Notes of love and longing
Composer Neil Nayak’s debut indie single is striking all the right chords
A young man flips through his photo album. Woven into the precious moments captured through the lens is the time he spent with the love of his life. Long after the video of music producer Neil Nayak’s recently released independent debut single ‘Ek Khayal’ ends, this tender image lingers in your mind. Featuring Varun Jain’s vocals, some parts of the track are heavily inspired by Nayak’s personal life. The musician has a great body of work to his credit in a comparatively short span of time. He has worked with Anurag Kashyap, Dhanraj Productions, Yashraj Films, besides composed background scores for Gujarati and Marathi theatres. On his collaboration with Jain, Nayak says, “He has made a huge impact on the track. I was mesmerised by his voice and straightaway connected.”
A percussionist, who regularly does live performances using acoustic and digital sound, he has also worked with North American record label Mojear Records. The label released his deep house track Deeper Ground in collaboration with music producer, arranger and programmer Zoheb Khan. The track is currently available on Beatport and other streaming platforms. Talking about Ek Khayal, which he says “is a trippy number, with a youthful ‘uptempo’ rhythm of its own”; the Bollywood composer believes that the indie genre is the backbone of commercial music. “And it is finally getting the recognition it long deserved. This fills me with optimism,” says the artist, who also plays ethnic instruments such as the didgeridoo—a wind instrument; and the morchang—similar to a harp.
An Amit Trivedi fan, Nayak has opened the Finale Act of the Corona SunSet Music Festival, which is a digital music competition that takes place during sunsets the world over at varied areas. Artists such as Pillow Talk, Shall Ocin, John Monkman performed alongside the Indian music composer at this competition. Nayak’s USP is making use of a confluence of percussion with a deep, darkish and experimental sound to bring future sounds with an ethnic fusion. “Independent music gives you a lot of liberty, in terms of creativity. It allows me to introduce new age sound to my music,” explains the composer. At 18, when Nayak started off DJing in college, “it was merely a hobby but something that impacted my life”. He was sure what he wanted to do with his career. “Soon I was designing rhythm for songs, background score of movies, jingles etc,” he says.
The year 2021 seems to be a promising one for Nayak. He is currently working on a mix of independent music, movies and web series. A multiple-composer album that has him collaborating with different talents in the industry is also in the works. Besides, he also has his next single lined up. Passionate about the environment, in 2016 Nayak composed, produced and released a song on YouTube—Thuku Naka—that raised important questions regarding our surroundings. The same year, he was part of the team that created the in-house song for the IPL team, Royal Challengers Bangalore. The track was the brainchild of Nikhil Chinappa and Nawed Khan, and Nayak was brought onboard to create its foot stomping beats. Needless to say, it was a valuable experience in his career. The rest of the year looks like it will bring many such experiences.