Jazz Duo: Adil and Vasundhara
FHM: How did you guys meet and form the outfit??
A and V: The two of us had mutually exclusive worlds — with one of us (Adil) being a live session musician and the other (Vasundhara) being more of a studio person doing jingles and character voices. We had never heard of each other, but a common friend who played bass with Artistes Unlimited, the choir that Vasu was part of, connected us. It was a matter of 10 minutes of playing a song together and we both knew that this was it. Those 10 minutes were way back in Jan 2009.
FHM: Adil and Vasundhara don’t seem too whacky? Were their other names you were considering too?
A and V: We came up with a bunch of really lousy names, but they just weren’t working! And since the band was our baby, we went ahead and named it after us. Besides, one of our main focus was on collaborations and with a name like Adil & Vasundhara, we could easily add the ‘featuring’ bit.
FHM: What goes on in your mind when you are composing lyrics?
A and V: We treat music visually. Sounds are perceived as colours or shapes or images. The reigning visual motif that a song throws at us inspires the lyrical content of the song.
FHM: How does a lot of French make way into the DNA of Adil and Vasundhara’s songs?
A and V: We both studied French in the past and have been in love with the language for many years. Interpreting French songs in our own way has been the only way to stay in touch with the language since we don’t get to speak it here at all. We also have two songs — Flowers in Doon and Paranthese in French.
FHM: Did you consider coming out with a free EP over an album?
A and V: Though we released an EP in June 2010, our music continued to grow over time. The songs on Ampersand were written with Saurabh Suman (Bass) and Sava Boyadzhiev (Drums). We wanted to record entirely live like back in the day and capture not just the ideas behind the songs, but also the exact vibe when the songs are played live. And so we went ahead and recorded Ampersand all guns blazing at Yash Raj Studios with Shantanu Hudlikar and Abhishek Khandelwal.
FHM: Why did you choose the word Ampersand for your debut album?
A and V: The album is about a lot more than us. We had input from lots of people, collaborators and friends who lent us their homes. That is why we named it Ampersand.
FHM: What is the kind of sound we can expect?
A and V: It narrates our collective stories. It picks on issues and experiences that are common to a lot of Indian city dwellers. All we can do is ask people to listen and to connect to the part of them that is represented within the album.
FHM: What was the inspiration behind the album?
A and V: The inspiration is our city life, as we have grown up in an urban family where all the rituals and traditions were Indian but our first language was English. Therefore, our songs have been inspired by Indian urban stories.
FHM: How long did it take you to put the album together?
A and V: It took about a year and a half.
FHM: You guys have toured to a lot of international festivals. How’s that influenced your music and added to your experiences?
A and V: Going abroad is always very educative. We get a reality check and also get to know if our music is at all relevant internationally. We meet many musicians who are way more accomplished than us, which helps us learn a lot from their experiences. On returning, some things remain with us and find their way into our sound. Others probably gestate for later.