It is that time of the year, when everything seems merry and despondent all at once. At one end there are people who are celebrating the end of the year and all the great things that happened with it (okay, maybe 2020 is an exception). On the other end are people who cannot reconcile with the fact that yet ANOTHER year is over and the world is falling apart. It is times like these that make us ever so grateful for music. On days when the world seems to be stuck in the dystopic binary realities, music helps us inhabit the power of in-between.
One such EP that was released in November and is inhabiting a new meaning to full force during these festive month, is Rohan Sinha aka Dolorblind’s EP, Forbidden Fruit. It is the perfect soundrack to days spent reading or in reflection on the year that has gone by, as we prepare to step into yet another year. Toeing the line between genres, but mostly taking up the space that is ambient music, Dolorblind cements his promising future with a beautifully produced work of art. He’s been around in the industry with Jwala Collective, TAABBIR and his previous EP Dolores. In his time he has soaked up knowledge like a sponge, the result of which is clear in this EP.
While listening to the EP, what strikes the most is the relatable nature of the sounds and melodies that make a place directly into your everyday listening rather than having a dedicated activity to listen to. Perhaps, the fact that Dolorblind used samples recorded in his daily life or from voice notes sent by his friends, helps in making it easy to consume. For instance, at the end of ‘Control Your Anxiety’, the second track in the album, you hear samples of what sounds like the notification tone that plays when you summon Siri. It is these little things that make Forbidden Fruit such a fun listen.
We spoke to Dolorblind about his EP, and here’s what he had to say
Even though you must be tired of answering this question, we must ask, how has the experience of the pandemic been? How much of the EP was shaped by your experience of the pandemic?
The experience has been challenging both mentally and professionally. None of us were expecting this to happen. It has made me realise how everything around us is fragile which has been my biggest takeaway from this ordeal. All the tracks were made pre-pandemic, otherwise the sound would’ve been quite different.
Which is your favourite track from the EP and why? Which track do you think you could’ve done differently?
I believe in ‘less is more’. If done properly, one can express themselves and communicate that feeling to others. ‘Control your anxiety’ would fit that bill for me. There is one drum and bass beat that continues throughout the track with a thick bassline following it. I could’ve easily made the beat more variable and made the bass and bit more low and catchy for clubs but I held myself back because I liked the simplicity of the beat. It’s not craving for attention and there is beauty in its repetition.
What is the thinking behind calling it ‘Forbidden Fruit’?
My new EP ‘Forbidden Fruit’ is a documentation of memories and emotions I went through during the past few years. Going through a transition made me realise the importance of the times that I failed to cherish and value at that moment. This EP is my way to immortalise those memories and look back at it.
The name Forbidden Fruit for this EP holds a totally different meaning from it’s traditional connotation. It’s about how when we are young we aren’t aware of the pressure and the ways of the world. We experience freedom in its purest form. As we grow old, we experience a lot of things, and we learn a lot of things. And these experiences take hold over us, and we cannot unlearn them. Moments that passed will not return without the learnings we had from the first run. And that to me is like a forbidden fruit.
What was the basic instrumental set up used in the EP (both hardware and software)? It would be particularly helpful if you can talk about the devices/instruments/synths, if any, that you find yourself particularly partial to.
I used a laptop, few midi controllers and FL studio as my DAW. I don’t particularly use any external hardware as I’m pretty hands on with my laptop. Mobility is very important for me as this EP was recorded at different places like the college library, my parent’s house in Patna, flight back to Delhi, house parties and many more unusual spaces. I used a lot of audio samples recorded on my phone to immortalise the time and space and a few voice notes sent to me by close friends.
I think the gear you use is not that important as It only helps you translate your ideas. What is more important is that the music is your voice and it should come from an honest place.
What is your opinion on the ambient music being produced in India? Do you have any artists/mentors that you look up to or are keen to work with?
I like how several young producers are making ambient music. Even though it might sound like an easy task to some musicians, I think it’s very daring to put something so abstract out there for their listeners. What’s even better and intriguing is how artists are incorporating ambient sounds in their music and bending it around different styles of music.
I think Mumbai/Boston based artist Cash is really amazing when it comes to ambient drones, I have been listening to his track ‘Hiraeth’ on repeat since it came out. I think my other favourite is Hedrun and he is a genius when it comes to abstraction, period.
I think me and Apurv (Cowboy & Sailor man) have some similar taste in music so it’ll be fun to collaborate with him or maybe even Ruhail (SISTER) because I can’t imagine what the end result is going to sound like, and that really excites me.
What is next for Dolorblind?
A live set? a music video? more music? a jwala project? I can’t point my finger on one thing right now. Will share it with everyone as we progress, fingers crossed!
Hopefully 2021 is gonna be a more kind year than 2020 for all of us.