Sridhar - Interview
Posted by Hunter on Tue, 03 Jul 2012.
Sridharan Ravichandran is a Berlin based guitarist, composer, vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and record producer. Sridhar launched his debut solo album in the summer of 2009. Titled Transcend, the 9-track rock instrumental debuted at #35 on CDbaby.com's charts and subsequently went on to receive critical acclaim from across the globe. His sophomore record Afterward, and the follow up to Transcend, was launched in the summer of 2010 and serves as a tribute to the multitude of influences in Sridhar's musical journey, inspired by sounds from heavy metal to electronically synthesized soundscapes. Sridhar is currently working on his third record 'Miles'.
Discovering Sridhar's website was something of a small triumph for me. I'm always struggling to find decent music on the Internet. Needle, haystack. Global sized haystack. Thankfully, this search paid off and rewarded me with some excellent guitar music. Inspired by some awesome guitar chops we set out to find out more about Sridhar.
Many thanks for taking time out to answer our questions!
My pleasure, James.
You were originally born in India, but since then you moved to Singapore and Germany. Were the moves job related, and have those countries had any influence on you musically too?
I moved to Singapore in 2005 to study, and to Berlin last year for work. Yeah, environment plays a huge role in shaping your creative output. I'm enjoying the Berlin scene so far, which has a no holds barred, avant-garde approach to doing things. It certainly is electronic music intensive, but that mindset does bleed into other things as well so that's great.
And can you tell us about your latest project?
Sure! I'm working on the third record for my progressive rock solo project Sridhar. Musically, it sits somewhere between the post-rock sentimentality to outright progressive at times. Also, being able to work on the record with bandmates and amazing chaps Dirk Behrend (right, on bass), and Florian Herzberg (left, drums) is incredible. I can tell I'm going to be really proud of this record.
I'm also actively collecting the sights (and soon sounds) of the journey in producing Miles, the next record, via a Tumblr blog - http://sridharsmusic.tumblr.com/
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Are there some songs that you have written that are personal favourites with a significant meaning to you?
There's a crazy story behind how my latest single 'The Idealist' came together. The song started when I dreamt of the intro riff one night, but couldn't get around to finishing the full track. Many creative roadblocks and scrapped takes later, it morphed into a 9 minute long fiasco, after I started reaching out to fans to get honest feedback. It was a fresh take on songwriting for me, and a great experience leading to an emotionally succinct song. I wrote a full post about it here
How did you first get into playing guitar, what guitar did you use, and what guitarists / musicians inspired you? Do you still have the first guitar that you played?
Nirvana! Cobain showed the world what he could do with one Fender Jaguar and a tortured voice, and the importance of minimalism. Till date, I strive to find that level of perfection in imperfection.
Guitarists such as Vai, Satriani tend to be musician's musicians, recognised for their ability but not getting mainstream airplay. Do you think Guitarists will ever achieve a mainstream success enjoyed by bands such as Radiohead or U2 etc?
Funnily enough, I don't listen to guitar-rock as much! However, I respect Satch and Vai for extending the possibility of the instrument and pushing boundaries. Personally, the guitar has always been a tool to extend my palette. Reaching mainstream audiences why not? - if only a little of it has happened already. If an artist is making music, (and not just guitar-nerd-widdlywanky) - I don't see why it can't happen!
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You covered Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", what inspired that choice of song?
Yeah. Harrison always had that magic in his compositions, and this is one song that captivated me, and I couldn't resist. Also, it was great to have Canadian virtuoso Dave Martone laying down an otherworldly solo in the song.
Listen to the Dave Martone band if you haven't, they're one of the best fusion acts around -, drummer being Nickelback's Daniel Adair, who is amazing on the kit.
Can you tell us a bit about the Metal / Rock scene in India, and are there some bands that you think we should keep an ear out for?
India has been a country of rich musical heritage and cultural traditionalism, so I wouldn't say there's the same level of musical open-mindedness as in say, the US or Germany. That being said, the internet has been changing that, and kids are writing some great stuff!
I've seen you using a wide variety of guitars including what appears to be a Schecter Black Jack C7, a Gibson Les Paul Standard with P90's, what appears to be a Fender Strat and a couple of others. Can you tell us about the guitars you have, how you chose them, and what each one gives you in terms of sound.
I'm a bit of an impulse buyer when it comes to guitars - I'd go to a store, start widdling on something and go wow - that sounds amazing. I'm not very loyal to a certain brand just yet, so sometimes I'd pick up a 150$ Squier just because it sounded really amazing.
But I love the guitars I have, the Gibson with the P90s gives me a very old school rock vibe but she handles gain, bite and edge so well. The C7 looks like a one trick pony, but she's capable of some incredible sounds – from very pristine cleans to a wall of sound Deftones-esque distortion. The strat was my first serious electric guitar, and she was a Mexican fender – definitely one of the best guitars I've had, and consequently one of the worst regrets of my life was when I sold her away! L
Guitars are like ideal people. They have unique personalities, love you if you love them, and they don't judge ;)
I've been reading your blog too, on tips on recording music at home etc, and the advice you give is absolutely sound, but what are the fundamental mistakes that you see constantly repeated by people doing their first recording?
Gracias! And I'm glad you found it useful. I do it mainly to help people through the initial pains of starting to record at home, so they wouldn't have to experience what I went through when I started off. I'd say, the top mistake most people think when they start is thinking that gear and $$$ are everything. Wrong! My first record Transcend was recorded with my strat and a 150$ Line6 Guitarport.
You work for Soundcloud, now tweetable! How useful is that in getting your music out there to prospective listeners / fans? How did you land that job with Soundcloud too?
Yes, it's great to be part of a movement – of unmuting the web. I'm a Marketer, and one of the things I get to do is see how millions use the platform in amazing and inspiring ways, and to be able to ensure we're always building stuff that users love. In terms of promoting my own music, I guess it helps but mostly indirectly. I got the job when I applied from Singapore, when I wanted to get closer to the world of music and audio.
Many thanks for your answers!
Thanks for having me!
To find out more about Sridhar you can find his website here: http://get.sridharsmusic.com/