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News |  24 Nov 2020 12:59 |  By Tolika Yeptho

Antariksh's 'Raahiya' talks about uncertainty and fragility of life

MUMBAI: After receiving great responds on their October release titled “Jee Le Zara” Indian Hindi Rock Band Antariksh’s released new single “Raahiya” taking our love for Pop/Rock music from the 80s and 90s.

At the beginning of the second decade of 2000s the band’s founder and vocalist Varun Rajput along with his friends & former bandmates (Mridul and GT) felt the need to bridge the gap between their two favourite styles: progressive rock and Indian contemporary sounds in their mother tongue-Hindi.

The brainchild of Music composer, singer, and guitar player Varun Rajput, Antariksh is a premier Hindi- Rock act based out of New Delhi, India. Alongside Rajput, the line-up of the band rated by MTV, as one of the best rock artists in India, includes Joshua Peter (Keyboards & Vocals), Dan Thomas (Drums) and Shrikant Biswakarma (Guitars).

Could you tell us about “Raahiya” and what message does it convey?

The idea to create “Raahiya” came to us in late 2018 when Joshua and I were re-visiting some old MLTR (Michael Learns To Rock) ballads and appreciating the cool chord changes and simplicity in melodies. We thought it’d be fun to attempt to write something in that zone but in a modern context and that’s how “Raahiya” came to be. As usual, with a few iterations it was layered with Antariksh’s signature sound and lyrics. “Raahiya” talks about uncertainty & fragility of life and with the ongoing pandemic and all that we’ve seen in the last 6 months, it feels even more relevant in today’s times. It encourages people to not be lured by all the stimulus around us - rather to pursue what's truly important and create a life full of purpose and meaning. It’s a reminder to self to take breaks, reflect on situations and take positive action instead of just reacting to situations. The song features our dear friends and incredible musicians, Abhay Sharma on Saxophone (Revisit Project) and Gaurav Chintamani (Advaita) on bass.

Fun fact: The inspiration behind lyrics for most of Antariksh's songs till date including Raahiya comes from my experiences and learning from a meditation technique/philosophy called Vipassana.

Watch here:

Tell us more about yourselves as a band, the idea behind forming a band? Your bond with each other. Please elaborate.

Although I've been a part of the independent music circuit since 2006 playing Progressive Rock/Metal music with my earlier bands Feedback and Under Siege, the idea to form Antariksh and take up music full time came in mid-2012 when I quit my corporate career. Antariksh started out in 2012 as an experiment to bridge the gap between our love for progressive rock and contemporary Hindi music. We wanted to create our own, unique brand of Indie rock music and present it to a wide variety of audiences. Over the years we’ve experimented with various line-ups, live act formations/musical styles and fortunately or unfortunately, I’ve been the only person whose kind of stuck it out for Antariksh's entire life-span. The present line-up features Shrikant Biswakarma on the guitars, Dan Thomas on drums. Joshua Peter takes care of the keyboards and programming, and I take up the vocal duties, guitars, production.

Although we all come from very different musical backgrounds as well as age-groups, I think the bond between us is really amazing and there’s a lot of positive energy and respect for each other which I believe comes from everyone, fundamentally being a really good person. In case you have seen the BTS/Bloopers section of our new video for Raahiya, you’d know that we guys have a crazy time full of laughter, madness every time and general tomfoolery every time we meet.

Could you tell us about your music and what have been your challenges together?

We started out by releasing our debut album ‘Khoj’ in 2013 which was a passionately crafted musical journey capturing intense emotions and moments through hard, edgy Hindi Rock music. Post that we put out a series of live videos from our performance at the Music Mojo on Kappa TV and more recently, we’ve put out 4 singles (Raahiya, Jee Le Zara, Fanaah and Kaahe Re). With the pandemic going on and live concerts taking a back-seat, we’re focusing on finishing and releasing a lot of new music - so, there’s a lot in store. Hopefully, at least a song a month for the next 6 months.

Talking about challenges, well there are so many. Ha! As an independent artist, I guess we’ve learnt to live with quite a few but then there are some which still give us nightmares. In fact, with the drastic change in scenario over the last 8-9 months, the very definition of challenges might have changed. The biggest one, however, continues to be marketing your music well getting it to reach out to enough people. Also, with live concerts (primary source of income for most musicians) drying up and everyone’s focus shifting to writing and releasing music, many musicians are realizing how poorly structured the music industry and music business are, given the peanuts that an artist makes from streaming websites. I don’t want to sound pessimistic here but I think recording and releasing music is not even a viable thing anymore for most people. 99% of the artists spend way more recording, releasing and marketing their songs than they ever recover from any royalty, which sometimes makes you question why one should even release music in today’s age. I think that’s also the primary reason that most musicians succumb to the situation and just end up being cover artists. As for me, the only reason I continue to put out new music is for the gratification that exists in the process of bringing a musical idea to life through the stages of recording, mixing and marketing a new track. I might have digressed a bit but if you ask about the challenges we face as a band - well, since most members we’ve had have been session musicians working with multiple artists, like a lot of other acts, we’ve also faced rehearsal scheduling and gig availability issues during busy times.

Upcoming projects?

The plan at the moment is to release a new single every month. We are also collaborating with some incredible artists from across the globe and are really excited to put out the next few tracks. Other than that, over the last couple of years, we recorded a bunch of our concerts - so we also plan to put out live versions of some of our existing songs sometime in the future.