Ronjoy from Guwahati, Assam is a music arranger/composer and software engineer. ‘Music became a part of my life at a very young age, when my father Pt Sukumar Barthakur introduced me to the tabla. My love for music grew gradually and then I started playing the drums and guitar. Eventually, I started composing tracks in my free time.’
He recently released a self-produced EP titled, ‘Reality’ with featured guest artistes. ‘In my earlier days, I was mostly into psychedelic rock/art rock artistes like Pink Floyd, Tool, and Porcupine Tree. They had a lot of influence on my music composition. But after meeting Yuktarth Nagar, I was introduced to the whole new world of blues. We collaboratively started making tracks and the change is what you can hear in this EP.’
Some tracks from the EP were actually written 2-3 years back during his stay in Dehradun when he was pursuing his higher studies. After coming back to Guwahati, he wanted to release his best collaborative projects in the form of an EP. The selection of the songs took some time and he had to work on a lot of the parts to make the record sound good. ‘The experience of working on Reality was amazing. I got to meet some amazing musicians who have so much experience. I got to learn a lot from them.’
The EP starts with the track ‘Dreamish World’, his first collaboration with Yuktarth. The track is divided into two sections. In the first half, you hear Ronjoy’s influences and the second part is inclined towards Yuktarth’s style of music. The second track has a funky blues feel with a mellow chorus. ‘The third track, Masquerader, is the track where I wanted to experiment with time signatures and a heavier feel. You will find my ‘Tool’ influence on this track. Shubhanshu Saini and Rishab Singh Palni, from Uttarakhand, are the artistes behind the guitar solos.’
The fourth track, Madeline, is based on Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’. This track was actually composed at the time when he was the drummer of the band ‘Chamber’, back in 2010. ‘Bhargav Talukdar, who was the vocalist of the band then, and I started reconstructing the track last year. The instrumentation was designed by me, and he did the vocals with lyrics by Kadambari Kashyap.’ The psychedelic track has a dark and eerie feeling to it. ‘I love the heaviness of strings and trumpets, so I have added some string/brass sections on both the 3rd and 4th track.’ In the final track, Reality, Tina Das is the artiste behind the vocals and lyrics. It has a psychedelic and blues feel. ‘Joe Bonamassa’s song, Stop from the album, The Ballad of John Henry, has a great influence on this track.’
‘I believe that collaborating with different musicians gives you a great opportunity to learn their perspective when it comes to composing songs. To know how they think is really amazing.’ With a dream to play at Austin City Limits Music Festival someday, he is already making more demos. A few of them will be collaborative.
He feels that art is undervalued in India and there are many amazing talents just waiting to be found. However, he also acknowledges that the internet has helped a lot of artistes connect with each other and handle their promotional activities at ease. ‘Though we cannot break this prevailing system overnight, we need to hold on to our own for now. Even if we don’t notice it, the change is happening right now, but in small stages.’
By Mrinal Paul