'I can't run away from myself'

ROCKING AWAY

'I can't run away from myself'

Susmit Sen has come a long way since his tryst with music. The lead guitarist of ‘Indian Ocean’ came up with his ensemble, ‘Susmit Sen Chronicles’, for his solo album, ‘Depths of the Ocean’.

While the signature undertones of Indian fusion rock are definitely present and have seeped into the album, his music cannot be placed into a neatly-boxed genre. Metrolife catches up with the musician for a chat.

Most of the songs are over a decade old but the album was compiled and released only in December and it finally went on tour this August. “Everything should have coincided but it didn’t because of bad management, to be honest.

But let’s look at it in a positive way – it happened!” says the optimistic musician. “The concept was there with me for as long as I can remember. But I was busy with ‘Indian Ocean’ and managed to take out time to record only last year,” he adds.

When one thinks of a solo album, one would expect only that musician playing the instrument of his choice in it.

But in this album, Susmit has collaborated with artistes like Shubha Mudgal, Papon, Sari Roy and Nitin Malik among others to give it an interesting twist. “It did cross my mind that I could just do solo guitar but that usually works for guitar connoisseurs.
I think I’m first a musician and then a guitarist. When I think of a composition, I’m thinking of a complete arrangement,” shares Susmit.

The album is named after the title track, which was composed six years before ‘Indian Ocean’ was even formed.

Back then, it was Susmit’s brother who had given the piece its name. A few years later, he co-founded a two-member band comprising himself and the late Asheem Chakravarty, which was christened ‘Indian Ocean’ by his father.

The album has been criticised for having a typical ‘Indian Ocean’ sound. But as Susmit explains, that was rather inevitable. “‘Indian Ocean’ was started by me and initially, it was just my compositions. Slowly, people started coming in and it became like a workshop where everyone would pitch in.

I can’t run away from myself,” remarks Susmit.

“Others may not see it but I know that the compositions are very different. When compositions happen for a musician, you can’t keep it within you. You have to let it out! For whatever reasons, these songs just didn’t come into the realms of ‘Indian Ocean’.”

Be it with the collaborations for this album or the ensemble he is touring with, Susmit enjoys the idea of musical conversations. He also confesses to be quite picky when it comes to choosing musical company.

“I have to go for the people and not just their skills as musicians. I think you have to be a beautiful person before you can produce good music. Unless and until you’re a good human being, you can’t interact the way you need to,” says Susmit with a smile.

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