Presenting the Firangees
So I have decided to bunch all the recent songs that I have programmed under a new project called 'The Firangees'. You can see the new website here - http://firangees.com/. The idea is to club all the songs under a new brand so that the songs ultimately become easier to disseminate, promote and also classify for the future. Most of the music created by me generally veers towards a bouncy, upbeat and swinging style and borrows heavily from ska, rocksteady, reggae and European folk music traditions. Which brings me to a song created by me recently - a Polish-folk-tradition inspired song that actually sounds very old Bollywood-ish! The fact remains that most of the music directors of the time be it Shanker Jaiskishen, Laxmikant Pyarelal or even SD and RD Burman often looked to the west for inspiration and many of the songs in their oeuvre bears the unmistakable stamp of their influences whether they be American Country tunes, European folk tunes, Afro Cuban Jazz or Ska.
The Formula for Creating Fresh Music
Go Back to The Roots
If you want to create something that sounds old-school, do not go for inspiration to new or older Bollywood Directors - rather listen to what inspired them! Lets use a simple analogy for this. Take a concentrated solution of a drink say - Rooh Afza and mix it with some cold water and you get something that you can pleasantly gulp down and goes down well with the palate. Now take that Water + Rooh Afza mix and dilute it even more with water, what you now get would be rather insipid and tasteless and something that can be best described as watered-down or well - lifeless and unpalatable. So in our case, Rooh Afza is the roots - the very source of a particular genre of music while the musical output of Indian Film Music Directors is the Concentrate + Water mix. Imagine if you looked for inspiration to this mix and added some more water, you would get the musical equivalent of a watered down mix that is pretty much average. What would instead be more awesome is if you heard the source - the very roots of a musical style and created your music inspired by that. What you would now get would indeed be purer, sweeter and of course more original, fresh and eminently drinkable!
So if you are making DUB or DUBSTEP music for example, don't just listen to the hundreds of dub records out there that has been released recently. Rather go back in time and listen to the original rocksteady and ska artists like The Techniques, Sonia Pottinger, the Melodians, The Versatiles, The Paragons etc. that actually inspired the sub-bass and groove-heavy DUB movement in UK, Jamiaca and elsewhere. You could even find the odd bass groove in one of their songs that can form the crux of your next hit Dubstep single! What you would then have on your hands would be more rootsy, original and fresh and not a heavily watered-down version of songs that are already playing everywhere. Similarly if you like House Music, listen to old Disco and Funk Records, if you like Rock try adding a country music vibe or listen to some of old Chuck Berry and Little Richards records and borrow some of their chops and chord progressions and add dollops of your own creativity to it thus resulting in a sound that you can claim as your own!
Make Music That You Like Yourself
If you are music programmer at whatever stage of your musical evolution, it pays to make music that you yourself would like to listen to instead of trying to create stuff that is in vogue. Instead your philosophy should be to please no one but yourself! Interestingly if you follow this philosophy chances are your music will be more liked! We are all tired of listening to the same old music anyways. The world wants you to delve deep inside of you and come up with something that only you could come up with and no one else! On that note, have a listen to a brand new single inspired by the sounds of Polish Folk Music or Polka in short as made popular by the great Frankie Yankovic's Slovenian 'Push' Polka style of music. Two sub-styles of this are "The Chicago Honky" (using clarinet and one trumpet) and "Chicago Push" featuring the accordion, Chemnitzer & Star concertinas, upright bass or bass guitar, drums, and two trumpets. The North American "Slovenian-style polka" is fast and features piano accordion, chromatic accordion, and/or diatonic button box accordion and a two part alto saxophones section besides the rhythm instruments that include the drums, bass, and guitar - which is the style that I have used in my song below. The lyrics are again a 'man-woman longing' feel as required when you make music such as this! Special mention must be made of Qais Jaunpuri who has written the lyrics. He writes fast, he writes simple and his lines rhyme with a highly evocative strength and power. He is the kind of writer bred in the old world sensibilities; a writer that Bollywood music should have but with it's current trend of obscenity and crassness, doesn't really deserve! He can be contacted on 90047 81786 if you'd like a good Hindi writer who is a thorough professional with old world talent and humility to boot.
It's All Fun & Games
Also please remember that I am just having fun making music and experimenting with the music-making machines at my disposal. I don't really care if no one likes my music because I pretty much love listening to what I create again and again and I love the fact that I get better and better at what I do with every passing month. So yeah music programming is a fun thing for me and I don't take it too seriously because at the end of the day, life is essentially just a game of musical chairs until the day the music stops which in effect could be anytime today or 50 years later! I love tinkering and I have realized that Music Programming is a great hobby because this business is all about tinkering with tools! I am not trying to make this into a full time profession or anything like that which in effect means I just go ahead and create what I want, how I want and when I want. Which in effect also means that my music is going to be original, fresh and unpredictable I use the same tools that the best music producers all over the world use but at the same time my aim is to create something that breathes and lives rather than something cold and electronic. It takes me around 15 - 17 days to program a song from scratch, three days to mix it and thirty minutes to master it. I do not sit for more than 4 - 5 hours a day on creating music on my PC. More than that and you are just stretching it according to me, because your limbs and ears become numb and you will start hating what you do which goes against the principle of calling this a hobby. So in effect, I release about 1 song a month, all of which can be downloaded for free from the Firangees website - http://firangees.com/. And hey, if you wanna start learning how to use those gorgeous music-making machines, give us a call and we'll teach you how to use them too because remember life is short!