Music composer Rochak Kohli speaks with Shalini Saksena about his journey and why his music is so different
- What is your latest project with Luv Ranjan about?
I can’t tell you what the song is about because I would also be giving away the story of the film. But the song comes at a very important juncture like it was in Sonu Ki Titu Ki Sweety. Ranjan gives a lot of importance to music and the makers have woven a story around the music. It was fun to work with Luv and Aaqib.
- Is this the only song that you have composed for the movie?
Yes. There are other songs as well. The film has limited songs that have been done by other composers.
- How did composing happen?
I always wanted to compose. I grew up listening to AR Rahman songs. That was a turning point in my life. I was not sure what I wanted to do. I come from a family of lawyers. I too studied law. Then Radio City came to Chandigarh. I worked there during a break. I loved it. Everyone saw that I was not cut out to be a lawyer. They let me do my thing. They thought I would eventually come back to law. This was in 2006. But there was no turning back. I came to Mumbai in 2008-09. I was a newbie and didn’t know anything about the industry. But started my studies in 2013. I was lucky that some of my work did well.
- What is the difference when you started off and what is happening now?
Back then, there was a lot more experimentation. There was limited music coming to the audience then. There was probably one album once a month. Today, composers are playing it safe. There are way too many options available. There is too much music coming out and many movies. The good part is that if there is an off best song, the chances of that being a hit are very high.
- Does that mean that composers are not one to experimentation?
That is is the thing, we don’t want to be too complacent. It is a challenge. It depends on the project that one has been given. If it is a promotional song, one has to have a commercial vibe. But if it is a situational song one has the liberty to experiment. The briefs given are limited, but one must bring in new music.
- What drives a composition?
The audience drives it. We can’t make music that won’t sell commercially. One can do it, but it won’t sell. We can’t expect this kind of music to be popular. There is a definition of a hit music and song. There is a good song, a hit song and a good song that is a hit. What the audience likes is hit song what we like is a good song. If we both like is a super hot song. Our aim is to be in this category.
- Your music is different. How do you manage to do this?
It has something to do with my influences during growing up days. My grandparents are from undivided India, they came from Pakistan. I grew up listening to a lot of Punjabi folk music. Language was another thing. Melody drives me. Hence, I was a little weak in composing a dance number, that cool hook. But I am working on overcoming it. I also don’t want to sound like a song that is already out there. I am doing limited music it has to be different. Not or not rests with the listeners.
- Did it bother you that you didn’t have industry insight to begin with?
You learn from your mistakes. I am open to suggestions. I don’t know much about music. This approach has helped me. People are happy to work with me because I have a humble approach. But I don’t let others walk all over me. Every live recording has been a learning curve. I also try to be a better human being because that will make me a better artist.