The Toto Sessions # 1: Parvaaz
The first in our series profiling some of the great musicians who were past winners of the 'Toto Funds the Arts' Awards. Applications for the TFA Awards are open till October 7, 2016.
Toto Funds the Arts was named for Angirus ‘Toto’ Vellani who tragically passed away in an accident in 2004. Throughout his life, Toto exemplified a true and unwavering passion for music, literature, cinema, theatre, criticism and an energy and commitment for encouraging and nurturing art in India. The TFA awards are a testament to his life and seek to nurture and encourage young and talented artists, musicians, writers and photographers as they seek to forge careers in the arts. TFA is accepting submissions till October 7, 2016 - for more details about the genesis of the award, click here. To apply for the TFA awards and get a sense of al , click here.
We at the Scribbler have been big fans of some of the great musicians (in particular) who have participated and won the TFA music award. In recognition of 13 years of their commitment to the arts and to nurturing musicians that are often not granted the platform they deserve, we give you (in collaboration with the excellent people who run TFA) ‘The Toto Sessions’ - an interview series with past winners of the TFA. First up we have ‘Parvaaz’, a band who have been stedfastly dedicated to maintaining an eclectic and truly original sound.
Can you tell us a little bit about the genesis of the band?
Parvaaz was formed in 2010, by Kashif Iqbal and Khalid Ahamed while in college; with Neil Simon on bass, Somarshi Bhattacharya on Drums and Adarsh Deokota on rhythm, the setup took to stage instantly. Eventually the lineup came together with Sachin Banandur on drums and Fidel Dsouza on bass. The band’s first release was ‘Dil Khush’ (2011) followed by the EP ‘Behosh’ (2012), ‘Khufiya Dastaan’ (2013) and later the commercially successful and critically acclaimed Toto Award winning full length album ‘Baran’ (2014).
Can you tell us about your experience with 'Toto Funds the Arts'?
It was a humbling experience with the Toto foundation as we were pleasantly surprised to learn of the accolade. Anmol and Sarita have been working tirelessly to promote fresh artistic talents across various fields and we wish them more power to do so, since encouragement is necessary for talent to thrive.
What music influences your style? What current artists do you listen to and identify with?
Our choices of music listening are quite eclectic – classical, blues, jazz, classic rock other than what’s fresh to listen and learn from. Although the coming together of our music turns out quite different and quite deeply personal. Parallels are often drawn with popular music and that’s fine since we’re sure our music is rather difficult to categorize within a genre.
The independent music scene in India is growing slowly but surely. Yet, there aren't enough incredible initiatives like TFA to give artists a platform and encourage them to forge a career in the arts. What do you think that is down to?
TFA is a fine example of curating, nurturing passionate artists and upcoming talents from diverse art-forms. It’s something that requires extensive knowledge and a personal touch as well to help mould an expression. We’re grateful that this platform exists not just for music but for literary and dramatic needs and there’s definitely a lot more that can be done to help bring good skills to fruition.
What's next with Parvaaz? Where can we find about your upcoming gigs and what does the future hold?
After having released our concert DVD ‘Transitions’ filmed live with Director Gokul Chakravarthy, work is moving towards our next full length release tentatively slated for 2017. On the gigs front we’ve been excitedly traveling as much as possible and hope to satisfy audiences both at home and abroad. The future looks tough and challenging and quite fulfilling, to say the least.
Finally, our favourite and far-too-morbid question - the band has been unceremoniously banished to the gallows and has been graciously granted a playlist of five songs to listen to before the end. Name the 5 songs you would collectively pick?
1. Dhafer Youssef - 39th Gulay (to Istanbul)
2. Steven Wilson - The Raven that refused to Sing
3. Portishead - Roads
4. Sigur Ros - Olsen Olsen
5. Pink Floyd - Welcome to the Machine