Heat Sink is an Indie band based in Ahmedabad. They are the super-winners of the pan India Nexa Music contest and have collaborated with A.R. Rahman and Clinton Cerejo on new original music. They have been featured on the Rolling Stone India magazine cover in the December 2019 edition alongside A.R. Rahman. Consisting of members from unique musical backgrounds, their eclectic sound ranges from jazz to progressive rock and entails diverse styles and themes, taking influence from a variety of artists such as Hiatus Kaiyote, Snarky Puppy, John Mayer, Haken, Porcupine Tree and more. They aim to create organic music by experimenting with their vocal melodies, harmonic ideas, and lyrics with a healthy combination of both the theoretical and emotional aspects of music. Their live performances are noted for their energetic atmosphere, deftly navigating the intricate aspects of progressive rock and the improvisational flair of jazz.
Here are Heat Sink in a conversation with GOGO Magazine.
1) When did your journey as a music band begin?
Heat Sink started in around 2018, initially with the name ‘Euphony’ and a slightly different lineup. As individual musicians, we’d been playing with each other in different setups and commercial gigs already, but Chirag consolidated us as a band to work on and perform music that he’d been composing. Raag and Pritul comprised our rhythm section, Nayan provided keys, with Protyay and Meera being brought on as vocalists to complete the lineup.
2) Which was your first song?
Our first song was “I’m Lost”, which is featured on our debut EP ‘Euphony’. Chirag had written the first draft of this song back in high school, and the rest of the band came in and fleshed it out into our first original song.
3) Tell us more about your experience at Pan India Nexa music contest.
The NEXA Music experience was surreal. We’d entered the contest not even expecting to be selected for the top 24, much less to win the whole thing as part of the Top 4 Superwinners. From doing local and indie gigs, we suddenly found ourselves on a full-fledged video production set in Mumbai with a crew tending to our hair and makeup, shooting a music video for our song ‘Volition’.
We got to work with Mr. Clinton Cerejo and Ms Bianca Gomes at their studio and were thrilled by how appreciative they were of our music, especially since it was a little ‘out there’ and unusual. They added their expertise and inputs as we reproduced and recorded ‘Volition’ with them prior to the shoot. It was an amazing experience to be working with such legends of the industry.
4) How was your experience collaborating with the legend A.R. Rahman?
We’d barely gotten over the fact that we were in the top 24 when we learned that we’d been selected as one of the Top 4 acts in the entire country, out of over a 1000 entries! It was unbelievable and we remember our band doing a collective ‘WHOOOOO’ when we got the news. The prospect of working with A.R. Rahman sir was unbelievable. Furthermore, we got to know that we’d been handpicked by Clinton sir and Rahman sir, which was incredibly validating for us as musicians.
Our vocalist Protyay got to record vocals with the vocalists from the other 3 winning acts for a song composed by A.R Rahman sir himself called ‘You Got Me’. He himself was present during the recording, and afterwards even invited us over to chat at his place, where we all talked about music and he shared his wisdom and views about the music industry.
As icing on cake, Protyay also got to represent Heat Sink in the music video for the same song, featuring the other Superwinners and Rahman sir himself. The production for this was even grander than the last music video, and it currently has almost 20 million views on YouTube!
5) Grammy is considered as one of the most prestigious awards in the music industry. How was your experience working with Thomas Juth, a 2-time Grammy winner?
Thomas is just a wizard at what he does. We’d recorded all our songs for our debut EP at Compass Box Studio which is owned and run by our bass player Raag Sethi. We had a specific vision for the EP and we knew that we needed a mix engineer who could bring that vision to life. We actually struggled with a couple other people we tried to work with until we found Thomas.
The great thing was, right from the get go, Thomas understood our music and knew what it needed to sound like. He’s incredibly experienced across a variety of genres, and his Grammies are a testament to the fact that a great mix engineer needs to know the music, beyond just turning knobs.
Thomas was super professional and appreciative of our music, which was encouraging. He was always willing to make small tweaks and changes till the song sounded exactly like we wanted it to. Of course with his expertise, it didn’t take a lot of revisions to reach the final stage.
With our latest single ‘Judgement’ too, we knew we could trust Thomas and he did a stellar job as always!
