For Varun Vasisht, singer-songwriter from New Delhi, music has always been an escape. It is only a coincidence that he grew up to pursue this art professionally. A keen observer of the strumming styles of seasoned musicians such as Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, BB King, Santana, John Mayer and Stevie Ray Vaughan, Vasisht has shown considerable interest in mastering the guitar. After a few singles titled ‘You’ and ‘Icy’, he produced ‘Clouds of Rain’, released in September this year.
In this edition of Soundscape, we talk to Vasisht about his musical style, his songwriting methodology and work process on his new track, and more. Excerpts from the interview.
Tell us about your musical journey; which artists did you look for inspiration?
Some of my earliest memories are of my father and I playing his guitar, an instrument I fell in love with. He taught me the basics, and I finally learned it all by ear. In my family, each member had different musical tastes and I grew up appreciating a mix of all possible genres. I’ve grown to love my mom’s old classics, my dad’s jazz and blues, and my sister’s current top charts. I think being exposed to such different music growing up is what makes my music unique. Eventually, when I moved to Singapore for college, being in a different city and having new experiences inspired me to write my own songs.
Describe your musical style? Are there any particular genres that you prefer?
I spent most of my time mastering my skills as a guitarist; so my foundation lies in the ropes. However, I enjoy music of all kinds and I don’t think limiting myself to one specific genre would do my music justice. I feel the need to keep learning and constantly evolving, so I keep challenging myself with new instruments and mediums. I also play keyboards, mainly based on guitar theory. Lately I’ve been producing my own beats on Ableton [a digital audio workstation], and I’m excited to release this new wave of my music.
Tell us a bit about the work process on “Clouds of Rain”?
On May 6 of last year, I woke up in the middle of the night and found myself humming the hook to “Clouds of Rain”. I quickly pulled out my guitar and played a verse. The next morning I wrote the lyrics and worked on the story. We were in the midst of the pandemic and the lyrics evolved from the thoughts and emotions I was going through. Now, as I see it, it was probably something that everyone could relate to. This song is a reminder that at the end of the day, it’s the people in your life that matter and make your life worth living. The track was recorded at Ferris Wheel Studios in Delhi, which is directed and owned by Mukul Jain, who brought his signature mix and master to the track. He really understood my vision, and working with him has been creatively satisfying. Bharath Rajeevan, who played the keys to the song, also co-produced the track.
What are you going to work on next?
I have a lot of interesting things in the works. In the next few months, I plan to release my first EP, which is a fluid mix of the sounds I have experienced so far. I feel like my music has grown far beyond the acoustic songs of singer-songwriters. This EP will also include more progressive sounds and rhythms. I also plan to do some live concerts and collaborate with other artists.