All about the bass

Last Updated : 08 October 2015, 19:03 IST

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Akshay Johar, who is popularly known as ‘MojoJojo’, has spent the last decade working on his music, and is now set to release his debut album — ‘Shots Fired’.

Not one to be enticed by labels, no matter how colourful they seem, he has tried his hand at different genres of music and has come up with an interesting mix of electronic sounds. Talking about the album and his sounds, the bassist says that he has put in a lot of effort into this.

“I have been writing and conceptualising this album for a year now. It is an amalgamation of a decade of me being a musician. The first track is called ‘Storm’,” he says. His musical journey began when he was 10 and has taken him on the most interesting route. “I started playing the piano when I was 10 because my mother didn’t want me to sit at home during summer vacations. So, it started as a hobby and throughout my teenage years, I was viciously passionate about it.”

But he had no plans of becoming a musician. “I began studying engineering but I realised it wasn’t working out. I enjoyed it but I didn’t relate to it. In my college days, I was in various bands and that’s when it struck me that this (playing music) is what makes me happy. It was very much like the plot of ‘3 Idiots’,” he says, laughing.

How did he turn from a pianist to a bassist who loves his electronic sounds? “Those days, I listened to a lot of grunge, alternative rock and metal. I was passionate about bands like ‘Red Hot Chili Peppers’, ‘Nirvana’, ‘Iron Maiden’ and ‘Metallica’, and hip-hop artistes like Eminem and Tupac. Over the last decade, I’ve experimented with everything — from R&B, funk and metal to Bollywood and North Indian folk songs; when I started playing electronic music, I didn’t have an idea of how it should sound. I started listening to different musicians and it all came together,” says Akshay.

Elaborating further, he adds, “When I was in college, I also dabbled with music production. I came by this bootleg copy of Fruityloops, a digital audio workstation, and started horsing around with sounds. I quickly realised how liberating it can be to record entire melodies. I have a strong sense of melody and rhythm so it was effortless to create a session.”

It was clear from the beginning that he was meant to experiment. “I didn’t play Beethoven or Mozart on the piano; instead I’d play rock music. Then I switched over to an acoustic guitar and the bass.” With the bass, he found something that neither the piano nor the acoustic guitar could give him.

 “The bass is an instrument that I can make melodies with and handle the groove. While percussion instruments rely on the rhythm and guitars produce melodies, the bass does both. The bass was taking over the world music scene and there were bass-heavy songs coming out.”

His first EP stands proof of this, where he mixed Bollywood sounds with bass-heavy riffs. This is when he discovered his voice as a musician. “I was crawling and still a baby when my first EP came out. But with this album, I’ve grown a lot. The album is the storyof my fundamental feelings over the years and has a strong, personal attachment to my subconscious,” ends Akshay.

The album, which features other artistes like Tanya Nambiar, Mahima Dayal Mathur, Chetan Dominic Awasthi and Reisa Nongrum, will be launched today, 9 pm onwards, at Church Street Social.

Published 08 October 2015, 13:51 IST

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