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'People still think that guitar and bass are the same'

Mohini Dey says that indie music scene in India is looking good, but people need to be made more aware

Type ‘bass prodigy in India’ into Google and only Mohini Dey’s name pops up. No wonder that the bass guitar wizard counts AR Rahman and Zakir Hussain among her fans.

Mohini, trained in bass guitar since the age of ten, is one of the world’s youngest bass guitarists. She has played with legendary names all across the world and continues to impress the world with her musical journey.

Mohini recently mentored the band ‘Ape Echoes’ for the new season of Bacardí House Party Sessions; they came up with ‘Hold Tight’. Rajitha Menon talked to her about the creation of the track and her plans.

As a mentor, how did you guide your team in making ‘Hold Tight’?
They had a rough idea of how they wanted the song to sound. Together, we reviewed the prototype and I gave them my inputs on how I would have approached it. I didn’t want to completely take over the track because I strongly feel that if it’s your creation, it is your voice that should shine through. The final song is entirely their work, infused with a few of my ideas.

How did you go about making the video?
The credit for the video conceptualization and execution should be attributed entirely to Jugaad Motion Pictures. Daria Gai, the Ukranian filmmaker, came up with the visual concept for ‘Hold Tight’ and directed the music video. Her creative interpretation of the song added just the right elements and highlighted the dark–light nature of the band’s music.

What was one thing you noticed among the musicians you mentored, that you feel holds true for all aspiring artistes today?
I think today’s musicians are extremely upfront and confident about what they do. Believing in your work is a big strength for any artist. However, sometimes, if the above elements are disproportionate, it can be detrimental to your music.

Why are there so few female bass guitarists in India?
The number is steadily increasing; there are definitely more female bass players as compared to 3-4 years ago. I guess many people and kids still think that guitar and bass are the same, so we see more children opting for guitar and keys rather than bass.

We need to showcase more bass maestros and their music, presenting them in a way that people can enjoy it and then build on their interest.

Sometimes girls think that bass is a manly instrument since it requires a lot of stamina and strength. Also, if played frequently, one can build muscles and I’m not sure if many young girls would want that.

How do we change the situation?
It’s important to educate people to allow them to make their own choices. I try to do this by encouraging kids and educating them through my workshops and masterclasses. Platforms like Bacardi House Party Sessions can help people pursue the kind of music they’re passionate about, beyond what’s mainstream.

How does the independent music industry in the country look?
With technology being so advanced in today’s time, people’s perception and creativity with regard to music is evolving fast and always will. Right now, the future is looking good.

What are your other projects right now?
I have a four-month-long tour of Japan coming up. I am touring with a very famous Japanese band called B’z. I also recorded with them for their second album. Right after that, I will be travelling to Italy to perform at a music festival, to perform with Louiz Banks, Gino Banks, U Rajesh and Giridhar Udupa. I am part of four international music video collaborations which will be released soon. 

Many artistes, multiple genres
This season of Bacardí House Party Sessions saw almost 150 artists send in entries across a plethora of genres of music ranging from Ska, rock and hip-hop. Interest has increased after Ritviz, MojoJojo and Gurbax skyrocketed to fame after releasing music through these sessions last year. Apart from Mohini, other mentors are Amit Trivedi and Benny Dayal.

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