Author Archives: Ankur
Safe in this hideout,
assured it’s still following me around
Could’ve thrown it away
but I wanted to narrow it down
Just to feel all the lines and the faults,
am I relevant now?
Waking up alone,
attempting to fight it but the night ends in a lull
To cure a man is a war
One has to learn to surrender
It’s a foolish world
We build a wall that defines us
Whats the matter now?
Everything I readied was to order,
as you wanted it.
Here I am
Could I get some loving to
go with disappointment tonight?
What’s the matter now, come on
Crumbling designs open up
my mind and comfort zone
I pick up all that’s left behind
to try to make sense of it all
Every now and then I catch a glimpse
of what’s really going on
And I’m running out of reasons to carry all
your burdens can I let it go?
You’re beautiful, beautiful
I sowed it up child, you’re ready for the world
It’s cold out tonight
Won’t you rather justify it in the mirror
It’s a pity how, there’s a little child inside her
What’s the matter now?
You showed me that I’m not good enough
Won’t you let out?
Won’t you let out? Come on
Crawling down into the hole I own
Crawling down into the hole I own
Snowfall has cleared, I am soaked
You yell I’m running out
Snowfall has cleared, I am soaked
You yell I’m running out
The pursuit of perfection is an obsession, a disease
That brings out the worst in the best of us
Driving us to the edge, haunting us, stalking us
Pushing us over that edge
But somehow, afterall
Aren’t we all Vain?
Recently during an intellectually stimulating discussion with a journalist while giving an Interview, the topic came up about bands selling out. The question of the hour was why does a band sell-out. Today, I want to address this general topic of selling out. But not why people sell-out. Instead WHAT exactly is selling out?
There have been numerous artists in the past that have been ‘accused’ of selling out. Either by changing their sound or incorporating unfamiliar elements into their existing sound or by signing with an ‘evil’ label or by having a stance against illegal download of music. In this process, die-hard fans get disappointed, new fans get created, names are made legendary and reputations are set in stone. And everyone generally seems to agree that this trend of selling-out revolves around the biggest evil of all. Money. I disagree. I actually have a very different take on selling out. And in my opinion everyone in the world sells out. Without exception.
Now one may raise the question. What about the Mandela’s of the world? What about Mother Teresa? What about Mahatma Gandhi? How dare one alleg humanity in its purest, selfless form? Thats where my definition of the term takes over. According to me selling out is not an act of monetary greed, not a phrase burdened by the negative. It is just the optimization of your methods to achieve a certain goal. Whether this goal be selling more cd’s, playing bigger concerts, seeing your child happy or to see your brothers free. Whatever we do in life that involves any other person is selling out. Getting happiness from a certain good deed is also a form of selling out. Even from eating food, we gain something (energy, satisfaction, happiness). It is also selling out. A perfect, non ‘sell-out’ person would be a person who does absolutely nothing. And since man is the most social of animals, we sell out every day. Multiple times.
So did Mandela, Mother Teresa and Mahatma Gandhi sell out? According to this definition yes. But they did so to help millions of others. Does selling out then carry with a negative connotation? For many, it does. For me, it doesn’t. It is a part of being human. We all do it. Everyday. We just dont think about it.
On a completely different note: Sometimes all you need is a bucket..
So here we are. India. The 7th largest country in the world. 2nd biggest population. Yes, we had quite a significant role in the world reaching 6.99 billion (did anything change there? Haven’t read the papers in a while). It’s mesmerizing really, this exhibition of colour and wonder. It’s like every view carries with it a hundred different stories being played out on nameless canvases. Every turn is a photograph waiting to be immortalized in a frame or on a magazine cover. But do we truly appreciate this gift? And if we appreciate it, do we respect it enough?
The word ‘Lakeerein’ literally means ‘Lines’ or Linien in German. If we look at the world objectively, lines define every inch of our existence. From the contours of our faces to the silhouette of trees, everything is a summation of lines. But these are not the lines that the song talks about. In India, we take these lines to the next level. We turn them into boundaries and we thrive on them.
Our society is rigged with division. Nowhere will you observe this incarnation of separation more than in India. We poison in the name of religion. We differentiate in the name of creed. We ridicule in the name of colour. We insist on extravagance and ignore the essential. We pride ourselves on income rather than achievement. Birth rights and the authority to succeed go hand in hand, irrespective of merit. Mediocrity is readily accepted as being part and parcel of the system, a limb of our culture. We are free in theory but in reality we are still slaves to the past.
