Soulmate, a band that’s taken it upon itself to spread the message of the Blues, takes maxim through its notes. An exclusive.
How does it feel to be among the Top 10 bands in India, with a growing international fan-base?
It sure feels good to know that the Blues are being accepted by a lot of people in India. And that the “Soulmate Blues Sound” is being heard and appreciated globally!
Does a lot of inspiration still come from your hometown Shillong?
Yes, it does. Our eyes, ears and hearts are open to what’s happening all around us—not only in our hometown but around the country also. Our songs are inspired more by the human element in life.
What’s the highlight of your musical journey so far?
We have had quite a number of highs in our 10-year journey. Here are a few—meeting Buddy Guy, John Mayall, sharing the stage with Robert Randolph, Gary Clarke Jr., Dana Fuchs, Popa Chubby, Jimmy Thackery. But the icing on the cake was when Carlos Santana walked on stage and jammed with us when we opened for him during his India tour!
That was some moment. Which contemporary musician makes you want to write new musical rules?
The fact of the matter is that we are our own biggest critics! We try and make our sounds and music as fresh and as contemporary as they can be, without losing the roots. All of us listen to different kinds of music, not just the Blues. And we try to bring this to our palette and create our sound. With many young Blues guitarists and singers coming out of the US, Britain and Europe, we feel that we have to be on our toes all the time. But, in the end, it’s all about keeping the Blues alive and kicking.
What will be the future of Soulmate, say, 10 years down? You did win a maxim Nightlife Award last year.
Apart from some more gray hair and a couple of wrinkles here and there, we hope to still be playing our Blues for old fans and new! This is our life and with our new album round the corner, we hope to reach out in a bigger and deeper way. We don’t want to be the novelty “Blues band from India” anymore! We can play the Blues and deliver the goods as much as any Blues men and women from anywhere in the world! We are raring to go!
Any thoughts on the ever-expanding music scene in the country?
It’s all good. Thank God for new venues, festivals and fans. India is a good place for bands at the moment.
How do you constantly inspire each other to make music?
Well, we listen to different kinds of music and we try and infuse that into our creations. We push each other and that’s what makes it inspiring. For us, its all about keeping things simple and melodious, whether it’s through vocals or guitar. We still believe that a melody can stick with a listener long after the band has stopped playing.
We heard Soulmate’s reaching out and helping more artistes from the North-East to come forward.
We believe that it is through hard work and dedication that goals can be achieved. We keep our ears open when we do local gigs in the North-East, and if we hear something good and creative, we ensure that promoters and organisers hear about it. That’s the least we can do, considering we are musicians ourselves trying to make a living off music. It’s not easy but it can be done! The North-East is full of amazing talent, if only people take themselves and their music seriously and are willing to take that first step. The need of the hour is a few good music schools there, which would make a big difference.