I think a teacher can’t teach you to be creative: Dhruv VisvanathBy - Team RadioCity
Calling him the guitar virtuoso would be understated especially when he is hailed as the ‘guitar spanker’. Dhruv Visvanath is currently basking under the glory, he is receiving for his recent music video, ‘Four’, which has been released under composer Vishal Dadlani’s label V.L.T (Vishal Likes This). The video, which has been shot at Castle Mandawa in Rajasthan, sees Dhruv weave magic with his strings.
Team Radio City caught up with the young singer-songwriter for a quick chat. Read on.
You’re a self-taught performer but you call yourself a ‘failed pianist’. Why so?
Dhruv: I think of myself as someone who discovered to learn something new in a different way. The only thing with the piano was that it proved to be useful for me while learning the guitar, a few years later when I actually did come to learning the instrument. So being a failed pianist for me was the next step to what could be my biggest achievement.
Would you recommend keeping a keen ear and an open mind or obtaining formal training while approaching music?
Dhruv: I think a keen ear is important. I think a teacher can’t teach you to be creative. That is the only downside because I feel creativity involves a lot of self-explanation and self-expression. It is a different sort of avenue that one needs to go down with. But, I do believe that the foundation of an instrument, the key learnings and the technique are important. Like how we go to school and we are taught the alphabets so that we can make words out of it. So it is the same case with music as well. Formal training gives you the foundation to piece your thought-processes together so that you can create further.
Your EP is up for release in a few months. How has it been shaping?
Dhruv: I think the whole process has been going well. It is very interesting and intriguing. I am really enjoying the whole process of making and recording my music. It’s nearing completion and I’m just adding the final touches to it. So, it’s coming together and I cannot wait to get this out and show it to you guys. It’s the same feeling actually. Every time, I create something new, I always try and attach a grand story to it. So, I’m really looking forward to how everyone receives what I have created.
You were recently a panelist at the first-ever youth mental health discussion meet held in Delhi. What made you associate with this cause?
Dhruv: Because I’m crazy (laughs). But no, the people behind the organization of this meet are very close friends of mine, from the time I first started playing in Delhi. So, when I heard about the cause and that they were behind it with the theme for the discussion being depression, I wanted to be a part of it. Because I wanted to share about the grief that my family had faced when my father passed away. I felt there was a need to discuss and talk about it on a relevant platform. Because as a musician, people look up to you when it comes to expression but nobody knows your story. I would’ve not wanted to have missed the opportunity of letting the world know what the circumstances were that led me to take up music. At the end of the day, I’m very fortunate to get any platform that lets me reach out and where people would actually listen to my story. I was very privileged to be among many other social media personalities and tech experts who had an interesting take on the topic. I hope I contributed enough to make somebody else’s life better.
Singer-songwriters you admire?
Dhruv: I love Rock and Neo-Jazz music. But the way I play, I like looking around for different music arrangements than how singer-songwriters work. But if I were to pick names, I’d say Ben Howard. He is a fantastic singer-songwriter. I’ve always loved John Mayer, especially how he writes his music. Then there is Lucy Rose. Among our Indian folks, there is Mahesh Raghunandan. I think he is a fantastic singer and he’s got a lot of potential. There is Nikhil D’Souza and then one of my dear friends, Mali (Maalavika Manoj). I’ve been very fortunate to sit with these guys and see how they make their music.
What is currently on your playlist?
Dhruv: I’ve been listening a lot to Snarky Puppy lately. I absolutely love that band. Their latest ‘Culcha Vulcha’ won a Grammy, last year. I hadn’t gotten a chance to sit down and listen to it, but when I did, it blew mind. I love the way they arrange their music. It feels sneaky and guileful. You feel like a participant in their mischief. They have a very interesting way of writing music.
To watch the video of Dhruv’s latest song, ‘Four’, click here