After recently collaborating on a single with Zariya, Pune based music producer, sound engineer, and vocalist – Aseem releases his debut EP Ilaaj. This four-song EP is a step forward in his career as an independent musician.
Aseem is highly inspired and influenced by A.R. Rahman, Finneas, Mac Miller, John Mayer, and Tom Misch. He, as an engineer naturally gets into critical listening and his focus is mainly on the soundscape, production, mixes, vocal arrangements, etc. “Whenever I’m writing a melody on my guitar, it’s like I have a multi-track recording playing in my head and I can see what else is coming up in the track, and sometimes suddenly something clicks in my mind and I try to crack a certain technique I may have heard before,” says Aseem.
The entire EP is based on Aseem’s life and his journey so far. The EP, which starts with Aasmaan, talks about opening new doors, accepting challenges, and understanding the concept of ‘this is what it is.’ The second song is the title track Ilaaj which literally talks about the ‘ilaaj’ or cure. The songs go in a systematic flow and thus, the next one is Pukaar which is a calling, or awakening from within to work on these new challenges in life. The EP ends with Bhool Jaun where Aseem talks about focusing on his work every day and trying to get better at it by working harder. This track is about forgetting everything negative in life and focusing on the positive because, as human nature and due to ego, we focus more on the negative side and are often affected by it.
This quirky four-song EP has various other elements besides soothing vocals by Aseem. The EP also includes a rap verse in the song Bhool Jaun whereas Ilaaj is infused with fun, electronic beats. Through his songs, Aseem introduces us to a genre of contemporary and alternative pop, something which is still a little new to the Indian independent music scene. “We wanted the EP to be short and snappy and wanted to also focus on the songwriting, hence none of the songs have any music sections in it except the intro and outro. We also had back to back verses in all the songs,” says Aseem.
Aseem never misses a chance to collaborate with artists when it comes to his music. His track Bhool Jaun features a rap verse sung by Rocky Gorkhali. “I wanted to speak more than sing the second verse because the message would reach the people in a better way if it was in the form of a rap verse hence my producer and I took a last-minute creative call to include a rap version as the second verse,” says Aseem. In fact, for his EP as well he has had people with different skills on board, ranging from music producers, mixing and mastering engineers, as well as lyricists. “Through this journey, I understood that I will stop mixing my own music. I will give it (my music) to someone else who is more capable and has better skillsets than me, even if I know how to do that.”
When asked about the artwork Aseem said, “I wanted to have something which resembles who I am and where it all comes from.” The picture for the artwork was shot in his balcony, the same place where he gets all his ideas for his work and where he feels inspired the most. The artwork is a 3D effect created by a simple double exposure because he wanted to have two expressions in it. One is a sense of liberation and the other is a sense of focus.
Since the release of his debut EP, Aseem has already begun work for his future releases. He as a few singles lined up which he shall be releasing July onwards and an album which might be out next year.