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Palayan interview

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Palayan is the solo project of Sandeep Sequeira. I know Sandeep from my time in Dubai where he was part of a metal band, Beneath the Remains. The band featured the Ampulance compilation that I helped to put together. Last month, Sandeep released his first album as Palayan, Metanoia. The album is a mix of post rock and electronica, a big departure from the metal sound. 

I spoke to Sandeep about the origins of Palayan, the album and the possibility of  performing live.

Picture by Ahmed Carter

 

Your recently released your first album as Palayan, Metanoia. How does it feel now that the album has been released?

Just sitting with the mastered tracks in my AirBnB rented room in Chiswick was a feeling of pride. I was proud that I didn’t settle on any aspect of the album and that it was the album I was always dreamed to make but didn’t think I was capable of years ago. When I was in that room I thought, even if I don’t get to release this properly I wouldn’t be upset, because I had done something for myself. I took moments of sadness, grief, pain, anger, betrayal, confusion and made something that made me feel none of those things. Anything I write is self therapy, so far. Releasing the album and people listening to it and messaging me about the songs is a bonus for me and a testament to my team’s dedication and patience.

From those who are unfamiliar with Palayan. How did you start the project?

Back in 2012, I kind of left my music dreams in a bin. The trauma of the drama and failure from my first metal band, left me frustrated and sick of chasing the dream. After not doing any music at all in 2012, my dream was re-ignited. Collaborating with Hesham Abdul Wahab here in Dubai in our time in university inspired me and gave me confidence to explore what I was ridiculed for before. People told me I can’t sing and that I wasn’t really capable of making anything other than metal. Which was strange because even in those metal days I wrote the same way as I write now, the same sense of melodies, chords, etc. I just present it differently now. So working with Hesham was an eye opening experience. I owe the start of Palayan to him. I started out making electronic and post rock instrumentals filled with elements of fusion. I started singing in 2014 and the way I write changed after that, I found another instrument to use.

From a guitarist in a metal band to a singer-songwriter. How did you make the transition?

I always wanted to sing but the people around me at the time never gave me the confidence and I guess I allowed them to put me down. I always wrote anyway, writing songs and recording was always happening. There are albums worth of material lying in hard drives. All the songs I wrote in the metal days and now always start on the acoustic guitar. So in that sense I still write and compose the same way. Having the confidence to sing and seeing people’s amazing reaction to my first vocal recording in 2014 was enough for me to make the transition to a singer-songwriter.

The inspiration behind Metanoia is a relationship that you went through. How did you go about the songwriting process for the album?

The songwriting didn’t happen intentionally. My friends joke about my writing volume. Sometimes I feel I have the opposite of writer’s block. My phone and computer is filled with music written from 2005. There are thousands of pieces scattered and I haven’t even listened to 5% of them. These songs on the record were phone recordings found on my phone from December 2015 to October 2016. Each song is an incident or a moment. And every track is in the order it was written. I only intended to release Chapter 1 as an EP because that was already recorded before I recorded the rest. Luckily, I found some more phone recordings and I started finding all the notes in my phone and in my books. I made a list thinking, ‘Maybe this can be an album.’ That idea marinated in my head for a couple of months before I knew I had to do it. And it was a journey of sorts.

The album features Indian musical instruments like the tabla. How did they become a part of your sound?

I have always had an interest in Indian classical instruments. From the earlier days of listening to Mohammed Rafi and Kishore Kumar and all those other greats, it was a sound that became a part of me. In fact any traditional instrument is something that I am a sucker for. If you remember Sting’s Desert Rose , it has the middle eastern vocals and percussion in it, but the track is not middle eastern, neither can it be classified as fusion. That is one example of how I like to fuse traditional instruments in my songs. Discovering fusion rock band Advaita helped opened this idea further. The way they use the tabla, sparingly and effectively, and over western arrangements, is something that I have always wanted to listen to.

You have released a music video for the track Empty Seed . How relevant do you think music videos are in the age of Youtube and Vimeo?

I don’t really know how relevant it is to be honest. I barely watch music videos, I like lyric videos more. I’ve had this vision of creating visual pieces for all the songs and I wanted to collaborate with all my friends, half of them being filmmakers. Most of my friends love watching music videos so making videos caters to that crowd as well.

What have you been listening to lately? Are there any acts that have inspired you of late?

These days I’m listening to Alice In Chains, Sepultura, PVRIS, Metallica and Nickelback to name a few. I guess you can say London Grammar has been an inspiration over the last few years. Their less is more approach is something I adore. The lyrics, melodies, chords and beats are next level.

What are your plans for the coming year? Do you have any plans to play live ?

Some of the plans are that I have to release music videos for every song on the album. So far I have 8 out of the 15 tracks. The others in planning and pre-production stages. I also want to record some live studio sessions and release some alternate studio versions of some songs. I really do want to play but that will have to be another project on its own. Pooling musicians together to play my song my way is quite tough. But I can see it happening.

Thanks for answering all my questions. Do you have any final words?

It is my pleasure to do this with you. I always wanted to be featured by Trendcrusher back in the metal days. So this is really great to do with you after all these years. Thank you for the opportunity.

Listen to Metanoia below

Written by trendcrusher

November 28, 2017 at 11:00 am

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