Monica Dogra does a good job of straddling the fence — gliding effortlessly between indie and mainstream, in music as well as cinema. Her ride through the years — from 2005, when she formed an electro-rockoutfit, Shaa’ir + Func, with Pentagram guitarist and producer Randolph Correia to now — has also coincided with the exponential growth that the indie music scene has seen in that time.
The popularity of electronic dance music and the explosion of music festivals of every kind have meant that Monica’s name is the first to be dropped in any conversation involving indie music. Besides her brand of music, labelled commonly as trippy and new age, her startlingly impressive stage presence has won her fans across age groups. A remarkable repertoire of collaborations also decorates her diverse music portfolio. So coming out with a solo album, she feels, was only a natural progression. In this interview, she talks about her new record and more.
You have a successful band already. Why did you want to cut a solo album?
I have been planning this for a very long time. But it took a backseat because of everything else. I wanted every song to have the right sound and energy. I didn’t want to wait any longer. I’ve sung on other people’s songs and made many guest appearances. I didn’t want my voice to get lost in these collaborations. It is important to do something at various points of your life — to have an unadulterated documentation of who you are.
Tell us more about the album.
It will have eight songs. I have finished writing all of them. I am fine-tuning them now. I am frequently flying to Delhi and working with Gaurav (Raina, from Midival Punditz). My goal is to release it before the end of the year.
Do you think there will be more pressure on you as a solo artiste?
I’m lucky because no one really expected me to put out a record of my own. In terms of sound, I have stripped everything down. You have to really concentrate and block everything out to be able to find what you want. Maybe I will write more songs, maybe I won’t; I don’t know.
The video of your first single, ‘Suspended’ recently premiered on the TV show you host, The Dewarists, and is quite interesting Tell us more about it.
I had met Prashant Mistry, who is a visual artist, sometime ago, and we were thinking of collaborating, so that’s how it happened. Eric Pale (light painter) is also part of the project. The video has added a completely new dimension to the music. The whole thing now is very ethereal and symphonic. It’s very ‘shaa’ir’ – a poetry to the divine.