Sanaya Ardeshir’s, aka Sandunes, striking new album, ‘Downstream’, is a breath of fresh air. The entire album is a beautiful confetti blast of zany noises, unusual (perfect)timing and refreshing song structures. It pushes you as a listener as you groove along to these charmingly unconventional tracks surfacing from a bolder musical landscape.
With this album Sandunes reinvigorates her love for the fun in music. Devoid of any form of self-judgment. It’s art arising from a sense of rapture rather than duty. This makes it bold, edgy and free-flowing. It mirrors the spiritual space Sanaya occupies as an individual.
A follow up to several EPs & a great debut album, ‘Downstream’ is everything you want it to be. It’s a eclectic mix of garage noise & glitchy sounds. There are some lovely tracks like ‘LBDF’ & ‘Crystal Pink’. We also have the tenebrous ‘that’s been following me’ which is a treat. My personal favorite however would be ‘Indigo Village’, absolutely compelling to put your dancing shoes on!
With this creative endeavour Sanaya also rekindled her love for live music. Pushing the bar for live music for electronic acts and creating a unique audio-visual experience for her fans to revel in. We talked to Sanaya about her new album, the process behind it and her future plans. Check it out!
Q) You recently said that the idea behind ‘Downstream’ relates to ‘moving in the direction of who you really are’. What kind of individual are you at this point of your musical career that separates ‘Downstream’ from your other records?
Through the making of this record I was in a bolder, more risk-taking space.
I definitely had a bigger picture for the entire body of work, in a way that felt different to my previous processes – which were more incidental or had a song-at-a-time kinda approach, if that makes any sense!
Q) What’s your process for each song like? Was it different with ‘Downstream’?
Each song came from some different nugget of what I’d was playing at my gigs. Chord progressions, or arrangements that worked stayed – and in the production process, I tried to recreate everything else around those ideas.
Q) Is it fair to say ‘Downstream’ has rekindled your love for live music given that there is less ‘button pushing’ and more of actual playing? Any reason that it happened with this record specifically?
Well, it’s one small step in that direction for sure. I think the high amount of exposure to night clubs and dance-floor oriented music has definitely curbed my current level of enjoyment for anything that’s not super risky and/or emotive. Live music and discovering efficient ways of performing it has become far more appealing to me now than it’s been in years.
I’m on a quest to discover a super ideal live experience.
Q) What makes you tick, creatively? What does Sanaya Ardeshir bring to Sandunes beyond the music?
Nature, routine, silence, and yoga create a great bed for me to get into a good creative flow. But also the hyper buzz of good ideas, being exposed to expertise and great performances.. Beyond the music, I think I try to create a structure for Sandunes that’s highly methodical and disciplined in it’s approach, one that leans towards learning and growth.
Q) As a student of music what are your thoughts on musical education? What advice would you give aspiring musicians who are toying with the idea of pursuing it?
What’s cool about being a student of music, is that it’s kind of like being a student of life – the learning really never stops. To me, the scope of ‘music education’ is so vast and I would highly encourage musicians who are toying with the idea of studying further, or taking up an academic approach to their own music career in the form of teaching or mentoring.
However, music education needn’t be defined by a course in a highly reputed music-institution or something specific – I think it’s possible for it to be more of a frame of mind and personal approach – and with the various resources on the internet and professional musicians activated in the country today, it’s easy to further an education in any number of open ended ways.
Q) Over the years which are the Indian indie acts that you have grown to love? Which are some of your non-electronic music influences that sub-consciously or consciously shaped the sound of Sandunes?
I have grown to love Skrat, the F16s, Nicholson, Parekh&Singh. Mostly because they’re all so engaging to watch in a live setting. Kumail’s new live set is also a complete treat. At the moment I’m listening to a lot of jazz from the 1920s – I’m hoping it will influence my output in the months that follow!
Q) Tell us about your recent ‘listening parties’. What advice would you give aspiring musicians in terms of getting their music out there?
When the album was ready, I sent it to a few really close friends in different cities and we began chatting about having album-previews, or listening sessions. Really organically, this idea arose to have album listening sessions from different parts of the country – all at the same time. So on the same day, at about 9pm, we had a bunch of people in Calcutta at a live-visual and Biryani party hosted by Jivraj Singh, Bangalore was a music-studio-listening party hosted by Sanjana Nyapati, there was one in Delhi that Tarqeeb (Ashish Jose) took on and played the music out at Bandstand, and we did an intimate and slightly sombre listening at Sohrab Nicholson’s house in Bombay. It was a totally organic thing, but I wanted to seed the music, or basically – get it out there to the people that were really keen on engaging with it – and I’m so grateful that they actually went out – just to ‘listen’.
Q) Suggest one song to describe your expectations from the future?
‘The best is yet to come’ – Frank Sinatra!
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