The most enjoyable time of my childhood was spent in Trivandrum. My obsession for music strengthened when I was here.
With movies like Friday, Theevram, You Too Brutus, music director Roby has carved a good position in music industry. Here is what he had to share with EnteCity!
Roby Abraham’s love for music started during schooldays. “Illayaraja sir was the one who primarily inspired with his soulful music. As like many, Michael Jackson was my hero those days. Definitely he can be termed as the all-time ‘legend’. He was a brilliant singer, lyricist, performer, dancer and what not! But my passion for music took a serious u-turn when songs of AR Rahman rose into prominence. It was he who ignited the music director in me”, he says.
Roby was briefly trained in keyboard during schooldays. He used to have jamming sessions with his friends during college days and that led to his stint with guitar. “Rock genre was another great influence in my life. Kurt Cobain, Eric Clapton and bands like Nirvana, Led Zepplin are some of my favorites. I’m still mastering and practicing the strings”, he adds.
Roby’s entered into music composing through Lijin Jose’s debut film Friday (2012). Before that he had an 11 year long career as corporate trainer in Bangalore. “It was through Roopesh Peethambaran I met Lijin. Roopesh and I are good friends from schooldays. Lijin’s short film ‘Conditions Apply’ presented my first experience in music composing. Friday happened after that. Roopesh’s ‘Theevram’ was my second film in which I had the opportunity to do background score also. Happily, the songs of ‘You Too Brutus’ featured in the Manorama Online’s Top 10 songs list of 2015. Rasputin also had some good songs, but the delayed release affected the film considerably”, says Roby.
His songs have always created a great response among the audience. ‘Sugandha Neerala’ (Friday), ‘E Pakal Ariyathe’ (Theevram), ‘Parayathe’ (Rasputin), ‘Ettum Pottum’ (You Too Brutus) became instant hit. He has also composed music for short films ‘For Hire’ and ‘Open Your Mind’ directed by actor-director Vishnu Raghav.
‘Theevram is special’
Roby admits that it was the music of Theevram which gave him popularity and marked his identity among audience and musicians. Theevram was the first movie for which he did the background score. “Theevram in whole made me satisfied as a music director”, he says smilingly.
His new band ‘Everafter’ is making the rounds ever since their first video ‘Veruthe’ was released a couple of weeks back. The video has already crossed 5 lakh views in YouTube. Ashwin Aryan, Rex George, John Thomas, Madonna Sebastian and Joel Varghese are the other members of the band. “In India every musician’s first dream is to compose for films. The basic reason is that all the inspiring musicians for us works in the film industry. Luckily I was able to be the part of film industry without much hardship. I believe my sincere approach and determination made it possible. But I loved to be part of a band and do independent music too. But it’s not easy like film songs as independent music scene is just flourishing in Kerala. Ashwin worked together with me in ‘Rasputin’ and we share the same interests and ideas. But we all know that a band succeeds only if the right members fall in the places. Madonna sang two songs in ‘You Too Brutus’ and associated with us in Kappa TV’s Music Mojo. It was Ashwin’s meeting with John Thomas (Drummer, Motherjane) that made a turnaround. John is one of the pioneers of independent music scene in India. Our spirits got high as he agreed to join us and finally arrival of Rex and Joel completed the band. The mighty support of Music Mojo team resulted in featuring another season and we did 12 original songs for it”.
“Like the song’s name suggests, ‘Veruthe’ was shot in a very casual way. However, the response for the song made us very happy. The presence of Madonna definitely gave a mileage to the song video. The band rehearsals are going on we will be having our first live show probably in February. I believe the next song will highlight our band’s sound”.
Roby has his own views on cover band and original bands. “It’s like two sides of a coin. Independent music is comparatively new trend in Kerala and our people are getting familiar to it only. Whether its television or radio, our people has got more access to film music through it. The access to independent music is very limited here. So majority of the bands need to do cover songs to connect with the audience. Doing cover versions definitely increase the reach of a band. The creation of original songs depends on the popularity of the band. The original songs have to be that good for creating an impact among the people. I personally believe that a band’s identity lies in creating originals. However, it’s not an easy task to create high quality cover songs. We all being part of an entertainment industry should cater the need of people. Eevn in live shows we have to come up with 2-3 covers for seeking audience attention. It’s completely up to a band to decide on being a cover band or original band. Secondly, people should have the mindset to accept what the bands do. I wish all the bands come up with original songs of highest quality thereby contributing in the growth of independent music scene in Kerala”, he adds.
Old Singers vs New Singers
Roby has worked with some of the latest sensational singers in our industry and hopes to work with the legendary singers soon. “We can’t compare the old and new singers. The entire process of song recording in olden days was too different. A song’s recording may take up to 2-3 days, whereas now it’s like 15-20 minutes. A lot of time was spent on one song then which made the singers more skilled and dedicated. The new singers too are skilled and dedicated, but time and technology has made recording a bit simpler. I prefer and love the working style of olden days, which gave the song a life and meaning. That feel is missing these days. A song is like conceiving; it’s a very beautiful process”.
Business side of Music
Many of the music directors in our industry have started involving in the business side of music these days. “I believe all music directors should be familiar about the business side of music too. Music is our bread and butter. Musicians and artists should earn well form their creations rather than getting used. But still I’m not that good in this field. However it has become a necessity and I’m exploring the possibilities and opportunities of this field”, he adds.
“As of now the prime focus is on the band and the upcoming shows. The band is what’s making 2016 very exciting. Some film projects are also on the way, which I think the directors will announce soon. Not much plans, but hopes to execute the existing plans well”.
I had a lot of good friends here. The memories of the time with my friends, vacation days, all remains fresh and enjoyable. Trivandrum, in many ways, it’s very special to me!”