The sitar is much more versatile than it appears, says Rishabh Seen. “Like the guitar, you can shred it, pick it, tap it.” Seen would know. He performs steel on it.
The 24-year-old musician from Jalandhar fronts a heavy steel band known as, effectively, Sitar Metal. Its different members are Deeparshi Roy, 22, on guitar; Joel Rodrigues, 19, on drums; and Tushar Khurana, 24, on bass. In October final yr, they launched their first album, a six-track work known as Sitar Metal.
Hit play and also you’re met with a burst of musical power headlined by the twang of the sitar, however backed by the scream of steel.
The compositions by Seen are, he says, reflective of his turbulent journey with music, his battle to search out his voice together with his sitar, and to determine what sort of musician he wished to be.
The band went on a launch tour in November and December 2019 that included Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Kolkata but additionally Kanpur, Patiala and Kochi. “This Indian independent metal scene may be small, but it’s very committed,” Seen says. Some of the movies, by the way, have over 545,000 views on YouTube.
Seen is from a musical household — his grandfather performed the tabla, his father Pandit Manu Kumar Seen, is a sitar maestro. Touring together with his father, it appeared as if his future was sealed.
At 15, Seen fell in love with steel and grunge. “I would watch videos of Kurt Cobain and Nirvana going crazy on stage. Performing, singing, breaking guitars, yelling. Coming from a classical practice, I loved the idea of that form of freedom,” Seen says.
Studying music at Hindu College in Delhi, he determined to attempt to incorporate a guitar-playing type in his use of the sitar “to change people’s perception of it”.
In 2015, he began posting on YouTube covers of steel songs performed on his sitar. Some of these movies received as much as 50,000 views.
Over the subsequent three years, Seen did extra covers, launched a sitar steel EP known as Mute The Saint with three buddies, dropped out of school and went on tour with the playback singer Arijit Singh.
Seen met his new band members Roy and Rodrigues on Facebook. Khurana is a childhood pal. Seen would ship them the sitar components of his compositions, and they might file their bits primarily based on these.
“The sitar being the focal instrument was new. We had to make sure our parts complemented but didn’t overshadow it,” says Roy, a self-taught guitarist who comes from a household of engineers and docs in Kolkata. “We’d talk a lot about what each song was about, which would help me visualise how Rishabh was seeing it.” They met face-to-face solely a couple of month earlier than the discharge of the album.
Rodrigues was a fan earlier than he joined the band. He despatched them his covers of their songs, which he practised in his jam room in Kolkata.
Sitar Metal the album is basically instrumental, options rapper Rider Shafique. Seen’s father recorded a observe with the band too. “Even though I play metal, I have not changed the look or feel of the instrument, and I think he appreciates that,” Seen says.