Not for one second do I claim that these issues and more do not plague other societies. But what hurts one most is what’s closest to home. And as educated, able young Indians we have the power to rid ourselves of these archaic assumptions still holding our society back in the 21st century. I do not expect all of us to become Anna Hazare’s or Bhagat Singh’s. Nor do I expect this song to become the anthem of a young nation. We all have to find our own small way to contribute; I chose mine through this song. We have the power to make a difference. Now we just need to find the will.
As I prepare to go to India for the 8th time in the last 6 years, for my customary December vacations at home, I am bracing myself for the kaleidoscope of difference that awaits me. The longer I have been in Germany, the more exotic and surreal India has become for me. As a person born and brought up in the ‘system’, I merely questioned it as a teenager. Now as an adult, and in a field that encourages intrigue, I am possessed by it. Possessed by the disorder of this system. Possessed by the image that this chaotic system just cannot work. But it does. Emphatically, in some cases.
Why I suddenly feel the urge to discuss this with you all? Recently we were asked the logic behind having 1 song in Hindi ‘Lakeerein’ on our debut album that is otherwise dominated by thought provoking, complex lyrics in English. “What is the point of having a song that most of your fans cannot understand when what you really expect of them is to interrogate the depths of your work”. Ok the original question was in German but for the sake of ‘understanding’, I translated it. I found it interesting that this gentleman thought of music as something that needs to be ‘understood’. In a way he is right.
We do tend to use music as a means of judgment; good or bad, intelligent or stupid, cool or not. So many of us are obsessed with what a songwriter is trying to say with his song, that we forget what the song is trying to say to us. Yes, our music does have a message, garnished with strenuously thought out words that laminate the instruments. But this message is an expression, rather than an expectation. A medium to exhaust the cornucopia of thoughts that are always competing for attention in my head. If someone feels the same way when they hear a song of ours, well and good. If not, that’s fine too. It’s what you feel while listening to a song that’s most important. However, since ‘Lakeerein’ involves an obvious language barrier, I will gladly state the reasons that made me pen it. The reasons that made me start this piece the way I did. But I’ll get to the actual song and the meaning behind it a little later, once I am actually faced with the issues it so loudly protests against. Right now I am just envisioning the taste of home.
As Martin is busy searching for biggest man vs biggest snake videos on youtube and Markus just started playing random riffs on his Framus in the name of ‘freedom’, I thought maybe I try my hand at this business of blog writing. What I want to share with you all today is the life of an upcoming musician: the myths and the realities.
Myth 1: Sex, drugs and rock n roll. Drugs: Probably the biggest sham of them all. If you’re trying to make it in the industry in today’s world as a serious hardworking professional, drugs would be the last thing on your mind. Just look back at what it’s done to some of the greatest musicians of yesteryear. Making mistakes is an important part of being human. Smart people learn from the mistakes of others.
Myth 2: It’s all for the love of music. It is not. Feelings don’t pay bills.
Myth 3: Getting discovered by chance. Sadly, it’s not the 70’s. There is no ‘luckily there was the CEO of roadrunner records in the audience and our music totally blew him away’. Unless you have a million youtube hits or a sugar daddy ready to pump in the euros, chances are you won’t get signed. But that’s not the end of the world! There are tonnes of artists out there today, making a living while still having complete control of their produce. Go out, meet people, share your music, play more music, write more music, use the internet intelligently, try different things. Don’t hope something might happen. Make it happen.
Myth 4: Talent is everything. It is not. Talent is just one small part of any success story. If you’re not ready to put in hardwork to back your talent up, you might as well save yourself the entire hassle.
So what does this life actually entail then? Hmmm…
Reality 1: There are more disappointments than triumphs in the life of a musician. No matter if you’re Metallica or three 14 year old kids playing showtunes in the garage (that’s right im talking about you Jonas Brothers!). Chances are you will face more downs than ups in your life. Both personal and professional.
Reality 2: It’s all for the love of music. It is. Without the love for what you do, you wouldn’t be able to come out of the troughs.
Reality 3: Alcohol. There’s plenty of it flying around. Sometimes maybe a little too much..
But in the end is it all worth it? I wouldn’t trade a second of it with anything else.