‘Judgement’ link: https://linktr.ee/heatsink_judgement
6) Who has been your inspiration?
Everyone in the band comes from varying musical backgrounds and so we bring a lot of influences to the table, ranging from jazz, RnB and neo-soul to progressive rock and funk. Some bands and artists we’re inspired by include Hiatus Kayote, Snarky Puppy, Tom Misch, John Mayer, Haken, Porcupine Tree to name a few.
7) Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
Well hopefully, still making, releasing and performing music we love and enjoy! To a crowd that loves it back. And well, it’d be nice if we could earn something from it too along the way!
We’d like to play on more and bigger stages in the next few years and hit the festival circuit like NH7 Weekender, Vh1 Supersonic and more. It’s wishful thinking at this stage, but it’d be a dream to play overseas too!
Also, we’d like to see a bigger indie music scene in our home city, Ahmedabad. We have a small but dedicated audience at the moment, but it’d be great to see it expand to become a viable indie music venue.
8) Which has been your most memorable performance?
There have been a few, but I think we all remember our first appearance at The Piano Man, Delhi very fondly. The audience and the venue’s attitude itself is very receptive to music. And not just cover music or Bollywood, but new original music by new artists. So it was very satisfying to play to an audience who was there for the music and cheered even at extended instrumental sections and jams.
They have a tradition called the ‘Silent Song’ where for one song in the set they shut off the bar and food and the audience is supposed to be completely silent and pay attention to the music. I think that’s an amazing gesture towards the artists and really makes us and our art feel respected.
9) Tell us about your latest track.
Our latest single is called ‘Judgement’. It’s a song that we’ve been playing live for some time now but for the studio version, we added and tweaked some things to refine the arrangement. Like our EP before, it’s been recorded at Raag’s Compass Box Studio and mixed and mastered by Thomas Juth.
The song is a groovy mix of pop with RnB and neo soul elements with a catchy chorus which sees Meera’s and Protyay’s voices intertwine with counter melodies. Nayan plays a funky keyboard solo, and the song ends with a violin solo by Protyay.
Thematically, the song deals with how we often inhibit ourselves from reaching our full potential because of the fear of judgement, from others and often even more significantly from within ourselves. So the music is about embracing all of yourself and shedding this judgement that we create for ourselves.
Ishita Thawait created the lovely artwork for the single, which we feel complements the music in an amazing way.
10) Which is your most preferred genre?
Like we mentioned before, all of us listen to and like a whole lot of different genres and the influence shows up in our music, so it’s hard to pin it down to a single most preferred genre. In fact, in our debut EP Euphony there was a deliberate attempt from us to have each song be quite different from the other, as a sort of showcase of all the ground we tread.
So you’ll find our music borrows from a lot of styles like jazz, RnB, neosoul, prog rock and funk. We’re always open to experimenting with even more genres in the future. Whatever we like to listen to is fair game!
11) How was life in quarantine?
Lockdown was pretty rough on us admittedly, as it was with pretty much every creative professional. We had to scrap plans for any touring throughout the year. The last physical live show we played was back in February, so our momentum definitely took a hit.
But we still tried to keep things going, with parts of ‘Judgement’ being recorded through lockdown whenever one of us could go to the studio, and the final release taking place during that time too. We did a virtual concert recently as an acoustic trio, streamed from Compass Box Studio with high-quality audio. The response was definitely nice, but it’s significantly more difficult to do a full band set up for a virtual concert, not to mention that it doesn’t quite match up to the experience of an actual live show. So we’re really waiting for when we can get back on an actual stage.
Individually, we’ve kept busy with other projects through quarantine. Chirag and Meera have been working on their solo projects and digital collaborations. Raag and Protyay have been producing and mixing music with other artists and through Compass Box Studio. When the restrictions eased a little, Chirag, Meera and Protyay met up a few times with social distancing protocols to work on some new sketches. So there’s some slow but sure progress on the writing side of things.
Ultimately, we’re hoping to have some new music ready by the time we can head back out on stage and reconnect with our listeners. Fingers crossed!
Checkout more such content at: https://gogomagazine.in/category/magazine/music/