BENGALURU: Contemporary Carnatic progressive rock is what defines the seven-member city band, Agam. With over 97,000 followers on Facebook, they have been creating waves in South India and attracting people to Carnatic music from across the world. The band comprises Harish Sivaramakrishnan (vocalist), Praveen Kumar (guitarist), Swaminathan Seetharaman (keyboardist and lyricist) Aditya Kasyap (bassist), Jagadis Natarajan (guitarist), Sivakumar Nagarajan (Indian percussions) and Yadhunandhan Nagaraj (drummer). Excerpts.
Tell us about your new album.
Our new album is an amalgamation of the musical influences of lot of 87 different musicians that we collaborated with taking the rich old traditions of Carnatic music from south India and attempting new arrangements of both western and Indian music.
There are eight songs in this album. Some of the songs have a 60-piece choir and big sounding string parts. We have released six songs so far in this album – Shayana Vibho, Onwards and Upwards, Mist of Capricorn, Koothu Over Coffee, The Celestial Nymph,
Rangapura Vihara. Two more songs are in the pipeline. Some of us live in different cities and travel when we have shows. When its recording time, two or three of us do the sessions as it's not possible for all of us to come together at the same time.
Is it challenging to bring in everyone’s ideas together?
It is not challenging. Rather it is what Agam is all about. Different people’s influences reflect in our songs and it’s how we create magic. However, when something is not working out we definitely voice it. We are the biggest critics of our songs and writing.
Everyone understands this and respect the process.
Who are your influences?
Carnatic music and bands like Dream Theater and Rush.
What does the band do in its free time?
We talk about start-ups, business and marketing our music, and about our respective professions.
Are you working on anything new at the moment?
We have just started discussions on a big production. It is our new musical venture.
Which is more difficult – live performances or recording sessions?
Both are difficult but they have different levels of sophistication. Each audience is different. People may be hearing you for the first time and you want to give them your 110 per cent. In a studio, you need to experiment a lot and come up with ideas and arrangements that don’t kill the song. Yet, creating a
a different sound that is fresh is important.
What do you love about the Bangalore crowd?
They are always there to support us. We see lot of familiar faces in every show. It is the heartfelt and genuine fans that keep us motivated to move ahead and do better.