"Learn Your Art Well, and Keep on Experimenting"- Yatindra Mohan Patel

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1. Tell us about your background and journey?

I come from a non-musical background, but I was introduced to a musical instrument at a very early age. I remember playing my electronic keyboard just for fun. You could say exploring all those different sounds helped establish a basic understanding of sound and different instruments. Eventually, I started playing the keyboard & mandolin in my school’s music group. 

That experience taught me discipline and group ethics. After that, you could say I took a traditional path and pursued engineering. My life in college is where things took a turn musically. There I met Utkarsh and some other musicians and formed a group called 'Chaar Hazaari'. 

Things got more serious after meeting our drummer Shailendra and some other Musicians. The band went through various change in the band lineups. But it finally took a major turn when Shivit & Archit joined in and we all took the band ahead. 

After regular jam sessions, we started playing shows outside our college, taking part in competitions to get stage experience and grow as a band. We have always believed in making original songs, and that struggle helped us become better musicians. 

My role in the band consists of songwriting, lead vocals and guitars. Fortunately, the songs I wrote were taken well by the band and in 2017, those songs became our debut album (self-titled) having 5 songs.

We have had a great response from our first album and that gave a lot of motivation to make more music. Recently, the band has announced its second album called 'Udne Do' which will probably come out by the end of this year. The first single 'Ki Tum Ho' is out now on all major streaming platforms.

2. When did you first decide, you wanted to pursue music and how did you start?

It happened with time. Even though I was pursuing engineering, my passion for music stayed. With enough luck and support, I was able to take my passion from a hobby to a profession. My confidence increased as I worked more and more. 

In these past years, our fans have grown tremendously and it’s an amazing feeling to know that people listen to our songs regardless of the fact that we haven’t met so many of them in real life. This helps in our motivation to create more music. 

Being an independent artist, especially in India is a daunting task and it’s a different kind of challenge at every step, be it songwriting, production or the final release of the track. However, you learn a lot about the industry and how it functions.

3. Is formal training required or one can train oneself purely based on talent?

Just like every ship needs a trained captain to sail through challenging seas, this craft also needs good training to be prepared for challenges. However, exceptions are always there since I know a lot of self-taught musicians too. 

Apart from my learnings in school, I have been training for almost 6 years in Indian Classical music to enhance my vocals, ear training and guitar skills. It allowed me to develop an understanding of the art and gave me the confidence to take it forward.

4. What are various opportunities available for an aspiring musician?

We have been hearing a lot lately that these are one of the best times to be an independent artist in our country, and I totally agree on that. But before you jump into this scene, I would suggest to first understand the industry well before making a decision. 

It is not shiny and lucrative as it might seem to an aspiring musician, but once you have your audience out there to support your music, you have something to build onto. The increasing amount of opportunities in the industry, be it music festivals or college fests or digital concerts (which is the new normal due to the pandemic), have open so many ways to connect with the audience and convert them into your fans.

5. What piece of advice would you like to give to future and aspiring artists?

Learn your art well, and keep on experimenting and exploring new possibilities in music. Things will eventually start aligning with time. The most difficult times provide the biggest learnings but don’t let them stop you from pursuing your dream.

6. Who is your favourite artist and why?

I listen to almost all kinds of music and so it's difficult to name a favourite. But to name a few, Porcupine Tree is an all-time favourite of mine. Artists like Pearl Jam, Pink Floyd, John Mayer, Joe Bonamassa, Avial, Indus Creed etc. all have great music and the fact that there is so much to learn from them is why they are also part of my playlist.

-Yatindra Mohan Patel , Musician
-Interviewed by Kedar Lalwani
- Edited by Shilpy Sharan

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