept it on the back burner while working on Till You Appear and touring with the album for the next couple of years. I really can’t say how it’s different. I would say it’s more random in terms of sound, but my method, approach, and overall mood are pretty much the same as Sulk Station. I think I’ll have a clearer picture once I wrap up my EP because right now I am sitting on stuff that is from all over the place, sound wise, intent-wise; it’s unfeasible to put it under any particular category, theme, or motif.”

(Picture Courtesy: Sudhanva Atri)

Rahul, who is pushing the electronic and ambient music scene for more than one decade now, shared his thoughts of the transformation of sound. He said that with ‘Sulk Station’ they are pretty much in the same zone and in the second album he will be focusing more on the piano more than anything else. “I can’t really pinpoint a definite sound till the album and EP are out,” added he.

Though the Independent music prospects are flourishing in India right bit by bit, Rahul believes that the ‘boom’ has a very small radius. He also believes that the output is quite encouraging and there’s a lot of good stuff being put out. He also thinks music is mostly treated as ‘entertainment’ in the scene, and we need more platforms that treat it as an art.

"If you make club-friendly electronic music and are signed to a decent booking agency then you are sorted. Otherwise, it’s tough."

When asked about how difficult is it to be a music producer with originals to succeed in a commercial market, he said, “Well, it depends on what kind of music you make. If you make club-friendly electronic music and are signed to a decent booking agency then you are sorted. Otherwise, it’s tough. Good releases make me happy. Don’t really care about anything else.”

He thinks YouTube has made a major difference as there a lot of channels dedicated to different aspects of making music and one can watch it for free. According to him, this has also resulted in a lot of younger kids creating music as opposed to maybe five years ago.

At the same time, moving towards his favourite artistes and venue he said he is currently listening to Worm’s Cottage, Disco Puppet, Aniruddh Menon, and Aerate Sounds. When it comes to the venue he opted for Bflat, The Humming Tree in Bengaluru and Antisocial in Mumbai as well. In his turn of phrase, there’s not much of a difference, the audience has more or less the same sensibility, but the sound is always a struggle.

His recent venture, his own record label ‘Consolidate’ is a collective which was started back in 2013. It started off as an online community where he used to share music by upcoming music producers mostly from Bangalore. Rahul used to run a monthly gig night at a venue in Bangalore for a short while. End of 2015, he launched ‘Consolidate’ as a record label with a single, and then followed it up with a compilation.

Recently, Worm’s Cottage’s ‘Sophomore’ album was released on ‘Consolidate’. Upcoming releases from the same record label include releases from Disco Puppet, Aniruddh Menon, Aerate Sound, and _RHL.

Lastly, would he like to give some advice to fellow musicians? ‘Don't take any advice,’ he quipped.