He is part of the trio that has created some of the greatest songs of modern Hindi cinema ranging from beautiful ballads, to hard hitting rock, to gorgeous orchestrations and everything in between. That trio is Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and we are talking about, and with, Ehsaan. The musician once again took time out of his busy schedule to have a chat with BollySpice about all things music, including the Spanish infused Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, getting Farhan, Hrithik and Abhay to sing, what are some of his favorite songs and so much more!
How have things been going?
Been hectic as ever we are busy with the background score of Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Aarakshan. I have also been very busy with the promotion of my Fender Signature models, so its been hectic but a lot of fun.
On your official web site it says you and Shankar and Loy together are Rhythm, Vibe and Sound. Can you explain what that means?
Well, I guess it pretty much describes our music that it has attitude and aesthetics and reaches out to a lot of people.
You have been working on Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, tell us about the music for the film.
It’s a gorgeous album that we have experimented with a lot of styles like Latin and Bossa and of course there is the Spanish thing since the film is shot in Spain. It has a nice and airy sound to it.
You tweeted you played a lot of acoustic guitar so will this sound be different from your other albums?
Well, there is a lot of acoustic guitar on both the background score and on the CD. The background score for me was a lesson, as I had to play all these Spanish things, which I had never played before. On the album we used a couple of other guitar players who are specialists in Bossa Nova and Flamenco.
Will the songs be more background or lip synch?
It’s a combination of both…there are background songs and lip sync songs too.
How was it working with Farhan, Abhay and Hrithik to get them to sing the song Senorita?
All three of them were super to work with. Farhan and Hrithik both have had singing experience and Abhay though new to the singing thing did a very good job.
Favorite song you all have composed in the last year?
I think all the songs from ZNMD are favorites. It’s one of my favorite albums that I can keep listening to.
SEL also has Don 2, Aarakshan coming up, can you give us some insight into what those albums will encompass?
Both scores are very different naturally as each film demands. Don’s music is funky it has attitude and can only belong to a film like Don!!! Aarakshan is more on the traditional side and is very melodic.
What else have you been working on?
We are working on a film with Kamal Hassan and will be starting work with Nikhil Advani and Abhishek Kapoor.
What do you say to yourself before you begin on the journey of creating a new piece of work?
It’s a mixture of nervousness and excitement and there always a little prayer for us to be creative and inspired.
How has your music changed over time?
It has become more evolved, melodically stronger and has changed with the time and trends.
How has composing for films changed?
Composition is the same process always its the end product that changes with each subsequent script. Directors now are very sure and very true to their scripts and their specifications are fairly detailed which is great.
Pick a favorite… composing OST, background score, concerts or just jamming in the studio?
Concerts for sure! You are right there with the audience and the energy transfer is super. It’s like a meditation and gives you a high like nothing else.
If you had to pick a favorite genre to perform what would it be?
It all depends… performing the music SEL plays and my personal music- the blues, are completely different experiences. I like both genres to perform and eventually a good show gives you the same experience.
What about favorite genre to listen to? To compose in?
I love to listen to guitar music be it the blues, jazz, fusion… anything. I can’t say which genre is a favorite genre because eventually it’s a good song that counts but rock is a personal favorite a.l.a Rock On!!.
What do you think makes SEL’s music so special?
It’s eclectic and is composed with passion and soul. It is popular and maintains a high level of aesthetic.
What do you think of Hindi music today? Do you see a change?
It has evolved and like any genre of music there are good songs and bad songs. Production values are much higher and the music is more keeping with the trends.
What do you think is the best song SEL has done so far?
‘Kal Ho Na Ho’ is a special simple song that really says a lot.
Your favorite song or songs of all time?
There are too many favorite songs, but I guess ‘Us and Them’ by Pink Floyd, ‘Imagine’ by John Lennon and ‘Kuch Dil Ne Kaha’ by Hemant Kumar would be among my favorites
You recently one the IIFA technical award for the Background musical score for My Name is Khan. What does that mean to you?
Background score is given very secondary treatment in the Indian Film Industry unlike songs. It feels good that a work done by you gets the appreciation of the industry.
Do you miss the old ways of song picturisation? Or does the background song that is not sung by the actors suit you better?
It all depends now on how the film is. You could shoot a song in any way and if the film is bad nothing matters.
What advice do you have for aspiring lyricists/composers/singers?
I think anyone should draw their influences not only from the industry that they work in but from all kinds of global sources be it music, literature, art or film. There is a growth process in every creative field and that should never stop.
Favorite recently released film?
I haven’t watched too many recently released films of late but I did like Social Network a lot!!!
Film you are most looking forward too?
Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Don 2
Do you have a message for the fans of your music?
We only create the music for all you guys it begins and ends with you!!! We are not about ready to do just music for ourselves the journey is still on!!!