Advait is a musical experimentalist, pianist and composer from Cambridge who specialises in creating new and unique sounds that he hopes will inspire and catch the ear of his listeners. We caught up with Advait following the release of his new album Marvellica to discuss how the past year has impacted him and his musical process.
If you are feeling particularly inspired by Advait’s story and are keen to start your own composing journey, we would love to help you! Contact our expert team today, or to read more Lockdown Stories from other musicians, click here!
Tell us about yourself and your musical history!
“My name is Advait, I’m primarily a pianist and a composer and I’ve been writing, recording and performing music for the past 20 years or so. My style draws mostly from world music and pop, but I would consider myself a bit of a “musical magpie”, I love incorporating different sounds and samples from instruments I like so I snag and use them as I please. My songs have elements of jazz, folk, classical and everything in between!
My most recent album draws quite heavily on electronic music, which is a genre I’ve always appreciated but never really got my hooks into - so i’ve been experimenting a lot with that recently.”
How has music helped you throughout the past year?
“It’s been bittersweet, my husband and I are avid theater and concert goers, we must attend like 20 or 30 shows each year, both nationally and abroad but that has just stopped completely. So obviously it has been a huge loss in our lives, but we just feel really strongly for the struggle of the performers and performing arts sector. We’ve tried supporting livestreams and donations and they are a bandaid, but no patch on the real issue.
So that’s the bitter bit, but here’s the sweet bit. For me personally, being inside has been an amazing creative outlet. I’ve been at home surrounded by my instruments and that has been a huge driving force and inspiration into playing music.
I guess in a lot of ways, the experience of the past year has made us reconnect with ourselves and our own interests in a way that we were possibly taking granted before. I think for me, making my music has certainly been a beneficiary of the forced side effect of the pandemic.”
What can people gain from learning an instrument?
“I think there’s so many things someone can gain from learning music. If you’ve never learned an instrument before, you’ll find an entirely new way to express yourself, it’s a new interactive way to introduce moments of joy and pleasure in your life and learning any new skill gives you a feeling of greater mastery over your environment. But I think the number 1 reason you should start learning and playing an instrument, even if you don’t get too far with it or don’t want to play for others is because it gives you a better experience as a listener of music.
To put it simply, even a little bit of experience playing an instrument will make you understand and appreciate your favourite songs on a whole new level.
Likewise, if you have been playing an instrument for a while and you feel comfortable with it, I would suggest learning a different instrument, ideally from a completely different family. For example if you play the piano, try the guitar or the flute or a percussion instrument. The reason for this is because even if you don’t get very far, you’d be astonished at the difference in perspective on music that playing a different instrument can give you. In fact, learning a different instrument will actually probably make you better at your main instrument as you’ll be able to see how the two work together.”
What do you think the future of music looks like?
“I’m excited. I think it looks amazing. There’s probably two trends that I’d like to see develop further. I think firstly, the future of music is going to be much more participatory and collaborative, in many ways our current era is peculiar in that it divides musicians as a separate profession from non-musicians.
For most of human history, until the availability of master recorded media, the only way to listen to music was to make it yourself. So musicianship was much more distributed and informal - I’d love to see society reclaim some of that spirit in a modern context and we’re seeing that in some ways. People now have more ability to express themselves online and different platforms.
I think there’s a lot of benefits to informality of music. When more people feel empowered to take part in the musical conversation, good things happen. Music is a dialogue, they hear musical ideas and then present musical ideas so we move the practice forward as a group of people. So the fewer barriers we have in participating in that dialogue, the more people we have engaging in that conversation and the more ideas come through and get shared.
Secondly, I think there is some amazing potential that going to be unlocked by advances in technology. So besides being a musician, I’m also a computer scientist so I know how to design interfaces for artificial intelligence and AI - I’ve witnessed first hand how recent technology has produced some of these amazing tools for writing lyrics, melodies harmonies and even shaping new sounds and digital instruments. So I think computers will continue to push the boundaries of music producing and experimenting in delightful directions.”
What are you most excited for about the coming year?
“I’m of course looking forward to getting out and playing music again, to listening to a lot more music and of course getting back together with my family and friends here.”
Inspiring stuff! If after reading Advait’s story you feel you are ready to start your own musical journey, we would love to help you! Contact our expert team today, or to read more Lockdown Stories from other musicians, click here!