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I want to encourage local talents: Gowtham Srivatsa

By: By: Shekhar H Hooli
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Gowtham Srivatsa, son of Mysore Mohan, is the youngest musician of the Kannada film industry. Born in a family of established musicians, he has taken extensive training in Carnatic music and Western classical music and plays the Piano and Keyboard as well. Although he is a BE graduate, he is composing music for movies.

The upcoming musician's first score was for Vinodraj's Shukra. He has also scored music for Kumar Govind's Sathya, which is set to release on April 2. The music of the film was released to the market last week and it is getting good response from the listeners. He spoke to Oneindia about his music career. Here are the excerpts of Gowtham Srivatsa's interview.

What is your education background?
I'm a BE graduate in Electronics and Communication. I've worked as a Software Engineer in a couple of software companies for six years. Recently, I quit my job to make my career as a musician.

Being a Software Engineer, how did you come into music industry?
My grandmother was a harmonist and grandfather was a sitarist. My father Mysore Mohan and two of my uncles are also established musicians. So I had inherited music from my parents. I started learning music when I was just a six-year-old boy. I learned playing piano and Keyboard. I've sound knowledge about Carnatic music. I've even taken extensive training in Western classical music from SK Joseph.

When did you get into music industry? Which was your first musical performance?
Once, I had been to Hamsalekha's studio with my father when I was 11. Hearing my voice, he gave me a chance to sing the song 'Cindrela Cindrela...' for Baby Shyamili's film. It was my first memorable experience. Later during my college days, I had formed a band called Bhoomi with my friends. We used to attend inter-collegiate music festivals and we had even won prizes. At the age of 19, I had accompanied Dr L. Subramaniam in 'Lakshmi Narayana' concert and had played keyboard for his album 'Asmita'. I've also worked as Keyboard Programmer for late composer C Ashwath.

What are you specialised in music?
Basically, I'm a Keyboard Programmer. I've been creating keyboard programmes for established musicians like Hamsalekha and several others. Besides this, I'm also a composer and I've started scoring music for movies as an independent musician for the past six years.

Why did you choose Keyboard Programming?
I chose Keyboard Programming because firstly, one can handle the work of 100 instruments with the help of Keyboard Programming. Secondly, the sound effect will be more perfect when compared to live players' music. Thirdly, it's very easy and most of the musicians prefer it more than live players. Finally, there are very few Keyboard Programmers in Kannada music industry and there are more opportunities in Kannada music. This made me select it.

How did you learn Keyboard Programming?
Unfortunately, there are no music institution to teach Keyboard Programming. One needs to learn it on his own and it all depends on the personal interest. I was more passionate to learn it, but I didn't have any guru. So I started studying it on my own when I was 16. Initially, I had to invest around Rs. 6 lakhs to buy Mac computer and other softwares for it. I've collected more than 200 plugins and 1 terra byte of other music related software.

Who inspired you to learn this?
It's absolutely maestro AR Rahman sir. Before him, not many musicians were aware of Keyboard Programming. They were using live players to produce music. So he is the father of Keyboard Programming in India. He first introduced this to film industry with the movie Roja in 1992. He showed us how one man can handle every thing in music. I'm very influenced by him.

So far, what have you contributed to Kannada film industry?
As I said, I'm a Keyboard Programmer and so far I was working on programming for Hamsalekha and others. I started composing music six seven years back. As an independent musician, I've scored music for Vinodaraj starrer Shukra for which I've received a good response. When I was 20, I have got another opportunity to compose music for Kumar Govind's Sathya, which has been released a week back. Although I've been getting many projects after Shukra, I am not accepting them due to some security problem.

What is your security problem?
Now, I am a keyboard player for the musicians like Hamsalekha. Once I start composing music independently, I have to take responsibility of all the things. If something goes wrong and I do not get any project, I can not come back to Keyboard Programming because nobody will offer me work. So I have decided to accept only good projects.

Do you think that creativity is going down due to Keyboard Programming?
No. Creativity won't go down, instead it will grow more towards perfection. But live players are loosing their jobs because, as I said, one can handle the responsibility of 100 players.

Why did you choose film industry when there are many other fields in music?
In film industry, creativity and growth will be me more. Besides scoring music for songs, one has to compose background music also. He has to feel each and every scene and sequence and compose suitable music for it. This is really challenging and exciting job.

What are the challenges for musicians in Kannada film industry?
Actors, directors and producers have their unions and they fight for their rights. But musicians don't have a union. If somebody delays their remuneration, they have to fight on their own. They won't get any aid or facility from government.

What would you like to say about Kannada music industry?

Young musicians need to struggle a lot to get a job in Kannada film industry because producers always think of bringing singers from Bollywood and other technical aspects from Chennai. They don't try to use young artistes. I want to encourage local talents by giving them opportunities.

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