An Interview with Tarun Balani

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Tarun Balani is a prolific drummer and rising star in contemporary Jazz. We worked with him on his electronic avatar Season Affected Beats, where he uses a new technology developed by Sunhouse Inc. that uses sensory percussion. In this short interview Tarun shares a little bit about his jazz project Tarun Balani Collective and their upcoming album ‘Dharma.

 

Your music spans continents. Tell us a little bit about the dynamics of working with band members in different geographical locations.

It is extremely challenging to have a band that is not in the same place. I very much miss the regular interaction and being able to write, rehearse and perform more often. However, the time we do spend apart does allow us to explore musical and professional engagement outside of ‘Dharma’, and these experiences add to the musical landscape that we do create together while on tour or in the studio. I truly feel that the experiences away from the music, the band stand, and the studio is what eventually makes the music special, and we really value that.

 

Sacred World, your debut album you’ve said was created from a very personal place. Can you elaborate a little about your approach back then and how/what you think this has changed in the approach with your music now?

Sacred World was a tribute to my grand father, and I wanted to dedicate a body of work as a homage to his groundbreaking art from the 60’s and 70’s. All my work and compositions come from a very personal space, as the music I am writing becomes the back ground score of my life. For Sacred World, the imagery from my grand father’s photographs and paintings was so strong that it felt like scoring for a picture, and for ‘Dharma’ my personal experiences over the past few years have helped shape the music.

 

It has been a long journey with your music from 2012 to 2019 with Dharma. We anticipate your new album very much. It’s a big gap. What has happened in the interim?

Yes, it is quite a big gap, but I assure you that it is definitely worth the wait. I took some time to work on my craft and skills as a composer. The line up has also changed, and I am very happy with the new sound of the band. I’ve also been fortunate enough to sign with a label from Germany, Berthold records, and now I also have a booking agent for Europe. It took a little bit longer than I’d anticipated but finally it feels like all the pieces of the puzzle are coming together. I guess a lot has happened since 2012!

 

In the digital world when it’s so easy to put out music and get lost and found, what are three important things to keep in mind as an artiste?

The music industry will continue to evolve and change rapidly, especially with the digital mediums and the interface through which we consume music now. I think as an artist one must first focus on creating art that is meaningful to oneself, and hopefully relevant, and engaging for the audiences too. Of course to be heard in this infinite digital pool of content and talent, one must also stay abreast with the current music industry trends, keep the promoters and curators up to date about new releases, albums and tours.

I am seeing this trend in younger artists to constantly put out content via YouTube, Instagram, Facebook etc, just because it is possible with a click of a few buttons and taps, and keeps their socials active. However, personally I’d like to see and hear art that is created with a bit more thought and intent, rather than with the purpose of likes, views and tags.

 

The synch world has multiple opportunities in the west and is now slowly opening up in India. Where do you think your music could fit into the scheme of things in this world?

There’s been a huge shift in the industry with Netflix, Prime Video and other players creating content for viewers online, this has most certainly created a new world for synch opportunities. Artist can offer their existing catalogue of music or write new music. I think it’s quite an exciting development!