Fusion band IndoSoul talks about their fourth album 'Equilibrium' and their evolution over a decade

We catch up with founder and violinist Karthick Iyer ahead of the band's ‘homecoming’ show this weekend
Members of IndoSoul
Members of IndoSoul

After a decade together, IndoSoul shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, apart from their fourth album, Equilibrium, which released earlier this year, the band seems to be creating a whole new amalgam of music projects that expands their reach to newer audiences, that might not necessarily make it to a concert on a Saturday night. Like founding member, Karthick Iyer’s, Violin Technique, which is a YouTube education platform for students looking for the best of both worlds — carnatic and contemporary. Or Aikyam by IndoSoul, which specialises in devotional performances for muhurthams and the like, where you might find a senior citizen draped in their Kanchivaram finest, tapping her feet to the set list. Ahead of the band’s ‘homecoming’ show, curated by Quriosity, as part of their album tour, we find out what the band has been up to lately.

It’s been seven years since your debut album released. How much has changed since then?
Over the years, there’s been a lot of evolution that has taken place. We  understand each other better and it’s sort of a six-way relationship (Akshay Yesodharan and Vikram Vivekanand on guitars, Venkat Subramanian on mridangam and percussion, Ramkumar on the drums, Reshwin Nishith on bass and me on the violin). With the release of Equilibrium, it feels like we have hit another nice milestone for the band and its sound; we are looking forward to continuing and taking our music to the next level and composing more fresh and interesting music in the contemporary classic sphere.

And then there are your many off-shoot projects...
Yes, we have Aikyam by IndoSoul, which is another band where we play a lot of religious devotional music and  muhurtham shows. We also have a music production studio which I call Flow, that is starting to see a lot of advertisement jingles and background scores. And we are soon starting another band which will be about getting together a group of young musicians and mentoring them to create a band together. 

You also have a masterclass coming up in May with the Violin Technique. How long has this education channel been on and what is the scale of enthusiasm for the violin in 2023?
Violin Technique with Karthick Iyer (VTwKI) started as a result of a lot of plans that fructified during the pandemic. There were no shows and recordings then, so I thought it would be a good time to start Violin Technique as everyone was looking to do something new. It really worked out as I had hundreds of students who joined my crash course and the following year, I decided to make it a full fledged institute with faculty and a syllabus. My mission with the Violin Technique is simple, I want to offer a shortcut to students who are looking to go down the path of being a contemporary carnatic 
violinist, someone who is learning all the usual carnatic techniques but is also learning a few other things from different streams like western classical to enable him or her to get the best of all worlds, while being a well rounded carnatic musician.
    This masterclass (May 6 and 7) is aimed at getting some more violinists for our in-house band. We want violinists who can join IndoSoul related projects, and play with us.

What inspired the name Equilibrium for your latest album?
Equilibrium was named at a time when the world was going through the pandemic. We felt like there was a need for equilibrium amongst the people in the world, for us as musicians and everyone in the entertainment industry. To the band, it also represents an effort to bridge and go back to the core sound of IndoSoul that we started a decade ago.

Take us behind the scenes. Paint us a picture about the making of this album.
It has been in the works for about three to four years, we had about 30 songs to choose from, which we  shortlisted. But we still ended up composing three or four songs at the jam pad when we started with a blank slate and new melody ideas.

Chat with us about some of your favourite compositions and the stories behind them.
One of the interesting songs would be Not a Clown Anymore. IndoSoul fans would remember, A Clown’s Junket was one of our first compositions and one of the very popular songs that people associate us with. We have always strived to see if we can make another song like it, with the magic that was there then with a bunch of innocent guys fresh into a band. When we composed a song that we thought sounded like it, at least in a few ways, we named it Not a Clown Anymore because we realised that we can’t get A Clown’s Junket again.

What is next?
We are definitely looking to tour a lot more with Equilibrium, take it to various different cities across the country and globally. And hopefully, sometime next year, we will be ready to do a grand launch of all the bands that are a part of the IndoSoul eco-system, along with some new music.

INR 499. April 22. 8 pm. At Barracuda Brew.

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