Euphoria's Palash Sen releases a new track I Like It, Like It, says, "This country does not have a music industry, there's only a film industry... this needs to change"
The indie band Euphoria's lead singer and musician, Palash Sen, released a new song titled I Like It, Like It in the last week on May this year, during the nationwide lockdown. Released on Likee, a short video creation platform by Singapore-based BIGO Technology, the song has crossed 340 million views on the app. In an exclusive interview, the singer shares more about the song, his band Euphoria and how the film industry influences independent musicians like him.
Here are the excerpts:
Tell us about your new song, what's the theme and narrative? What is the inspiration behind it?
I didn't think of any theme when I started working on the song, but as it progressed I realised that it was about a boy and a girl meeting and how they get ready for it. But when they meet, there is a twist. The inspiration was just to make a song that would make you dance. Some people from the music industry in Mumbai told me that the kind of music I am making wouldn't work now, this kind of hurt me. So I attempted to make something that's relevant today. My band Euphoria has never stopped making music, we have always been very active, and this song is our new attempt.
You are also introducing your son Kinshuk Sen with this song... can you tell us more about him?
My son, Kinshuk, is a graduate of neurosciences from UCLA. While he was in college, I cast him in my short films Jiya Jaye and Ek Tarfa. He is quite keen to pursue acting and theatre was one of his subjects during graduation. When we were thinking of whom to cast for this song, his name came up. I depend on him a lot because he knows exactly what needs to be done for today's audience. He shot the video on his mobile phone in LA, and we directed him remotely from Delhi. The leading girl Mili shot her part in Delhi. This entire video has been shot at Delhi, Mumbai, LA, Chennai and Gurgaon. It was a lot of fun to work on it.
Why did you choose to collaborate and launch it on the Likee App?
It was very difficult for a non-film act to get a slot on television today. I am an independent artiste, and I had no platform left. Everything is being controlled by the film industry or big labels. It was getting really difficult to find a space for independent music, and that's when Likee came into the picture. Here was a channel that was keen on original content, and they were also trying to find space in the industry, so that's why we collaborated. The song just happened, and they loved it. Short video platforms are now space for independent music artistes to release their music. If the audience like and search for the songs, longer versions of the same can be presented to them.
How have music apps influenced the music scene in India? Is it a more level playing field now for independent artistes and singers? What are your thoughts?
This country does not have a music industry, there's only a film industry and we (musicians) are a part of it. I think this is not fair, this needs to change and I have spoken about it on my Facebook page. So many musicians depend on shows for their livelihood, but there are no shows now. We need some kind of support for all the music professionals. Music apps have helped musicians a lot. But the level playing field is still not the same. Independent artistes still find it hard to get their space. Some day it will change. Film songs take up the space of independent music. I think the introduction of music apps is a step to change this and help musicians.
The pandemic and the lockdown have changed our lives completely... how has this impacted your life as a musician? Do you think making and producing music from home studios will be the way ahead for musicians?
My life has been impacted in a positive way. People have reconnected with Euphoria and Palash Sen because the entire clout of the film industry is fading, and people are looking for independent music and entertainment. This is the time when the audience has realised the importance of artistes. It's a great time in my life, I am creating more music. I wrote songs titled, 'Aaj Corona Ne Sab Ko Sudhara' and 'Coffee With Ma'. I am doing corporate and charity gigs from my home. We have been physically distanced but emotionally more connected.
Considering how music production and making music has become democratic with easily accessible equipment and apps, how is this going to change the future of music?
It's become quite easy to produce music. The advantage is that anyone without spending too much money can put out a song, but the disadvantage is that anybody can become a musician. Now even popular actors have think they can write and compose songs. The auto-tuning apps have created a bit of a problem. However, I will always look at the plus points of this. But the promotion of all music needs to be equal.
What's your advice to struggling musicians and artistes?
Just be yourself and don't be a slave to anybody. Don't be scared, express yourself honestly. You just need to keep doing what you are doing. The audience will listen. I speak from my experience. Euphoria never got any support from the industry, but the people of the country believed in us. It's been 21 years now, and we have produced a dance song, I Like It, Like It. We are still playing and do live gigs.