As I walk around what appears to be a highly professional set up, Prithvi Chandrashekar shows me around his studio — which has the same name as the band — while explaining what his musical sensibilities are and how the band came into being. Prithvi has worked on over seven albums and done soundtracks for both Tamil and Telugu movies but creating independent music was always on the cards.
How did Krimson Avenue first become a band?
Prithvi Chandrashekhar: We started out earlier this year. I like to call it a production house, because we are constantly collaborating with different musicians. I like a lot of video-based stuff — today we spend so much time on YouTube — so I decided that it is the way to go. The idea is to record musicians live and make the audience fall in love with different genres be it Indian classical or Western. Having learnt music since the age of eight, I thought it might be a good idea to have videos up. I watched a video of Vandana with Shankar Tucker and then we met and we really clicked musically.
Vandana Srinivasan: I heard a song that Prithvi had worked on, it was an original composition called ‘Tum’, and I was excited to see original music being made in the city so I sent him an e-mail and we just took it from there. I am a big fan of Bollywood music and Once we met we realised we had a lot of common interests so it translated to our music.
How did the first song come into being?
VS: As soon as we met we decided to work on a few songs together. We picked a few popular A.R. Rahman songs and re-arranged it. Mash-ups of popular songs are really popular in the west and it’s slowly making rounds here. It’s a great way to increase your fan-base because audiences connect with these songs faster.
PC: We worked on the A.R. Rehman mash-up the day after we met and everything fell into place in a day. Amith Krishnan shot and edited the video while Toby Joseph handled the recording. We all managed to really work together and The video was up on YouTube and Facebook. It got a fair bit of traffic and we’ve received good response, encouraging us to do more such videos.
How was it collaborating with Shankar Tucker?
PC: I am a huge fan of Shankar Tucker. When I was studying in Berklee College of Music, I would watch his videos. You see an American playing music from your homeland; it really makes you feel good. Working with him was a dream come true, one minute you’re watching him on YouTube and the next you’re actually working with him. It was great.
VS: Shankar is immensely talented and The best part is he lets you experiment and gives you full creative freedom. I’ve worked with him before the Krimson Avenue collaboration and he is easily the most comfortable music director around to work with.
How was it performing to a live audience?
VS: Singing at the Fete De La Musique at Geothe Institute was great experience; it was a very special show for me. The setting was perfect; I’ve always wanted to do a show like that, unplugged-acoustic setup. The energy and vibe was good and we got really good feedback.
PC: Frankly, I didn’t think we would get Shankar to join us. But I asked him casually and he was happy to do the show. It was great to perform to a packed audience in Geothe Institute. The audience was very receptive and seemed to really enjoy it.
Where is Krimson Avenue headed?
PC: We hope to collaborate with more talented musicians and record live with the best production value. Krimson Avenue Studios, caters to a lot of young musicians who need a place to record, of course we still do film music, trailers and advertisements. Bands from Bangalore are coming to record at the studio, Blood and Iron is set to record at our studio. To meet internationals standards, the studio is equipped with gear that provides quality sound. In terms of the music production we’ve started, the videos are really helping create a fan-base and I want to keep it going. Vandana and I are working on our next song, which should be up soon.
VS: We are working on our third song but also want to do more live shows. We don’t intend to replicate any popular songs, it’s pointless. We want to give it our treatment and we hope the audience will enjoy it.
Current line up: Prithvi Chandrashekhar on piano and Vandana Srinivasan on vocals (Collaborations with Shankar Tucker and other artists)
Big Moment: Our first YouTube video making it to more than 1000 views in a day and the live performance at Fete De La Musique festival in Chennai.
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