NID alumni evoking emotions through music

Artist Sijya Gupta talks to us about her newly-released single ‘Another Thing’, her upcoming debut album, and gearing up for a live set at Magnetic Fields Festival 2022
Image for representational purpose only
Image for representational purpose only

People usually stick to careers that they’re passionate about and choose early in their lives. In fact, switching careers seems easier said than done. However, in an age of slashies—who pursue their passion while retaining their nine-to-five jobs—it is unusual to come across someone who has successfully merged two interests because they enjoy both. Panchsheel Park-resident Sijya Gupta (29) is one such person.

The graphic designer who is an alumni of National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad, has always “gravitated towards music projects” when it comes to designing. However, over time, her interests expanded, and she delved more into understanding the nuances of music. Sijya, who has released her single 'Another Thing' on Friday, is gearing up to bring out her debut EP 'Young Hate' on Matthew Herbert’s Accidental Records on December 2 this year.

We speak to the artist about her musical influences, her latest release and more. Excerpts from an interview...

You’re a trained graphic artist. What was the one pivotal moment that nudged you to transition from a visual medium to an audio format?

It is not so much a transition as I continue to do a lot of graphic work—I think I need both to stay satisfied. But after I got done with my grad project at NID, I started working independently, as a freelancer working with art and cultural institutions. Over time, I found that I gravitated towards projects with music. I’d always had an affinity to music and had been an ardent listener. But, at some point while I was working with a New Delhi-based radio station called, I found some workshops on introduction to electronic music. I was hooked from day one of the workshop in Ableton [a digital audio workstation]. It became an end-of-the-day ritual for me, to make tunes and play around with the software.

For most people, music preferences evolve over time. Tell us if this has happened to you and if so, how has your taste in music changed over the years?

Growing up, I only ever listened to Bollywood music at home. In my teens I got introduced to rock, I remember buying these compilations called ‘Modern Rock Album 1 & 2’. These were cassettes. Towards the end of college, a lot of the music I was listening to was actually electronic music. That’s how I got where I am. But overall, I think I’ve always loved and been drawn to noisy and weird-sounding things.

What genre/genres would you attribute your music belonging to?

I’d say it fits within experimental-pop, art-pop, independent or alternative electronica.

How would you describe the essence of your music in words?

I’d say it’s very experimental, but without forgoing emotional impact. I do want people to be moved, in some way, with the music I make.

Tell us about your upcoming and debut EP 'Young Hate'. What is a common theme that runs through all the tracks, and can you elaborate on the sonic experience?

It would actually be hard to pin down a running theme, because this EP is born out of my introduction to music. Not to say that it’s the very first thing I made—I think I made around 150 rough tracks, from which I narrowed down to a few to develop into full-length songs. But in that way, the only cohesion this has, even sonically, is that it’s me. But I think that does come out quite clearly, my idiosyncrasies I suppose. But I’d say each soundscape is its own in this one.

You're also involved in creating videos for these tracks. Tell us about how that happened?

Making the music was a very personal solo experience, but I knew I couldn't repeat that for the videos. Mostly because it would get too lonely and I thought I might lose my mind. So, I went about it by collaborating with my friends who are working as artists, filmmakers, animators. Each video was kind of driven by the collaboration. There's many that I've edited myself, and some that I'd credit entirely to others. It was really really fun bringing these to life.

Finally, you’re going to be debuting live at the Magnetic Fields Festival 2022. Can you tell us what the audience can expect?

My set, which is actually the opening set of the festival, (as tradition goes they get a new act they are excited about to open) is about 45 minutes. It has very extended versions of songs from the current EP and quite a few new ones too— those sound a bit different and more cohesive, like a rougher and noisier sound is emerging.

Sijya’s ‘Another Thing’ is streaming on all leading platforms

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The New Indian Express