TT platforms have propelled careers of not only deserving actors, but also performing artistes. Vishal Mehta, 35, a drummer with the popular indie pop band Euphoria, stands testimony to that. All set to launch his second album, Only You, Mehta says that OTT platforms have helped independent musicians bring forth their talent without the crutches of “big labels”. This resident of New Delhi’s Hari Nagar, began quite young. He started playing the conga and the bongo at age five, and shifted to drums by seven. Always into music, he even did his Physics (Honours) from Deen Dayal Upadhyay College (Delhi University) specialising in acoustics. After his graduation in 2007, he started performing with Delhi’s Artist Unlimited, and then Mumbai’s Ravi Pawar Symphony.In 2015, he started his own band — Vishal Mehta Live. Two years later, he came out with his first album, Alone “that became an instant hit, much beyond my expectations.”
Over the years, Mehta has collaborated with top artistes such as Padma Shri Hans Raj Hans, Ali Zafar, Farhan Akhtar, Aditi Singh Sharma, Shibani Kashyap, Kamal Khan and Satinder Sartaj. Excerpts:
Tell us about your upcoming EP/album, Only You.
I began working on Only You after my first album, Alone (2017), became a hit. I completed it in January last year, and started recording it in March. It has five tracks in alternate pop, and will most likely come out next month. Producer Ashok Roy is a bass player in it, Peter Szendofi from Budapest plays the drums and Kolkata’s Nilanjana Ghosh Dastidar has sung the whole album.
How and when did you get associated with Euphoria?
It was around 2014-15, when I was playing with Nasya, a Sufi Rock and Pop band. One of the independent artistes I was collaborating with at that time was Prabhat Trivedi. Prabhat’s brother, Prashant was a member of Euphoria. One day, Prashant called me up and asked if I could play for the Euphoria concert, scheduled two days later in Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh. I agreed. That gig went off really well, and I became a member of Euphoria.
How different is Vishal Mehta Live from Euphoria?
Euphoria and I are one and dependent on each other, but at the same time, our understanding of music and our approach to it is different. That’s because we come from different backgrounds. So, while we both are the same as musicians, we produce different sounds. But, I must say Vishal Mehta Live owes a lot to Euphoria. I learnt a lot from them.
Was there a time when you were not allowed to play your own music?
Not really, because if I have been called to play, they know what to expect from me. I am known as an independent artiste who will play my own music. Though sometimes it happens that in between a gig, a request comes from the audiences for some Bollywood or mainstream number, which of course I do. All performers must be ready for that.
How did the period of lockdown treat you?
Financially, it was bad as there were no shows/concerts/gigs. But it gave us creative people ample time to create and innovate. I had enough time to write, record, and finish my album, so the creator in me was satisfied. Also, the lockdown gave me enough time to spend with my family.