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“A music producer’s job is very demanding” – Bharat Goel

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Music producer and composer Bharat Goel, has produced, mixed and mastered many hits in Bollywood such as “Dekhte Dekhte” from ‘Bati Gul Meter Chalu’ (2018), “Sajan Bade Senti” from ‘Badhaai Ho’ (2018), “Cutie Pie” from ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ (2016), “Kukdookoo” fronm ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ (2015), “Dilli Wali Girlfriend” from ‘Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani’ (2013), “Titli Dubstep Version” from ‘Chennai Express’ (2013) and many more. His latest music video “Hun Nahin Jeena” was recently released and gained a lot of popularity. In this interview, he shares his views about his latest single, music production and challenges as a music producer in the industry.

How ecstatic are you with the positive response of your latest single “Hun Nahi Jeena”?
Very ecstatic. To get such a positive response is very encouraging.

Was it a bold move to use a female voice such as Asees Kaur instead of an established male voice for your first single?
The song was always visualised from a female perspective. Being a romantic number I needed a very dreamlike rendition which was delivered perfectly by Asees Kaur, who is a very established singer. We have male and duet songs in the pipeline as well.

The trend nowadays is for music producers to become full-fledged composers. Why is this trend picking up so much?
Not just nowadays, this trend has existed for years. Some of our most celebrated music composers including Salim–Sulaiman, Sachin-Jigar and Amit Trivedi have been music producers first. I think it is a natural progression in a music producer’s career. Of course I will continue be a full-fledged music producer and sound engineer as well.

Do you believe there is a composer hiding in everyone who is passionate about music?
It depends from person to person. Some passionate music lovers have a singer hiding in them, while others have a writer hiding in them, some have a musician in them while others have a composer. It is important for each person to recognize his/her talent, strengthen and nurture it.

What is the main importance of a music producer these days in shaping a song?
A music producer works in close collaboration with music directors to express the musical vision behind a song. For example, when we produce music for films, we are given a brief of the situation along with a visual narrative. We then collaborate with the music director and a team of musicians to see how best we can complement this to achieve the goals set. A music producer to a music director is like Steve Wozniak to Steve Jobs.

Do you believe music producers are getting enough recognition these days through fees, credits and exposure in events?
We live in exciting times. The music industry is going through dynamic changes and these include credits, recognition and fees for all artists including music producers, musicians and engineers. A lot of music producers are talented musicians themselves and are actively involved in events. Even award shows are now recognising music producers and engineers. I have been fortunate that my work has been nominated thrice and awarded twice in the Mirchi Music Awards for songs like “Baby Doll” from ‘Ragini MMS 2’ (2014), “Chhil Gaye Naina” from ‘NH10’ (2015) and “Man Marziyan”.

“Jaane Ye Kyun Kiya” with Farhan Akhtar and Rochak Kohli has quite an upbeat arrangement and programming. What kind of work went into this track? Tell us also how did it all happen.
I have worked on many film songs as well as independent music with Rochak Kohli. “Jaane Ye Kyun Kiya” was a wonderful opportunity to work on an independent single with one of our most celebrated actor-cum-singer Farhan Akhtar. Both Farhan and Rochak are visionaries and gave me ample creative freedom to explore an international sound and arrangement with this track. Given my background in music production and sound engineering training from University of Westminster, London, this was a great opportunity to show case my versatility. We were all very pleased with the outcome.

What are the recent technological trends have you embraced in the last two years?
Keeping up to date with music production and sound engineering technologies has been one of my strengths. My studio uses state of the art digital and analog recording, production, mixing and mastering hardware and software, which are currently being used by the best artists in the world. I am also working on designing my instrument libraries and production software.

Club Vich Project released in February 2009. How was it conceptualized?
Club Vich Project was one of my first few albums ever released when I was doing my Masters from the University of Westminster, London. At that time the BBC Asian Network had given me a lot of support and played my music on BBC Asian network national radio in the UK. This helped me bag a deal with the top record label in the UK, “Movie Box Records”. The album was an outcome of my experiments with Punjabi music at that time.

How do you react when you hear poorly programmed and arranged songs being released officially on online platforms?
Music composition and production is a creative field. To be able to create melodies and music arrangement which touches the heart of millions of listeners around the world is a huge challenge, especially given the tight deadlines and the pressure we are expected to deliver in. Just like a Sachin Tendulkar or a Virat Kohli, while being outstanding performers, don’t score centuries in every innings, similarly music composers and producers miss out sometimes. It is these learning experiences that make better musicians in the long run.

Music lovers are saying that today’s composers are clearly neglecting the core melody. After arranging so many songs, do you feel there is a gradual decline in melody since you started work?
Melody has been an intrinsic part of Indian music right from the beginning. We are a highly melody driven audience. I strongly believe that the importance of melody cannot be neglected in modern music composition also. While we now have the introduction of various genres like rap and indie music, which are also popular, personally I am a strong believer of the importance of melody.

Have you ever been dissatisfied with your work after it was also released? Name the track and explain how you dealt with that situation.
As most creative artists are, I have also been extremely critical of my work and avoid dissatisfaction as much as possible. There have been times when we have re-worked the entire song multiple times till we were completely satisfied. As far as possible we avoid letting any sub-standard work release.

You have learned how to play the tabla for more than 6 years when you were a child. Do you get the chance to use this instrument in your work?
Indian music instruments have existed for thousands of years and represent the rich culture and diversity of Indian music. Even today Indian classical music concerts are held across the world and loved and appreciated by audiences all over. I believe that the tabla is one of the most powerful rhythm instruments ever invented. I have on a number of occasions recorded tabla for many hits like “Kinna Sonna” from ‘Marjaavaan’ (2019), “Dekhte Dekhte” from ‘Bati Gul Meter Chalu’ (2018), and many others.

You have such a long working experience with Pritam and have arranged so many hits for him. What is special about Pritam compared to other composers you have worked for, while respecting others work too?
Pritam Dada is one of the most visionary musicians I have ever met. I have always been very inspired by his sheer versatility as a composer. I have learnt a lot from him, while having had the privilege of assisting him and working closely with him and his team.

Are you being challenged enough in your work? Share the experience.
A music producer’s job is very demanding. Late night shifts, hours, sometimes days in the studio and very tight deadlines. It is constantly dynamic and high pressure. Coping up needs a high level of competency and reliability. Movie producers spend crores on making films and it is our responsibility to deliver high quality music to justify the music’s place in the film. There is very little margin for error or poor quality work. We have to be constantly on the edge.

List five top songs on your phone playlist.
My phone playlist is updated regularly. My current favourites are:

  1. “Kinna Sonna”‘ from Marjaavaan’ (2019)
  2. “Tujhe Kitna Chahen Aur Hum” from ‘Kabir Singh’ (2019)
  3. “Senorita” – Shawn Mendes, Camila Cabello
  4. “Tum Hi Aana” from ‘Marjaavaan’ (2019)
  5. “Hun Nahin Jeena” – Asees Kaur

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