Karthick Iyer, violinist,singer and frontman of the band IndoSoul, opens up on how the band came about and much more!
The band started its journey at Karthick's sister's wedding reception and from there on it took flight bagging concert opportunities as a wedding band. Soon enough they became very popular in the wedding circuit. Their concerts incorporated covers of songs by popular artists such as A.R.Rahman, Ilayaraja as well as Bollywood melodies. Also they focussed on taking ancient Carnatic(South Indian classical) music compositions and creating their own interpretations of them. The band brought about these versions of Carnatic classics by adapting them into the modern day, thus making it more palatable to the younger generation of listeners.
Almost instantaneously, two of their songs gained popularity. A cover of A.R Rahman’s Nila Kaaigirathu and a Thyagaraja Kriti called Manavyalakim. The popularity of these songs on social media catapulted the band ahead, bringing to the table many more requests for concerts at weddings and corporate events.
While playing covers and adaptations had brought the band into the limelight, Karthick and his band IndoSoul began to compose music that was their own and, in 2015 , came out with their first album, ‘IndoSoul: Looking within to look beyond'. The band launched their album in the month of July in 2015 at the Museum Theatre in Chennai. The launch was a grand success attended by several eminent personalities like senior Carnatic Music singer, Bombay Jayashree, popular film director Rajiv Menon, music composer Dharan Kumar as chief guests. This fully packed event placed IndoSoul firmly on the map as an Independent music band.
Following this, the band began to have packed schedules, from playing at almost every muhurtham in the month to public shows like The Hindu’s premier annual music festival ‘November Fest’ and Grover Wine fest. During these busy days, the band began to work with Dondieu Divin, an extremely proficient French pianist based in Pondicherry. IndoSoul collaborated with him and brought out their second album ‘The Pallavi Shift’ which was released in March this year. The album has six Carnatic songs that were given a new look, with arrangements that root from Jazz, Pop, and R&B. And so IndoSoul, with their second album, established a new and inspired way to represent Carnatic music that set them apart from the regular Indian fusion music that we have been accustomed to for the past two decades.
When asked about the difference between regular Indian fusion music and IndoSoul, Karthick says " For me, IndoSoul has major differences that set it apart from regular fusion music. The fusion music that became popular in the 90’s was mostly focused on bringing together musicians who simply jammed together on stage, with a few notable exceptions While it had its own beauty, the songs lacked structure and direction. Three decades later people started to ask the question, ‘What’s next?'. I think the answer to that question is a form of music in which the blending of genres is only a means to an end and not an end in itself. The collaboration of diverse musicians that create a structured song with a definite story and direction - something that’s essentially Indian but global in nature. I believe that this is what IndoSoul is all about"." IndoSoul looks deep within the music to find commonalities between different genres of music and strives to link them in a simple way. They achieve this by the meeting of minds between the band members. They spend time to understand each other’s view and incorporate it seamlessly.
The band that is now, five years old has grown and evolved together in terms of their music. Their next album ‘Two Sides of Karma’ is in the works now as they get ready to tour the US and Canada for the second time. They plan to perform songs from this album during the tour and come back to India to record and release the album early next year. It’s exciting times ahead, indeed, for IndoSoul.
Written by Anupama Nair