As part of the electronica act, Midival Punditz, Gaurav Raina is known as one of the pioneers of the alternative and electronic music scene in India. Now, he’s branched out with his own solo project to further explore the genre. Gaurav recently launched his album Grey To Silver, an initiative under his solo project, Grain.
Having seen success as a duo for the past 15 years, what prompted him to go solo? “There is a certain aesthetic associated with the Midival Punditz that I felt didn’t completely represent me as a musician. I wanted to explore song-writing and sounds that excited me,” he says.
Gaurav plans to come into his own as a musician, and stresses that his association with Midival Punditz will continue. “Now there will be two sides to me. But I’ll keep both separate. One is a more Indian classical and folk sound. Grain has a lot more song-writing and a distinct approach to it,” he says.
Ask him about this new sound, and Gaurav brings things into perspective, saying, “I wanted to explore the darker side of electronica, because it is not just EDM. There are so many facets to it, something most people don’t know.”
The album features collaborations with artistes like Karsh Kale, Monica Dogra and Anoushka Shankar. Gaurav explains that this was a result of sharing a comfort zone with them. “When you collaborate with people, you expose your strengths and weaknesses to them, so there has to be a certain level of comfort,” he asserts, while sharing an anecdote about Shankar who helped him use a nine-beat cycle. “She is the most mathematically profound musician,” says Gaurav.
And what is his take on the influx of international acts in India? “India has more ears because of the sheer size of our population. So it does become a lucrative market for artistes,” he says.