Ghibran: Intense films took a toll on me
Ghibran has taken time out from his busy schedule to work on an independent music series called Ghibran’s All About Love
On December 20, Ghibran released a romantic number called Azhagu, which has opened to very decent response on YouTube. Produced by Sony Music South, the song is part of his indie music series called Ghibran’s All About Love (Vol 1). The musician will be releasing many other singles in this year and also has plans for Volume 2. In this interview, the musician opens up about the indie music scene, the reason for such forays, and his plans for 2020.
“It is unfortunate that we don’t have a separate music industry here. It has always been cinema music. Variety in genres will be possible only when there exists a separate industry for music. The film industry here decides what kind of songs people should listen to. I think this is unhealthy for music,” says Ghibran.
Ghibran also points out that indie music is no longer dependent on audio labels and radio stations that he says have been unsupportive. “With technological breakthroughs, they are becoming irrelevant. Take a song like Pullingo, for instance. The makers no longer care about whether a label will sponsor them or whether an FM channel will air their song. The streaming industry doesn’t care about where music comes from. This is a great time for indie musicians to jump in and make the most out of it. We are already lagging behind.”
Ghibran was an active indie musician first, a film composer next. With his fame, does he feel the responsibility to promote indie music? “It is about educating people. Despite the streaming platforms, people still look up to songs that are aired by FM channels and TV channels. There needs to be more awareness of the parallel music scene.”
The composer realizes that this awareness could take some time. “It is like convincing children to take medicine by coating it in honey. They won’t take to it immediately. Take the Azhagu song, for example. It is not entirely new to the audience, but we have tried to introduce them to something that is not part of cinema music. All About Love is an experiment. It might fail but I will end up learning better.”
He adds, “AR Rahman sir could have brought about this paradigm shift even back in the 90s, when his Vande Maatram opened to terrific response across the country. If this had taken off then, we could have done wonders in the indie scene by now.”
Ghibran is clear that his allegiance lies first with the music scene. “I don’t claim to be a representative of the film industry. Music supercedes cinema for me. I am also working on a devotional series called Ghibran’s Spiritual series. It’s an attempt at recreating a Hindu devotional song with orchestral backing. We have already recreated Harivarasanam.”
The conversation invariably veers towards his cinema music. Ghibran, who churned out intense music in films like Raatchasan and Vishwaroopam 2, says he avoided such intense films in 2019 as it took a toll on him. “I wanted a break. I refused films that had dark themes (laughs). 2019 was me being fun. But now, my vacation period is over. I am composing for Vijay Sethupathi’s Rana Singam and Madhavan’s Maara, which are heavy in terms of content. I am getting back to my elements.”