TALENT SPOTTING Harsha Iyer has taken the word multi-task seriously in bringing front his debut album Curious Toys. HARIN CHANDRA
Indian rock music is going through a rapid transition. Now is the time to discover our own rock stars. Here is one such emerging talent. Harsha Iyer, a 19-year-old from Chennai, will soon be a name to be reckoned with. Armed with sound knowledge of music, good grip over lyrics and, above all, the voice that rattles the nerves, Harsha has now arrived with his debut album Curious Toys. Harsha speaks to NXg about his music, his debut album and more…
How did music enter your life?
I always did enjoy listening even as a little kid. My dad was a big listener so there was music always playing at home. By the time I was in Std XI, I started writing my own songs; music was something that came quite instinctively…
Do you prefer Alternative Rock and Indie Rock or will you dabble with more variety in future?
I don’t really see myself sticking to one style or restricting myself to genres or anything at this point. It’s more about what works for the songs. I guess it will keep changing as I evolve musically and whatever inspires me at that point of time. What will be common though, I guess, is a “Harsha Iyer” sound to it.
Challenges while making the album…
I worked solo: wrote all the songs, played all the instruments, produced, recorded, mixed, mastered all songs in my own studio and then there was the artwork to get done as well. Apart from that, not much hassle. I have to thank my dad and mom for constant guidance and encouragement. My mentor Kishore Krishna, songwriter of the Chennai-based band Adam and The Fish Eyed Poets, helped a lot. Shiva’s the graphic designer who did all the artwork and Saketh played lead guitars on two of the songs.
How has the response been?
Amazingly positive. Most people really dig it and have been getting in touch on Facebook. It’s been spreading, thanks to the Internet.
Your role models or inspirations?
Realistically my biggest role models around here are my dad and Kishore Krishna. Also, there’s Patti Smith, The Beatles, Nick Cave, Bob Dylan, Ray Charles , Elvis Costello, Radiohead, Hans Zimmer, Ennio Morricone… too many to name.
How do you juggle music and your studies?
I’m 19 but I don’t go to college (luckily). My parents are very supportive. I’m into music full time. I study on my own at home, so I have a lot of free time to focus completely on music: listening, writing, recording, playing live…
Tell us something about your future album.
The next one is completely different from the first. It’s a lot more streamlined, different themes, characters and stories. Musically the first is mostly guitar driven. The next is a more piano and orchestral approach. It will be out in five months or so, do watch out for updates on http://www.facebook.com/pages/ Harsha-Iyer/267420853284035
Review: Curious Toys
Curious Toys does make you curious about the 19-year-old who can collate a list of dozen songs, each with a flavour of its own. Right from the first note, the feel is inundated with a streak of acoustic exuberance.
Technically, the album is very professional. The sound effects, the digital mixing and mastering were impeccable. The rhythm in the lead vocal is in tandem with the backing vocals and harmonises the tune. There is a strong sense of intensity both in the instruments and the vocals that gives a feel of raw, pure and original music. There is an unpredictable flow that keeps you hooked.
Each song is unique and diverse. The best are I find you boring and Overcautious; the last is a rush of pure adrenalin, No say is melancholic with a raw feel of emotion. On the edge is sharp with words and interludes. Addiction gets you addicted. The off switch shows depth in the vocals while Toys scores rich lyrical value with Fear causing a haunting effect.
Overall, listening to Curious Toys’ ignites the nerves of trendy alternative rock and thrusts you with a combo of punk and Indie rock. As for the curiosity part, this definitely makes you curious for Harsha Iyer’s next album.
Free download at: http://harsha-iyer.bandcamp.com/album/curious-toys
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