Praveen Yadav | May 30, 2021 | 0
PARAJ SINGH – guitarist, singer-songwriter and percussionist
Paraj is a guitarist, singer-songwriter and percussionist based out of Bangalore, India. A self-taught guitar player and a trained vocalist and classically trained tabla player, he has been a regular in the Indian independent music scene. He has been a part of two of the country’s premier progressive rock bands – Rainburn and Flaw & Order – and has been featured on PROG magazine, Rolling Stone magazine, and numerous other publications for his work with them. His solo project is influenced by genre-pioneering bands and his sound can be best described as:
An inimitable tenor essaying uplifting lyrics, set against shimmering acoustic and punctuated by dreamy electric guitars, masterfully mated to proggy grooves.
Here is Paraj Singh in a conversation with GOGO Magazine.
1) When did your journey as a musician begin?
My first experience with an instrument began when I was about 9 years old when I started learning to play the tabla in the style of Hindustani classical music. I studied it for about 10 years, and I picked up the guitar in 2009 and taught myself to play over the years. I formed my first band in high-school which continued through my engineering days before the pressures of career and responsibility took over and the band dissolved. I had always wanted to sing but never got the opportunity nor the support to do so. I finally started vocal lessons in 2017 and then quickly realised that I could be a singer as well and here we are.
2) Which was your first song?
The first song I composed was ‘Continue’ which I wrote as a letter to myself when I was in a dark place. I realised that I had to complete this song because it said a lot of things that I’d wanted to say to myself but hadn’t been able to, so far. I released it with a music video on June 21st 2020.
3) Which has been your most memorable live performance?
I think that it would have to be the first time that my instrumental prog band ‘Flaw & Order’ opened for as we keep searching in Bangalore. It was our second ever show and we played to a packed venue with over 500 people. It was absolutely incredible and was a very well-received show for us, where we could barely hear ourselves over all the screaming and cheering.
4) How do you manage investment for your music productions?
I have a full-time job in advertising as a writer which pays me enough to fund my passion on my own. I do have a very strong support system but I’ve never taken any financial support from anyone else for my music.
5) Who has been your inspiration?
Musically, most of my influences/inspirations are prog-rock frontmen.
- Bruce Soord of The Pineapple Thief
- Mikael Akerfeldt of Opeth
- Mariusz Duda of Riverside
Vocally though, I owe my vocal heritage to singers from alternative rock bands I grew up listening to.
- Brent Smith of Shinedown
- Chris Cornell
- Myles Kennedy
6) What is the creative process like behind your work?
Well, TBH, my songwriting method is diametrically opposed to the way most people approach songwriting. It might sound completely crazy, but I don’t really start writing out with a theme in mind. I start writing and let the words take me where they want to go. I usually find a flow after a few lines and then I figure out what I want to say and then finish the piece. After the lyrics are done, I zoom out and take a look at what the overall theme points towards and then I align it with something that. I’m passionate about/feel strongly about. Putting words down hasn’t been much of a challenge TBH, because I’ve been writing for almost 20 years and I think I enjoy it more than the music itself.
7) Tell us about your latest track. What was the inspiration behind it?
Adrift is the third song from my debut EP ‘Inara’. A song about drifting aimlessly in a sea of uncertainty, Adrift talks about the existential crises that people go through and gives the listener hope that an uncertain path is still a path. It talks about the difficult task of convincing oneself to never ‘turn out the light’ and encourages people to keep going because eventually, they’ll become exactly who they’re supposed to be. Adrift was released as the third single and made it to Spotify’s Radar India playlist with 23k followers.
8) Which is your most preferred genre?
It would definitely have to be progressive rock, because of the genre’s focus on storytelling, emotional themes, incredible musicianship and top-notch production. My favourite artists are also from this genre and I’m trying to make this genre and its music more accessible through my approach to it.
9) How was life in quarantine?
Apart from the working from home bit, I wouldn’t say that a lot has changed for me. I’m a bit of an extroverted recluse if there is such a thing. I’m not someone who liked to go out partying/socialising every weekend and I would actually spend my weekends working on my music, which is pretty much what I did through the year. Getting fit and healthy was also a priority for me and I was able to dedicate time for that as well. I’ve actually gotten a lot of things done during quarantine and I wouldn’t mind working from home for the rest of my life.
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