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Introducing: Nicholson

interviews Nov 03, 02:32pm

Mumbai-based singer/songwriter Sohrab Nicholson's solo project, Nicholson, recently released it's debut EP, For What. We spoke to Sohrab about the EP, his collaboration with producer Rohan Ramanna, and J J and Stuart Da'Costa, and what's coming up.
 Photo Courtesy: Neville Sukhia

RSJ: Tell us a little about the kind of music Nicholson plays. How would you define it?

Sohrab Nicholson: This is a tough one. I can't really define it in a genre specific way. I would call it electronic music for the most part; by that I mean we use synths, loops, and a fair amount of production for our live show, but then again there are organic elements such as live drums, guitar, and bass; it's a fairly complicated set up. I don't write genre specifically. I'm influenced by too many different kinds of music to want to write one way or explore one type of sound. So yeah, I would call it electronic music in a live band/singer-songwriter context if that makes sense – it's electronic but it's not dance music. 


RSJ: Tell us about the idea behind your debut EP, For What.

Nicholson: To be honest there wasn't much planning or idea behind it[ laughing]. It happened pretty organically. I'd always wanted to put out an EP, and the time was never right, or I made excuses to avoid it for fear of it being dreadful. A friend of mine mentioned that there was a cool studio in town that did interesting work in the indie space as well as commercially, and that it was a musicians studio with instruments and such, not just a dead room. I was intrigued so i decided to go check it out, and I played a couple songs for the guys there – three of whom are in the band – and it just sorta happened from there. At Cotton Press Studio, I met Rohan Ramanna, who produces the material both in studio and live; and we sort of started exchanging ideas, and it just sort of happened from there. I didn’t have parts written, or a band, or anything; so we really had to start writing it from the ground up, which was wonderful. Jehangir Jehangir and Stuart Da'Costa, came onboard once we started thinking about a live show. I couldn't be happier with the musicians I play with. 

As far as the Idea behind it, I wanted a fable like quality to it, and so I tried to simply tell a few stories. Musically I wanted to incorporate elements of different music that I like.. I wanted it to be electronic but also have a jazz sensibility at moments. Some might say it's a little all over the place, but I'm okay with that. 


RSJ: What are some of the strongest influences behind your music?

Nicholson: I honestly couldn't tell you. Not once have I ever thought and said, I want it to sound like this or like that. I listen to a lot of music, so i'm sure it's been influenced by a whole bunch of things, but I couldn't pin point which ones.  When it comes to our live sound, I'm very influenced by J J Stu and Rohan – we build quite organically in the rehearsal studio, everyone has creative input and writes their own parts for the most part, so it really is a collective effort in that sense – and so I feed off of and am often influenced by the choices they make. I definitely feel like I'm the least competent musician in the room. I'm very lucky to have them on board.

I'm also being very influenced by this synth I just got my hands on. I think I'm more influenced by sounds in particular rather than artists or genres in particular.


RSJ: Where did you record the EP?

Nicholson: Cotton Press Studio.


RSJ: What was the writing and recording experience like?

Nicholson: Pretty intense, very satisfying – especially the first time round, because there weren't any deadlines or any kind of pressure, and we took a long time to do it. I really loved the whole process. Rohan is a genius; my songwriting is irrelevant without his beautiful production. 


RSJ: Tell us a little about your anticpation toward the coming months playing at Magnetic Fields, NH7 Weekender, and more. What are you looking forward to the most? What acts are you looking forward to the most at the respective festivals?

Nicholson: We're working out some fun stuff for the festival season. I'm excited. I haven't really ever played a music festival before, so it's exciting for me. J J and Stu have played a ton of festivals as Something Relevant and then Bay City Lights, so it's not new to them. There's a fair bit of time yet, so there's no heavy anticipation or anything. I'm just looking forward to playing a fair bit – I didn't go to Magnetic Fields last year, but everyone I know who did said it was the best festival they've ever been to. So, I'm  quite looking forward to that, as well as NH7 Pune and Delhi.


RSJ: What’s the experience been like in the Indian music scene since you first started playing?

Nicholson: So far, so good. No real complaints [laughing]. It's been fun. People are supportive; we haven't been boo'd of stage yet [laughing] so thats nice. Jokes aside, it's been a good couple of months.


RSJ: What are you upto at the moment? What are your future plans?

Nicholson: Right now I'm in finish stuff mode. I have an EP and two videos to put out in the next three weeks, as well as rehearsals for the festivals – so it's pretty busy. No real future plans. Nothing I plan ever works out. Just taking it one day at a time.

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Stream For What by Nicholson on Bandcamp below:

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