We first featured Papon on the first CD-gazette of The IDEA, as part of the band "New Delhi". Multi-tracking great music out of a computer-based studio at the time, the band eventually went down without ever playing a live show,.. but did get a sort of album-deal from featuring in The IDEA #1 (repeated in #3). That happened through Vineet Singh Hukmana, who heard them on the gazette, got in touch and signed them on for a fascinating project. That involved getting the band together with others from around the country to a resort in Bangalore, where each band and individual artiste laid down a track for a joint album due for release soon, but already playing on the Indigo Radio station of the Worldspace satellite system. Vineet was Head Honcho at "BPL-Oye!" and the nascent "Indigo Radio" at the time, and is now #2 with Saatchi & Saatchi in India. But he too is quite a bit of a digital musician, composer and singer in his spare time, recently releasing an album of cutting-edge Punjabi music together with his brother as the "Balle-Balle Boys".
Since then, Papon has in turn moved on to a solo-career as a musician-composer, singer and recording-studio operator, shuttling about the country on exciting advertising, corporate and television assignments when not cocooned in his studio (Purple Harmoniks) slogging it out on others. Here's what he has to say for himself today:
"Music, for me, has always been a part of life, more so, probably because I grew up in an environment where music encompassed the entire sphere of life. Both my parents are traditional folk musicians of the northeastern Indian state of Assam and the days of my childhood started with waking up to the strains of my father's voice doing his riwaz to the accompaniment of a tanpura. During the early years of my life, my father, who is an established musician in his own right, introduced me to the different types of traditional Assamese music. My mother who had trained in Indian classical music made me go through formal training in Hindustani Classical music. But the more exciting prospects of playing a game of cricket with friends or other exciting discoveries of childhood refrained me from pursuing it further.
"Both of my parents played an
instrumental role in acquainting me with the intricacies of sur,
taal and lay, three important ingredients of music, without which,
I feel, any musical composition would be incongruous. I feel
that those few years of training in classical vocals and tabla
helped me a lot to hone my skills in voice modulation and to
have a better understanding of Indian rhythms and beats. Looking
back now, I feel that the musical environment where I grew up
was the right blend; a mix of Indian classical music and Assamese
traditional music. Assamese folk music has a strange pentatonic
feel about it, and this characteristic can be compared with other
forms of pentatonic music like blues. I feel that my childhood
had a significant impact on my life as a musician. With my father's
guidance, I had an extensive association with Assamese traditional
music during the early years of my life.
"My first foray into making music started off with my Roland XP-80 and a friend's computer. Making music with the help of a computer and software specially designed to edit and mix compositions was a unique experience. It took me a while to figure out how the hi-tech gizmos and the software work but gradually I started a home recording setup. The setup I work on now is a decent one and it's been only six months since I got everything together. I have a funky sound card (a 'Pulsar' by Creameware), a 950 mhz AMD chip, 256mb RAM and an ASUS A7 pro motherboard with a VIA chipset on it. I use Cubase VST for multi-track recording and sequencing and now I'm starting off with Nuendo. I had worked on Cakewalk Pro Audio for a couple of years and this experience helped me a lot in figuring out other types of recording and sequencing software. The other audio software I use includes Soundforge 5.0, Acid pro, Orion, Fruity Loop, T-Racks (a mastering software), etc.
"Multi-track digital recording
has indeed ushered in a new revolution to the concept of recording
and creating music. It has been a tremendous benefit for young
and aspiring musicians as well as hardcore pros. Now anybody
into music wanting to try a hand at composing and recording original
music can do it with just a little bit of hard work. There are
so many like me who cannot afford a recording course abroad,
and India doesn't have any good schools for providing professional
courses in sound engineering. But many sound-recordists in India
have become seasoned sound engineers on their own, learning and
mastering processes on the job. It takes awhile but I guess it's
a better way to learn and then further discover the technical
intricacies involved in the process of sound recording. It obviously
also helps if one can observe a pro at work for a while.
Composer, Singer & Musician
79-H, Pocket 4
Mayur Vihar, Phase 1
New Delhi - 110 091 (India)