Electronic Music Can Be The New Form Of Protest: Aniruddh Menon Talks About His Debut Album ‘Lovesongs’
Image credit: Florian Dre
23-year-old Aniruddh Menon is a creative entity to say the least. His transition into music production was initiated by his experience as a drummer and fuelled by his love for sampling. He made his mark with Machli, a Bangalore band which turned heads with their ‘Obtuse + Divine’ EP. Finally, Menon has put out his debut full length solo album, ‘Lovesongs‘.
“The album is full of cues for me of my childhood”, he says. This is pretty evident from the word go. It’s also beautifully articulated in the release description on SoundCloud. ‘Lovesongs’ incorporates samples from prayer hymns, anime, and even audio snippets of some interviews he took. The first track, samples the initial part of ‘O Hansini’ from the film Zehreela Insaan. All in all, the album reflects a great deal of personality and influence. It’s consistently fresh and vibrant showcasing a pool of experimental potential the young artist has yet to offer.
‘Lovesongs’ masterly plays around with the feeling of nostalgia drawing from Menon’s childhood memories. Aniruddh explains that ‘Morning Rituals’ is about being late for school, “I used to take too long to eat breakfast”. The track samples a prayer he used to hear as a kid. Another great track is ‘Vishu Kani’. It has a really dark and heavy chant-like sound slithering through it. A total contrast to the fact it is named after the Malayalam New Year festival, ‘Vishu’. It marks the beginning of the harvest season and ‘Vishu Kani’ is an ensemble of items symbolising good luck and prosperity. “It was my favourite festival as a child. It was fun, bursting crackers and whatnot,” he says.
‘Giant Robots In The Sky (with Ustad Kitty)’ is another standout track full of quirky sounds. It tells the story of an alien ship examining earth in search of human blood to use as fuel for their machinery. It’s a blend of playful production with slow rap-like storytelling and is based on a sci-fi story by Rishabh Iyer, a.k.a. Worms Cottage, a.k.a. Ustad Kitty: “He’s kind of a mad genius”.
Image credit: Mini Menon and Aditya Shivakumar Menon
Aniruddh has great hope for electronic music becoming the next form of folk protest music. But when I argued with him that on a larger spectrum, people still compartmentalise electronic music as ‘party music’, he said, “I get those reservations. EDM has cast a shadow and I’m not out to change that or anything. But these days, there are a lot more people with smart-phones than with instruments. With an internet connection and a basic electronic device, you can upload your content without having to answer to gatekeepers like record labels or editors. That’s why it has a revolutionary potential. Everyone has a voice.”
He feels that the Indian indie scene should be doing its part to be more conscious and aware. He says “The people who listen to indie music and those who listen to folk protest music often live in the same street, but sadly in separate worlds. There are a lot of injustices happening in our country that the urban India chooses to ignore. Lack of a sense of community is a contributing factor to these things and I feel culture should do its part to bridge that”.
written by Archit Shetye