Mukul Deora talks about his music and plans ahead, as he releases his second album, What Heart.
What’s the deal behind the name of your album, What Heart?
It’s from a track in the album with the same name.
I think it’s an existential poem. It goes, ‘What heart is it that in me beats...’
You have a fascination with ‘heart’— your label is also titled ‘Dudup’. Where does the fascination stem from?
That’s true. At one level, music is like your heartbeat as it’s rhythmic. On another one, my music comes from the heart. Also, the heart is said to be the repository of courage and strength— lion heart, brave heart, etc.
Since we’re talking of the heart, does the album have romantic numbers?
The inspiration for the album was success, failure, love, heartbreak, existential crises, and of course,
boredom. So, love or heartbreak songs would fit into your romantic category, I guess. One of my favourite songs is called ‘Looking at you lie’, which is about the end of a relationship, and as you see that person for maybe the last time, you realise that even though one part of you knows it’s best to end it, another part of you desperately wants the relationship to continue. But it’s too late because you’ve already said goodbye.
Wow, that’s deep. You had said in an earlier interview that the album would be deep electro pop. Is this what you were talking about?
(Laughs) Well, these terms keep changing. I prefer calling it electric soul these days! It’s just a way to describe one’s style of music so that someone else can understand what it’s about without listening to it. Of course, there is never a substitute for listening.
Do you sing regularly or have you learnt singing especially for the album?
(Laughs) I’ve been a bathroom singer since I was old enough to stand in the shower! But yes, I had to work on my voice to record this album and to play it live. I’ve always wanted to use my voice— it’s your primary instrument.
You’ve also learnt new instruments for the album. Why didn’t you just jam with musicians who are already familiar with the instruments you wanted on the album?
I used to play the guitar in a haphazard sort of way, so my first thought was to get professional guitarists to record the parts I had written for ‘What heart’.But I decided to try, and I’m happy to say all the solos are performed by me, as is most of the rhythm guitar that you hear on the album.
I liked playing the solos myself because every note has a feeling, and only I know exactly what feeling I want to convey.
What have you planned for us in your live gigs?
I think it will keep changing. The band— Khoparzi on electronic beats, Sadahnmo on guitar/bass and Fay on vocals and me— have been working on first replicating the quality of the sound on the album. Then we will move towards being a jam band— I think the old guys like The Doors and Led Zep were amazing live because they improvised so much.
I’d like to get there someday… be as good as them.
What are your plans post the album? Is it again going to be a different genre and new instruments?
I’m thinking of a raw blues album next. In fact, this album has a flavour of that too, but with an electronic beat. My immediate plans are to complete my solo art show in November and then collaborate with some Kalaripattu dancers for a performance in Mysore in November.