Interview With Takar Nabam

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What was the beginning point for your music career? How did it all start?

It’s more like it happened to me over the course of time. Although it was more of a hobby back when I was in school. That’s when I got to experience performing on stage at various competitions and at various music festivals. The high that I got through those performances was something that nothing else could ever give me.  I used to wonder when I would ever get to perform at stadiums like Guns n Roses, Queen, and RHCP used to. 

By the time I was in college, I started to enjoy performing and writing my music a bit more seriously. Then came the time for job placements, and I just couldn’t imagine myself doing a 9-5 desk job. Straight out of college, I went to study music for two semesters in South India, where teachers and artists from South America, New York, Europe and India were present. I got to learn a great deal about Jazz Music, World Music, RnB, Carnatic Music, Composition and Arranging and Songwriting. It was definitely an important phase because this propelled me to take my music as seriously as possible and taught me so many different skills to make my ends meet. 

Ever since then, I’ve been writing my own music, doing a few sessions, and arranging and recording Music for other Artists as well. 

Were there any bumps on the road? What kind of challenges did you have to deal with?

One of the biggest challenges was balancing my academics with my music. Back when I started playing music, the scenario was very different. Academics held a very important position for parents here. You either had to study to become an IAS officer, Doctor or Engineer, which are still the most sought-after professions here in India. So I finished school and college and got into music full time. Nowadays, things have changed, and so many musicians and Artists have mushroomed into the Music Scene here. 

Honestly, I’m still not at a point where I can fully rely on Music to sustain myself and my family, so I have to resort to doing a lot of non-music-related work to pay off my bills and to facilitate putting out music that is close to my heart and is well produced. 

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What was the most fulfilling and satisfying moment so far?

To be able to make and release music that I like without any external creative control. 

How would you describe the music that you typically create?

I am a sucker for eerie, yet hooky melodies and interesting chord progressions. I grew up listening to a lot of Rock, Heavy Metal, and Alternative Rock Music, and then steered away to a whole new world of Jazz, World Music, RnB, Soul, Indie, and Singer-Songwriters. I kind of mellowed out while growing up. I have never limited myself with my listening choices and if I liked something, I’d have heard it a gazillion times already! If I have to sum it up, my Music is a melting pot of Singer Songwriters, Old time Jazz Improvisers, Indie Artists and some good old Rock n Roll. 

What is your creative process like?

I think it’s a mix of a lot of things. The people I meet, the music I listen to, the places I visit. The initial part of the song may start with me penning down my thoughts while travelling to different parts of the country. Emotionally, the inspiration for most of the songs stems from a low, sad and or from introspective space. It’s liberating to vent out my emotions through my songs. 

One of the songs that is closest to my heart is Ashes, which came out of a tragedy that I and my family had gone through, back in 2019, when our house was set on fire by an angry mob. It was one of the most turbulent times of my life. 

Listen to Ashes –

When it comes down to working on the song structures, I’ve arranged songs in my bedroom and also while jamming with a group of musicians I usually enjoy playing with. The best example is my second album, This Home That Home –

The best example of a song that I’ve worked on from my mini home studio is my latest single, Further –

If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be?

I think with the advent of streaming platforms the revenue that an Artist usually makes has downsized by a considerable amount. As obsolete as it may sound, I’d rather prefer people to buy CDs, which would ensure better revenue for the Artists. 

If you were asked to give a piece of advice to upcoming bands, what would that be?

If you really love what you do, you’ll find a way to make it work.

What has been the best performance of your career so far?

There are a few out of which my performance at Ziro Festival 2018 was quite a memorable one. I performed as Takar Nabam Trio, featuring an amazing rhythm section. 

Here’s a little showreel from that show – 

If you didn’t become a musician, what would you be doing now?

– I would probably be flying around the world as the captain of an aircraft. My Mother, who’s very afraid of height was against the idea of me choosing a flying career. I can’t say I would have been successful at it, but I was pretty decent at the game Flight Simulator! 

Alternatively, I may have been playing for the State cricket team, if not the National team. Prior to choosing music, back in 2002, Cricket was everything to me! I was good at fielding. I really liked Jonty Rhodes. 

It’s crazy where I ended up! 

What is new with the band at the moment? What are you currently working on and would like to share with the world?

I’m working on a new set of songs, which I hope will be a part of an EP or an album. Since things have opened, I’m trying to work on putting together a tour in India. I’ve been a bit slow, lately, primarily because I’m busy being there family guy and looking after my family. I will find a way to balance things out, just like I’ve always managed.