Artist of the month: Warren Mendonsa – Score Short Reads
Congratulations on a full blown album “Hindsight is 2020” that you have created during a pandemic. Tell us about the name, what were some of the best and challenging moments creating this?
I guess it is easier than most because when you go through things like moving countries in the middle of a pandemic and the experiences associated with it, it kind of channels something inside and it’s your job to capture that as truly as possible. There were a few collaborators on this album – Jai Row Kavi and Cole Goodley did some great work on Drums, and Tarana Marwah from
Komorebi added some beautiful vocal textures. Other than them, it was kind of a flashback to my first album where I did everything by myself after my brother Zorran did the drums. For the previous three albums, we were a band with Jai, Adi Mistry and Beven Fonseca, so I had written thee songs keeping live shows in mind. With this album it was more a clean slate and so I didn’t have to think about that.
Is there something about the new album that is entirely different from everything else you’ve done till date?
There always is because you never try to repeat anything that you have one before. The first 2 albums were recorded in New Zealand and the third, fourth and fifth were recorded in India. The 6th one is the first one I have recorded after moving back in New Zealand.
This album has an extensive track list of 16 songs. How long did it take to record?
It took a better part of the year. I started working on bits and pieces before we left. We made the move in June 2020. To put the whole thing together and send files to artists took about six months.
Once my gear arrived in New Zealand, the process was a lot quicker. In fact it was easier here for me as I have all my gear in one place unlike in Mumbai where different guitars are in different parts of the house. So effectively, the workflow got more streamlined.
What else do you like to do apart from music?
Well, with regards to what I do musically, there is always knowledge that I am looking to gain. I have started teaching as well since we moved here. For me to be an effective teacher, I need to update my knowledge as well. It’s like a cyclic process, to give out you need to take in.
Music is like a good 70% of what I read and consume online. I love reading biographies and autobiographies of recording engineers of their days in studios with artists etc. I am a bit of a geek in that sense.
Apart from that, I like watching cooking videos on YouTube. My wife works full time. I try to make sure I cook up something edible for my daughter.
Tell us about your practise routine
Generally, when my daughter goes to sleep is when I get to play. Luckily I have got a situation here where I can actually play through the amps on headphones. Otherwise, if I had used the speaker cabinets, it would be so loud I’d have the police at the door very soon!
With regards to practise, I usually like find a song that is a bit challenging, something I have always enjoyed listening to. Sometimes, I learn stuff that I learnt the wrong way when I was young , so now I try and re-learn them correctly.
How much has your musical taste changed over the years? Do you often evolve in your choice of music to listen to? Do you incorporate elements of new music in your work?
I have become a little less picky. I used to be a bit of a music snob but now with a young daughter, ones choices are wide.
It’s interesting that I am listening to music not by choice but because it is being played here. I believe you can learn from any form of music as long as it’s done well.
Like the movie Frozen and the music, the writing is so amazing. My ears are always open and inspiration comes from anywhere.
Have you kept up with things rolling in the Indian music scene?
Yes of course. I listen to new artists like Tejas, Komorebi etc. Since I follow artists on Instagram, I am quite updated on the scene. So, I would say yes!
How does a musician stay as creative and relevant over decades, as you have? Especially in a world with much lower attention spans.
Generally, my process is to just make music I enjoy listening to. I don’t really play the numbers game to check on how my work is doing. Even if three people like it, I am happy.
The pandemic has also made me look at the world in a more pragmatic way. As long as we have a roof over our head and food on our table, the day is good.
Being a musician also means you are an entrepreneur yourself as you have to create and market your work. What does this mean to you?
I tend to look at my posts on social media the way I would like to see content as a follower. Whatever I post, I try to make it genuine from my side. On the whole, I don’t have a set plan in that sense.
What would be your message to your listeners as well as young and aspiring guitarists?
I would tell them the same thing I would tell myself when I was a kid. It would be to focus on just being the best musician you can and make the best music you can. There will be trends that will come and go, but it would be better to focus primarily on the integrity and longevity of your music. If you choose to do it just for fame and money, there is a good chance you will be disappointed.
A song that you cannot stop listening to currently
“Where No One Goes” from the movie “How to train your Dragon”, because my daughter will not let me stop listening to it 🙂
When I’m driving on my own, I re-visiting the album “On an Island by David Gilmour.
When did you see your first electric guitar?
I was a kid my Dad had a lovely Fender Jazz bass. Whenever he opened the case, it had a smell that I can still remember. It was the first electric instrument I saw as a kid.
Name 3 artists you would love to collaborate with-
- Paul McCartney
- Dustin Boyer
- Michael Landau
Name 3 artists you still swear by
- The Beatles
- Led Zeppelin
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