Suraj Mani speaks to us about his first release in eight years — an EP that explores different facets of love and relationships
WE ASK MUSICIAN Suraj Mani why he decided to release an album after a gap of eight years. “The time felt right,” he answers succinctly. “Sometimes, there are things you have to say out loud. Music has always offered me that safe haven. This EP is basically me opening up my heart,” he adds. The four-track EP is called Rinse and Repeat, and is out on June 20.
Suraj Mani’s musical journey began as the lead vocalist of Motherjane and today, he performs with the band Suraj Mani & The Tattva Trip, which is popular for its unique blend of rock and poetry. With this album too, the songwriting process has been the thrust. “I am a singer-songwriter first and with this EP, we’ve kept that as the focus. There are different elements coming into the songs depending upon the mood we wanted to create,” he tells us.
The EP starts with the song, Rinse and Repeat. “This song is about keeping your heart open even when it hurts. Because otherwise you will shut out all the beautiful people who are in your life,” Suraj says. The song took us back to the good old days of Indian rock, with its signature guitar riffs and unhurried vocals. Sacred Ground is a much more fast-paced number. “It is about betrayal in relationships. And it’s about holding people accountable for what they have done,” the artiste says.
The next track, La Petite Mort, (little death in French), refers to the brief loss or weakening of consciousness, especially after an orgasm. “The song is about just those few moments when your mind is blank and you surrender yourself to that moment of bliss. Metaphorically, I’m talking about the breakdown of barriers and knowing a state where there is no other,” Suraj tells us. Samsara, acts as a summing up of the EP and touches on deeper philosophical themes.
While the album has a solid rock foundation, it also experiments with Indian fusion. It features bassist Harshit Mishra aka Hashbass, Karan Chitra Deshmukh on the tabla, Aman Mahajan on keyboards and Cajetan Dias on the string section. It has been produced and mixed by Keshav Dhar, from the rock band Skyharbor.
As for the future, Suraj is being optimistic. “I’m hoping to do a tour once the world opens up. I am also releasing more music this year. On an organic level, it is the fans identifying with the songs that will make my music a part of their lives. And that’s already happening,” he signs off.
Available on online streaming platforms from June 20