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Raghav Sachar is no stranger to the Indian music scene. With a voice worth more than 24 Carat gold and an amazing ability to play over 30 instruments, he’s won fans all over the world. Below follows an interview with Raghav Sachar For the First Time on PlanetBollywood.com, in which he discusses One Two Three, his composition techniques, favorite compositions, forthcoming assignments, and more!
One Two Three is my first complete commercial film. I am very happy with the way the music has shaped up. I am getting a very positive feedback from the audiences.
What's your favorite song in One Two Three?
All songs are extremely close to my heart but if I had to choose one then it would be Rock Mahi.
You've certainly got a great vocal range—you actually sound pretty good in the female portion of the title track in One Two Three :) Looks like the female singers out there have got some additional competition!
[Laughs] I have no intention of giving any female singer any competition… besides they are all my close friends. It is just a one off thing that I did for the song because it gave a different texture and sounded different. I like experimenting and that’s what I did with One Two Three.
How do you decide which singers to use in a particular song—the actor/actress the song is being filmed on? The mood of the song?
I decide singers by seeing which singer would be able to take the song to a different level. I like to work with people who are fast and spontaneous. Two such people who I always work with are Sunidhi Chauhan and Sonu Nigam. Both are brilliant singers and add a lot to my compositions. Of course I have to keep in mind the actor on whom the song will be picturized. Their voice quality and texture…
What are the key factors you examine before deciding to compose music for a film?
The key factor is the situation the song is based upon. If it is romantic, sad, or a club track, or just a chill out track, etc. The most important thing is to grab hold of the director’s vision and to understand the project from his point of view. It helps if the director is a good narrator.
You've also composed the music to your own albums. Do you feel that composing for your own albums allows for more creative freedom, or do you feel you are give enough creative freedom when composing for Bollywood films?
Composing for albums and films are two completely different things. My albums are true replication of what I am going through in life personally. There are no deadlines to meet and no one to report to. I am my own boss and can make any kind of music without any interference. Having said that I do not work with production houses and people who do not give me creative freedom for my Bollywood projects. I have been very lucky to have worked with two of the biggest production houses in India--Yash Raj and Big Screen Entertainment. Both respect my space and give me the desired creative freedom to create good music.
What role do lyrics play in the composition process? Do you wait for the lyrics to be penned down before you compose? Or, does it work the reverse way?
Lyrics are a major part of the composition process. There are no hard and fast rules of composing melodies. It can work either way. Sometimes I create better melodies just humming on a traffic signal. For instance the melody of Kabul Fiza, Manzar and Rock Mahi were made before the lyrics were written. Although, if I have the lyrics then I can compose more easily and faster. But that’s just me.
What's your source of inspiration?
I can get inspired anywhere by anything. Music is a 24-hour, ongoing process for me. Any sound to my ears is music and I create music out of everything--like horns on the road, industrial sounds like drills, etc. Most of my spontaneous compositions happen in the outdoors when it is least expected.
I'm sure you must listen to a lot of music. What are a few of your favorite compositions (other than your own)?
My favorite band is called “Incognito.” It is a jazz funk band and they are just phenomenal. Other artists I like are, Sting, Maroon 5, Kenny Garrette, Frank Sinatra, Charlie Parker, Jethro Tull, G&R, Dream Theatre, Extreme, Deep Purple. I have been a big time fan of R.D. Burman, Kishore Kumar, Mohammad Rafi out of the Indian inspirations. A.R. Rahman is one of the latest ones.
You're surrounded by music all the time—are there moments when you just want to get away from it all?
Sometimes it gets too much, so I don’t listen to anything while in the car. I also exercise to get my mind off work. I go for swimming and squash. Whenever possible I play golf, which helps me relax and rejuvenate.
In the music industry, it's essential to constantly reinvent yourself. How do you make sure to follow through on this?
I keep reinventing myself which in turn comes through in my music. For instance I never knew that I could sing in a girls voice… but it just happened, and we have a different sound which is created.I play over 30 music instruments so reinventing my sound is the least of my worries. I know that my treatment for songs can change with ease. Arrangement is the key feature of a composition these days. One song can be treated in loads of different styles.
What are some changes you would like to see taking place in the Indian music scene?
The first change should be that people behind the scenes should be given there due credit and recognition, which unfortunately is not done. The entire credit of the films go to the actors which is not nice because if the technicians had not done their job well then the actors would be looking like fools onscreen. The Indian audience is very uneducated in this respect. They only see what comes onscreen. I feel that during the publicity of the films there should be equal importance given to the technical team, as well.
What are some pros and cons you think come with being a celebrity?
There are definitely more pros than cons.People look up to you as a person. There is respect that you command after a certain time. Everyone takes you seriously. Cons are things like media going nuts on personal matters and spoiling an artist’s career in the process. Sometimes people take things and life for granted after stardom. Overconfidence can also be a reason for a downfall. I believe in being modest and that’s something that is lacking these days.
You've certainly accomplished a lot at such a young age. What are some of the additional goals you have set for yourself?
Goals are never-ending for me. I personally feel that I have not done much at all because there is so much more that I can do. I will hopefully be giving music in some more films to come. Besides that I am working on my next album. Performing live is something I love so that is going on in full flow. I would like to make a hand picked band of my own taking musicians from different parts of the world.
What's the best compliment you've received so far for your work?
Mmmmmm no one could have done it better.
What's a less-known fact about you?
That I am a good sportsman—especially, a good golfer.
You play about 30 instruments—your dad promised to gift you with an instrument every birthday :) What's the next instrument he is going to gift you with?
[Laughs] My dad stopped giving me instruments about 10 years ago. I started earning by then and bought instruments on my own. Now I don’t wait for my birthday, I pick up instruments as and when I feel like.
You've become an icon for many youngsters. Being an icon comes with its own set of added responsibilities. What's your take on this?
Well I am grateful to people and fans who support me and want to be like me. All I can say is where there is a will there is a way, and that’s exactly what has happened with me. Of course, you need to have good luck with all that, and absolutely wonderful and supportive parents, which I think, is my greatest asset.
What are some of the other projects you're currently working on/will work on in the near future?
I am working on m next album and live concerts as of now. My next project out is a film called Hale Dil, which will be released in a couple of months. Tours are going on and I love performing outside India so am looking forward to some international shows in the near future.
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