'Artists' sensibilities make a collaboration work'

Often described as a “visionary composer and producer”, 42-year-old Karsh Kale has been able to carve a niche for himself in the world of electronic fusion. From composing dance grooves to compositions for Bollywood movies like Luck and Kambakkht Ishq; to electronic music and Indian classical music, Kale stands-out for his ever-evolving sound creation and fusion of different genres.

Along with his upcoming album UP, he now looks forward to performing at ‘The Great Indian Golchakkar’, a festival celebrating the musical, artisanal and gastronomical culture of modern India, which will be held in the capital from February 5-7.
He talks to Metrolife about the relevance of such festivals and the “evolution of music”.
Excerpts:

How does a platform like Great Indian Golchakkar inspire you to perform?
I think what is happening in India is similar to what happened in the States in the late ’60s, where there was a true music revolution on the rise. These festivals reflect the output of artists today and the audience that are demanding new music. Now it’s India’s time to rise in all directions and these festivals are at the centre of this revolution.

What do you feel about the changing face of Indian music culture, where bands and artists like Nucleya, Hari and Sukhmani and Advaita are flourishing?
For both the audience and the artist, people are far more diverse than the industry gives them credit to be. People are demanding better music, better concerts and better concert venues as there is a movement away from the same old mainstream stuff that has been served up for so long. A lot of the ‘indie’ artists that are getting recognition today, have been doing this for a long time. They are not new artists and it should be acknowledged that years of struggle have brought us to this revolutionary time of music in India.

Which album has been the closest to you?
My new album, UP has been a rather personal journey. The inspiration for the album was the journey I took since the release of my last album, Cinema. After a whirlwind couple of years of touring and doing TV shows, I started feeling like I was spreading myself too spread thin; living between NYC and India equally, going back and forth almost
monthly. I also started feeling musically lost trying to find balance between being a tabla player, drummer, composer, DJ, music director for so many years navigating all those worlds separately and bringing it all together in my work. UP is about finding the space above all the noise, UP is about finding clarity in the noise.

What about Bollywood projects? Do you plan to enter Bollywood completely?
Films allow you to step outside yourself and try on other hats, and perhaps play other roles as a musician and composer. I have been interested in film music since childhood and Bollywood is just another outlet or medium for me to express myself.

It would be as interesting to score some more crossovers, independent or even Hollywood films, but I’m not in any rush to jump into another Bollywood project. I get far more satisfaction working on my own music and performing live.

Whom do you credit for the success of your album, Breathing Under Water?
Artists’ sensibilities make a collaboration work. Anoushka (Shankar) is many things at once... she is a girl who grew up in Delhi learning classical music, listening to trance with her friends, along with being in England and America, interacting with all worlds at once.  I find myself drawn to artists who don’t simply represent one thing, but can see the world from different perspectives.  

You have collaborated with the band MIDIval Punditz several times. Why so?
The Punditz and I have always challenged each other, since we come from such different backgrounds; yet we have so much in common that it was always a natural fit for us to default into a band situation. When I work with them, we always have big ideas about music and it takes the three of us to manifest those ideas into musical realities.

Over the years, we have furthered our partnership into a live touring band playing material from all our past albums as well as a production team for film and other projects called MPKK.

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