Just like his name which takes inspiration from a cocktail that’s tonic for the soul; producer, composer, Pina Colada Blues has been creating refreshing tracks across various formats of music such as dream, electro-pop, trap, hip-hop, R&B, Carnatic and eastern infused western styles. Weaving magic with his tunes once again, Sony Music India’s Label Day One announces Pina Colada Blues’, very-first Hindi single titled Kyun?.
Your latest release, ‘Kyun?’ is special for many reasons. One, it is your first dive into the Hindi space, and two, it also happens to be a rehashed version of your Malayalam track ‘Akalukayo’ which was released last year. Is ‘Kyun?’ similar to its parent composition in terms of the listening experience?
Kyun? is a bit different from Akalukayo, arrangement-wise as well as from a lyrical perspective. The themes are on similar lines. Akalukayo was centered on a romantic relationship, whereas in Kyun? there is a broader canvas that covers all relationships – be it that of a father-son, or that of two friends and so on. It is a ballad that talks about an in-between phase of a relationship where one is about to lose someone but they haven’t lost them yet; a time when one knows for sure that the other person has begun to drift apart.
Very much like the cocktail that forms a part of your stage name (Pina Colada Blues) your music could be labelled as a hybrid mix of unrelated genres. Can you name a few artists who have inspired you to go down this path?
My music typically has shades of various genres. One thing I ensure while working on my music is that the blending of these genres does not ultimately sound weird. Coming to the artists whom I look up to; Flume is one artist whose work really resonates with me. His music is really experimental and random, but at the same time, it sounds mainstream too. Anyone can listen to it! Then there’s Skrillex who can effortlessly shuffle between genres like EDM and Dubstep.
Could you tell us a little about your composing process?
I have been a keyboardist since my school days. One day, when I was back at home alone, I was just playing a chord progression and I started humming the vocal melody for this song Kyun?. Most times, I start out with just the piano bits and the vocal melodies. Sometimes I add in a few dummy lyrics – they could be in any language and mostly act as placeholders that help me in building the tune better. Once I have that done, I usually send it to my friend Abhiram who pens down the Malayalam lyrics (if it is a Malayalam song).
Again, in the case of Kyun?, the song was written by Ritendra who is based in Bombay. I sent him the tune and discussed with him the themes that I felt the song should revolve around. I remember that within the first two drafts, we had a really good product, which we finalised and finished off. It took about a week to complete the production of the song. After production, I sang a demo version and sent it to Mridul. There were a few things we needed to work on, like the pronunciation of certain Hindi words. But once the final recording was done, we recorded some additional instruments and completed the final mix and master.
As a promising young artist in the independent scene in Kerala (and India), what do you think is the biggest challenge of going the indie route and how do you think this challenge can be overcome?
When I started out, I didn’t know anyone in the industry. I basically started out with two friends from college. But I made sure to constantly push myself and network with people. I think that one of the main challenges people face in the scene here is getting the right contacts who will help push your work in the right direction and get support from other stakeholders, platforms etc. People essentially need to learn to network their way up. Because ultimately it’s not just about making good music; what happens next is almost as important as the previous step of actually creating the music. In that sense, I consider myself very lucky to have this association with Sony Music India’s Day One label.
So you do think that labels are a viable option for artists to increase the visibility of their work?
Definitely. See, in the USA, there are established labels that support work spanning across various genres and sub-genres. But in India, we are at a relatively nascent stage, with labels such as Day One proactively stepping up. When more labels come up, I believe that more artists will get access to the exposure, resources and networking that the labels bring with them.
‘Kyun?’ happens to be your first release with the record label Day One. Could you tell us a little about this collaboration with Day One?
When I started putting out my music, one of the folks at Day One came across my work and approached me to sign up with the label. I signed with them in September. Day One’s main mission is to put out songs that cut across genre and language barriers, this is something that I personally identify with and so I think that there is a strong cultural fit. The collab has given me a good team to work with as well, and I’m really excited for the song and the music video that will be coming out on the 29th!
Can we expect more Hindi (and other languages) songs from the Pina Colada Blues stable in future?
I believe that music has no language. I definitely do not want to work under any genre restrictions or language restrictions; as long as the song sounds good, I’m happy working anywhere. So definitely, you can expect more Hindi, Tamil, English and Malayalam songs in the future!
‘Kyun?’ is a ballad that talks about the acceptance of a failing relationship. It talks about people drifting away due to reasons that cannot be fixed. Perfectly reflecting the mood, the song, just like a cocktail, is a fusion of sounds that bring together the genres of Big Band, Acoustic Pop with elements of jazz (with a fine saxophone solo that will leave you hooked). The song, penned by Ritendra Dirghangi, was composed, arranged, and produced by Pina Colada Blues and features Mridul Anil on the vocals. You can listen to the song here:
Comment below if you loved listening to Kyun? by Pina Colada Blues.