Grammy nominee PRASHANT MISTRY speaks with SHALINI SAKSENA about latest album and musical journey
What is the album — Symbol — about?
It can mean different things for people. It can be a religious or a a listening symbol, for us it means a vehicle to create a message. Originally, it was supposed to be strong on instruments. However, when we started working on it, we started wondering how it would work if we had this artist or that artist. For example, Lisa Gerrard, who worked on the music score of Gladiator with Hans Zimmer, and won Golden Globe. We sent an email and what the album was about. She jumped on it. We ended up collaborating with them on the songs.
Did you always want to be a composer?
I started playing piano when I was six. I was born to the first generation of Indian family in England in the 70s who were refugees from Uganda. It was not the time to be a musician at that time. I was good in school but always knew that music was something that I would do in the future.
How has your journey been?
It is like the Lord of the Rings movie — a very long journey. There are always ups and downs. There are stresses but this is true for any profession. There are a lot of factors that are part of an independent musician. But one has to couple that with the level of happiness and the path you wanted to be on originally. I have been lucky that I ace had a long and satisfying career. I work on so many different kinds of music that makes me love what I am doing. I have never been bored in my life ever even though the hours have been tough. This profession has given me an opportunity to work with people of all nationalities and from all walks of life
Does it feel surreal that your album has been nominated under the Best Immerse Audio Album?
It feels very strange that I have been nominated. It has yet to sink in. It is something that one dreams of. You want to tell people but not appear as if I am bragging. But it brought in a lot of happiness for my parents because this is something that they can tangibly tell their friends and that their son is not a bum.
Did you work towards the nomination?
You can never work towards such a path or think about it. It was more about the art. If they appreciate it, it is good. We wanted to create something that was honest. Even the visual art, a lot of work and time has gone into making the video for each song. The art work has been created by a famous artist who passed away last year. It has never been about sales. We just want our work to convey our conviction
Do you have a speech ready?
No, not at all. I was planning to go but I have an important project that I am working in that has to be delivered here in the UK. Also, I am not good at speaking in public.
Would it be possible to create the same kind of work, what you are doing in London, here in India?
I have had an insight into Indian music for a long time from base stage. But here in the UK, the electronic music comes from people without voice by marginalised people in the society, it corms from Reggae culture. The biggest analogy in electronic music here in the UK, is the hip hop music that is now in India.
Do you have plans to work with Indian artists?
I am a fan of a lot musicians and bands in India and would love to work with them. I can see myself working with them in the future.
Would working in Bollywood be different?
People are used to a very traditional kind of work when it comes to Bollywood, though this changing. People who appreciate Bollywood music have set preferences. The music has to appeal to millions of people not thousands. The music has to translate to all and therefore there has to be a format. But I would like to work on classical format.