Wednesday, November 22
Art

Kapil Seshasayee, Soundtrack Composer Turned Noise Rocker

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Seshasayee’s experiments sound like masterpieces.

Kapil Seshasayee’s music is a mix of art rock, noise rock, and Indian classical music. Stunning vocals are lain over baritone guitar. Seshasayee’s style is rooted from his experience as a music promoter, an in-house composer, and a score writer for short films. His skillset is wide, that’s how he makes noise rock sound so good. While Sonic Youth popularized it in the 1980’s and Incubus carried it into the 2000’s, this subterranean genre remains a tough one to master.

Seshasayee’s main influences are Scott Walker, Conlon Nancarrow, Glenn Branca, the Carnatic violinist L Subramanium, and Steely Dan. But for creating his unique sound, the turning point was in 2011, when he accidentally caught the set of a German band called Einsturzende Neubauten who built their instruments from shrapnel–fragments of a explosive warfare. He also uses unconventional instruments, his signature being the waterphone.

“The waterphone was a [way for me]to find unorthodox ways to induce certain atmospheres on soundtracks [when I was composing music for theater and film],” he told Kajal via email. “It has the sound of practically every jump scare from a horror film but barely anyone is aware it exists.”

Art by Kapil Seshasayee.

His latest single, “A Sacred Bore,” is about coming to terms with the still-existing South Asian caste system. Creating this track was a cathartic process for Seshasayee.

“Having grown up in a very religious South Asian household, I was certainly living with the consequences of caste. But it wasn’t until I had time away from my household that I was able to parse its effects on South Asians in diaspora,” he said.

It was that thought process that inspired the single’s title. He wanted to communicate the cognitive dissonance of grappling with South Asian and Western ideals.

“The juxtaposition of Sacred (something important and special) with Bore (tedious or past it’s relevance) is effective in getting this across,” he said.

And his creation style is an art in itself.

“I’ve never managed to shake the notion of approaching everything as if I were soundtracking a play or film. I usually start with a notion of what a song is going to be about and then I work on what intervals, rhythms and textures might best assist the listener in parsing the intended narrative of the piece,” he explained.

Seshasayee is excited about experimenting more and composing his music from algorithms and programming languages, such as MaxMSP. Seshasayee has so many skills that his experiments sound like masterpieces.

Follow Seshasayee on Bandcamp, Spotify, Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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