Basil Babychan Interview
We were fortunate enough to interview Basil Babychan. You can find his content at https://basilbabychan.com.
When did you realise that you had a passion for music?
Being fascinated by fairy tales played on audio cassettes at home, waking up to Christmas carols, listening to and singing Malayalam gospel songs, enjoying the Goan Masala in our residential society and being regularly exposed to the hits of the 70s-early 90s at my daycare - these are the earliest impressions I retain from my childhood growing up in Mumbai and I believe may have played a big role in my subsequent interest in and passion for music.
My mother exposed me to every opportunity that came our way by enrolling me as a participant in singing competitions, choirs and music bands. After having enrolled in a few months of piano lessons, I gained a diploma in Piano playing from Trinity College London around the age of 12. Ironically I also failed the diploma in reading sheet music. This, to date, is the only "formal" education I have in a music-related discipline.
My first memories in trying to appreciate popular Western music was with the sonds of Backstreet Boys at age 14 or so and from there it grew to artists like Sting, Robbie Williams, Savage Garden and the like.
Who are your main inspirations as an artist?
Classical masterpieces (Mozart, Brahms), storytelling compositions through the 70's - 90's (Johnny Cash, Kenny Rogers), alternative and classical styles of this century (Sting, Yanni, Zakir Hussain), electronic dance music (Avicii, SHM) and those of contemporary cinematic composers (Hans Zimmer, A.R Rahman) are my major sources of inspiration. In their own unique ways, each of these greats have touched and moved the listener.
I am also inspired by some remakes and remixes - when an artist respectfully re-interprets the original composition to exemplify a completely different emotion.
What would you like to achieve as an artist?
Music has this innate ability to touch, move and heal.
If my music can impact the listener at this level, I have achieved more than what I could have hoped for. I am in awe of this power and am conscious of the responsibility.
What is your most memorable moment while being an artist?
A few years back I put some effort in self-learning to be a DJ. While I'm far from what you would call a DJ, I invited myself to play at a friend's take away tea-cafe during the afternoons (He was kind enough to let me do that).
After the first few appearances, I noticed that some of his customers would stay back after ordering their drink to enjoy the music. That's the closest I got to having fans :-D
What is It about orchestral/cinematic that appeals to you?
Cinematic scores & Soundtracks are specifically written to convey a set of emotions, magnify a story line and deliver a message. Hence this style naturally appeals to me.
Orchestral music is rich, it's deep, it's layered. You have so many ways to express yourself here, that it's mind boggling. When combined with sounds and instruments used in Classical music (be it from the East or West) - it carries with it a very strong heritage and foundation. One can study them for decades and still be an early student.
What made you want to choose this genre specifically and not a more 'mainstream' genre?
Well I have not consciously steered away from mainstream. Its rather that, the stories and messages I wanted to share in this album, seemed to be more resonant with the orchestral/classical style.
Also I don't have the need or pressure to make music with billboards in mind.
What soundtracks from films do you really enjoy?
Pirates of the Caribbean, the Dark Knight Trilogy, Titanic, to name a few.
How would you describe your style?
Frankly, I have no clue what my style maybe called. I am just starting off and doing what I think would be the best I can do, to do justice to the subject in mind.
With my music, I'm sharing a story, a message. This story is scripted with sounds, patterns, orchestrations, poems. Since my inspirations are all over, once can expect my music to be a popular form of the traditional/conventional styles of any genre.
My first album accidentally INCorporated is an attempt to present a series of short messages, influenced by life and inspired by orchestral sounds. So you can expect a bit of classical and symphonic styles in here.
What is your creative process for a project of this size?
Once I have a broad subject in mind, I mentally explore some melodies - during my commute, in my down times, in the shower... wherever. If something clicks, I humm that on my phone and then later try to capture that on my midi-keyboard using piano sounds.
From there it’s like writing a story, in the sense - defining the cast (main, supporting, etc), building the storyline (intro, verses, chorus etc.) developing characters (orchestrations for each), arranging screenplay (sequencing, entry, exit, background), Editing, Mixing, etc.
O yes, there are a few (numerous!!) takes and edits at every step - I stopped counting, my wife and 1 year old daughter may still know the tally (out of sheer frustration) :).
I have a basic home studio for all this - my Midi-Keyboard, a decent laptop, and a reliable Digital Audio Workstation(Ableton).
Tell us a little more about your upcoming project?
My debut single Shadows Dance, depicts an emotional journey which most of us go through at some stage of our life. It is one wrought with challenges and obstacles. Initially we resist and fight these experiences, to later realise that these experiences are manifestations of ourself (Shadows). This realisation transforms the experiences from weakness to strength. The self is now resilient and seasoned to weather the journey ahead with confidence and conviction.
Shadows Dance is a musical interpretation of this journey. This piece is a tribute to the Survivors, a salute to the Winners and (an intended) source of inspiration to the Warriors.
It is the culmination of a creative process of over 8 years - influenced by life and inspired by orchestrations made popular by Hans Zimmer and Brahms.
Is there anything else you would like to tell our readers?
If my music and the messages within resonate with you or you know someone with whom it would, do support my cause by sharing my work and connecting with me. As a debut artist, your gesture would only motivate me to do better and bigger in the coming days.
If you do like what I do, stay tuned for more on my website and social media channels.