Hitesh Rikki Madan is a Delhi based singer, songwriter, composer, performer (live & virtual events), guitarist & music producer. He is the founder/frontman of the Delhi based rock band EKA & now also of his new solo venture, HRM. He is working on his debut solo album to be released as singles over the year, Break Ke Baad being the second song (my first release was Vande India in October 2020. He started his career in music at the age of 17 in 1996 as lead guitarist for Euphoria. Over the 25 years of his music career, he has evolved from being a guitarist to becoming a frontman-singer-guitarist, delivering highly engaging & energetic performances, connecting with a wide audience instantly. He has performed at over 1800 concerts in 17 countries.
His repertoire includes multiple genres including Classic Rock, retro & new-age Bollywood, Punjabi, Sufi. He has had the honour of performing at the Indo-Pak peace concert at the UN General Assembly Hall, the Beale Street Music Festival in Memphis, the Great Wall of China, The Times of India Earth Care Awards, IFFI (Goa), Mountain Echoes Literary Festival (Bhutan) & NASSCOM Technology & Leadership Forum. He has contributed towards compositions & arrangements for all the Euphoria albums released between 1998-2010 & engineered many recordings for Euphoria at his recording studio, ARIA The Studio.
Here is HRM in a conversation with GOGO Magazine.
Q1. When did your journey as a musician begin?
While I started singing at the age of 4, I was always fascinated by the sound of the guitar. I started playing when I was around 13 years old. One thing led to another, I formed my own band called Canzona with my schoolmates, we participated and won at prestigious rock band competitions at the IIT institutions, BITS Pilani, KGMU Lucknow, etc, It was at IIT Rendezvous 1996 (where I won Best Guitarist) that Amit Kilam, the Euphoria drummer then, asked me to meet Palash. They were looking for a guitarist & there was the start of my career as a professional musician at the age of 17, as lead guitarist for the Hindi-Rock band Euphoria.
Q2. Which was your first song?
I have only now made my debut as a solo singer-songwriter-music producer, and to that end, my first song in that regard would be Break Ke Baad that I released in January 2021. A high-energy song, Break Ke Baad is an expression of the constant struggle that consumes individuals who aspire to do the right things to stay fit. With an infectious groove and contemporary Hindi, English and Punjabi lyrics, it is sure to bring a smile to your face and also hopefully inspire people to include physical activities and sports in their everyday lives. The music video is part animation and a visual treat!
Q3. Which has been your most memorable live performance?
In 2000, Euphoria was invited to the Beale Street Music Festival aka Memphis In May. Clearly, my most memorable live performance, where I was performing with 69 artists and bands that I grew up listening to and admired, including Foreigner, Collective Soul, Little Richard, Bryan Adams to name a few.
Q4. Who has been your inspiration?
My current favourite artists are Keith Urban, John Mayer, Ed Sheeran and Amit Trivedi. There have been many influences in different stages of my life from fellow musicians that I have interacted with, and as far as that goes, in my experience as a music educator, I have drawn inspiration from a lot of my students, sometimes even 5-year-olds!
Q5. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
Doing what I’ve done all my life so far, striving to create and play better music than I have done before.
Q6. Which is your most preferred genre?
Even though I have grown up on and totally dig rock music, I enjoy all genres of music. I think I connect more with a good song, irrespective of the genre.
Q7. Tell us about your latest track.
My latest track Gal Sunn Zara talks about the desire to reach out and express love. A mellow start, with a lilting melody & soulful guitars, it builds up to a high energy Punjabi Pop-Rock love ballad.
The video has been directed by photographer-director Vishesh Verma and features Shivaani Sen (Mrs South India 1st RU).
Q8. Tell us more about EKA?
After 14 years of a challenging, gruelling yet very rewarding experience in one of the most successful bands in Indian history, leaving the safety net of Euphoria was a free fall. I have the deepest love for music, in which I find solace and through which I derive happiness upon seeing the joy I am able to bring to my audience. This purpose was enough reason and my main driving force to explore a world of possibilities and start again from scratch. In founding and performing with EKA, I evolved into being a frontman and vocalist, pushing myself into domains I’d shied away from. EKA was formed in 2010 and we’ve been blessed to have performed some of the best gigs of my life. A versatile band, it has to its credit a wide range of events including performing for large scale concerts to some very intimate drawing room-sized settings for discerning audiences.
Even though 2020 saw the launch of my solo venture as a singer-songwriter-producer, I continue my ride with EKA and we look forward to achieving many more milestones together.
Q9. What advice would you give to youngsters?
Practice hard and believe in yourself. Don’t ever let another tell you what you are capable of. Want it, think it, feel it and go for it!
Q10. How was life in quarantine?
The quarantine days actually opened up new possibilities for me! Since we were confined to our homes, I found ample time to work on my debut album. I even worked with a startup towards launching an online guitar course. That does not mean I did not miss being on stage. I settled that itch to some extent with the Balcony Concerts I staged from my residence, with my sons Ariv and Advay accompanying me on bass and drums. Although we were in the middle of a pandemic, I have to admit that this quarantine has given me the opportunity to explore new avenues.
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