Indian Ocean got chatty with us last week and spoke at length about their journey so far, their new line-up, some good times, some not so good times, and more.
How do you see the music of Indian Ocean evolving from here?
Rahul Ram: It will be quite a bit different from the original sound. In 2011 and 2012, we were marking time, and then in 2013 Sushmit left. We had new members who had to understand and learn the original Indian Ocean sound. Now they will have their own ideas according to that. You will be able to identify our sound but the ideas and thoughts behind the content will be different.
Was it difficult to carry on as a band after Asheem’s death and Sushmit’s exit from the band?
Rahul Ram: Not really. In Asheem’s case, we knew he wasn’t fit to do shows, so we hired Himanshu. But then three weeks later, Asheem died and Himanshu became a permanent member. In case of Sushmit, we knew that he was going to leave eventually. So we were prepared for it.
Was it a conscious effort to become a five-piece act?
Amit Khilam: It was a forced one. Asheem was able to manage both, tabla and the vocals. I guess he was the only one who could play tabla and sing at the same time. Also, in his last few days, Asheem had suggested that we look for a tabla player. He wouldn’t cite his health as a reason for that though, because his ego would get hurt. It’s a big challenge for anyone. So we had to become a five-member band.
What’s your stand on music royalty controversy that hascreated a divide in the industry?
Rahul Ram: The new copyright act is very confusing. It says that an artist should get 12.5 % royalty of a song. It doesn’t define the artist here. In the film industry, there are three entities which form a song – the lyricist, the music composer and finally, the singer. The new law doesn’t tell how that royalty should be divided. It is very confusing. And it’s not like artists don’t get any royalty at all. But it’s not what it should be.
Indian Ocean has often been compared to Brit band, Pink Floyd. Does that bother you? And what other international artists/bands have you been compared to?
Rahul Ram: We are compared to legends. Why should we be bothered about that? And I am sure the comparisons aren’t drawn for musical content. I remember this one incident in 2002, in Washington: a fan came up to me and told me that we reminded him of Santana. And not because of his sound, but because he brought that South American touch in the world of rock ‘n’ roll. And that’s what I feel the comparisons point towards.