Project Mishram’s album Meso boasts a diverse track list with an amalgamation of genres
Bengaluru-based Project Mishram started as a band in RV College of Engineering. They’re a Carnatic
band that tries to explore as many different sounds as possible by introducing different genres to carnatic music. They rose to fame after recording gig’s at Kappa Studios and have toured in the UK, performing at Euro-Tech Fest, and sharing the stage with bands such as Monuments and Vildhjarta. We speak to the band about its new album Meso.
What is Meso about and what inspired the album? How would you describe your style?
Srishankar: We don’t want to get typecast into one style. Meso is an album where each track is completely different from each other and we wanted the album to sound as varied and open as possible.
Could you tell us more about the tracks on the album? How would you describe your sound?
Shrishankar: The tracks in the album are Sakura, spring, Nivaasa, Loco Coko, Kanakana, and Mangalam. Sakura is themed around the four seasons and a character's journey across them. It has strong carnatic underpinnings and features thillanas with very heavy riffs. Springs is a really short track that evolved out of Sakura; we wanted Sakura to have an open ending and spring was our interpretation
of Sakura's climax.
Shivaraj: Nivaasa is a jazz and carnatic fusion song co-composed by Arun Luthra (saxophone), featuring Dion Tucker(trombone) and Nadje Noordhuis(trumpet) from America. The song has typical old school jazz sections as well as modern progressive jazz elements. Nivaasa means home in Sanskrit and we’ve tried to musically express the feeling of home through the music.
Sumant: Loco Coko is essentially a meme song, we're very comically inclined group. The song is very laid back but also features aggressive riffs and features genres like rap, EDM, dubstep, ASMR, and nadhaswaram as the song progresses. It has a very cinematic ending and is a mix and mash of many things happening, with a common musical and lyrical theme that strings across the song.
Pranav: Kanakana is basically a hardcore carnatic composition fused with metal and features KMAC on vocals.
Shivaraj: We wanted to use a very complex raaga and fuse it with thall. The raaga sounded very similar to thall and that’s what gave us the idea to create this fusion. Kmac is a very talented musician who features on the song with some vocals.
Sanath: Mangalam is traditionally sung at that end a carnatic concert. We added some acoustic guitars, beatboxing, and melodies over it. The song is very calm and laid back but very rich with vocal harmonies and full sounding guitarists. It's an homage to an ending of a traditional carnatic show but in Mishram's way.
What are your individual roles on the albums? What is the band's creative process?
Ram: Sumant, Shivaraj and Shrishankar record their ideas and bring them to the band we listen to it and if we like it we start building on it. We solve our creative differences in a democratic manner.
Why are you called Project Mishram?
Shrishankar: Mishram means mixture and balance, it signifies the seven beat thala in caranatic music and the seven people in the band.
Who are the artistes or bands you guys listen to?
Ram: We have a lot of influences throughout the band. We listen to bands like Periphery, Tesseract and Meshuggah and on the jazz side artists like Miles Davis and Snarky Puppy, we also like hip-hop artists like A$AP Rocky, Del the Funky Homosapien and a lot of Carnatic music.
Shivaraj: Sanath and I also like listening to Edm and are trying to convert other members of the band to not dislike it completely.
What was the most memorable moment on tour?
Shrishankar: I remember this one night, it was late and we were hungry. So we found an Indian/ Pakistani pizza take out place and sat on the pavements and ate in the most traditional Indian way.
Sumant: Another scarring experience is we played at an exhibitionist festival “not a cult” which was a cult festival. With nude people on a lawn and we were just so confused, it's funny now but was very scarring at the moment.
Where would the band like to be in the future?
Shivaraj: We want to play at the maximum number of venues. We’d like to play at Euroblast, Download, Radar, ArcTanGent as well. Some jazz festivals like the Montreal jazz festival or the java jazz festival as well, and experience playing on stages in different parts of the world.