Monday, December 9, 2013

How did we make Duality?

Now that Duality is just about a couple of weeks away from it's release, I thought it would be a good idea to share with you the details on how we went about making what you will see.

Rollback to early 2012, Ugyal came up with a riff that sounded very different from what we had composed before. It was 'upbeat' and a bit like Paramore. I personally felt that it was going to be 'the song' of our new album. We got everybody to work into that riff and eventually constructed a full blown song that is called "Duality" now.

We wanted to make a video out of this song but we didn't know how. Let's face it, we don't make much money off our music, hence affording a expensive video was totally out of the question. I saw many of the Indian band videos and approached folks one after the other. There was one point of time, when we had closed in on making the video through someone from Bengal but that would have needed all of us to be in Silliguri. Given such circumstances, we had very little to play with. No cash, no logistics and a need for a music video.

Sauvik has been our real inspiration behind doing things DIY. He gave me this confidence that we 'can' actually make a music video all on our own, all that we would need for it is a good camera and a good script. I kick Sauvik's butt very often for taking things upon himself to do everything but then that was the only way we could go forward. Sagarneel da, my college senior was pursuing his side project with the 'Photographians' and were doing a good job with wedding photography. Wait a min, did I just say - I would like to talk to him about the video? As contrasting as it may sound but I was very very impressed with his portraits. He has a thinking behind his photographs and what really shows off his art is a passion to learn and a dedicated soul working hours to make it perfect. So without further thinking, I just gave him a call and pitched in the idea of making a music video. He was excited too but he gave me a task to come up with a script. I went back to the band and we did a whole lot of brainstorming. Anirban Ghoshal aka 'kake' came into the party as well. Then the whole of DP and Sagar da would sit for hours and hours discussing about how we can construct a music video. When I thought through those discussions, I learnt that each one of us have a way of looking at films. It was actually about controlling the chaos in each one of us and transform it into a form of art. We started watching a lot of music videos and let's be honest, feasible music videos that could be worked out without much investment and lesser experiments. Ideas got formulated in a piece of paper and we would just go back n forth over it. At Dark Project, we may not produce the 'most path breaking' idea of them all but we constantly try to do something different from what has been done before and we wanted to do the same with the video.

Finally, end of 2012, early 2013 - we had a workable script. We distinctly divided the script into two parts - one for the storyline and one for the band shoots. Sauvik was very particular about getting thoughts to paper and would ask us to visualize them. So we would sit down at his place for hours over weekends, drawing pictures on camera angles and what not. We were quite a bit ambitious to begin with, but realized slowly about the feasibility aspects to do a video with just a DSLR. We studied lenses with Sagar da, went through DSLR video tutorials and learned the art of shooting a video. Next task was to finalize the locations. To be fair with the band, I think we are very orthodox in some of the stuffs we do - so everything had to be planned well. We went around Bangalore to hunt for locations and found out quite a few interesting places.

The first day of shoot was in Sarjapur with Partha from Photographians coming in and helping us with the shoot. Not only did he give us his camera - a Nikon D700 but he is a guy who inspired us to do well in front of the camera and off it as well. I remember him really liking our stuff and asking us do something about the marketing aspect of the band. We had a day long shoot in a field and unfortunately even though the shots came out well, we discarded almost everything from that day. I remember getting Biriyani from the distant shops to the farm land to Korak, Ugyal and Sauvik who had no other shelter other than the one offered under a tree. I love these guys for one other reason, they are very modest and they can survive in any form of life. By the end of the day, we were thirsty, tired and totally tanned. We had to return the drum kits to Korak's friend in IISc that night itself. So I had to drive about 40 KMs across the city for that with Ugyal. It was tough doing that, when you imagine us starting the day at around 6 am in the morning.

After that day, we felt that we could do a better job out of it, you know plan things better. However, no effort goes for a loss. It taught us tremendous lessons on 'what not to do' while making a music video. So we decided to move back to the storyline and focus on it for the time being. While I start speaking about this section, I realize that the post has really become long - but I guess even if it doesn't find a single reader - it's worth a testimony. I would call us 'lucky' to have found Priyanka aka Pella who was studying in NIFT, Bangalore. She was generous enough to help us with styling the band.  She transformed the band, to be honest with you - we are really ugly looking men. All said and done, we still needed the protagonist of the video - a 'lady' and we reached out to people who could help us with that. With people not being sure of what it means to feature in a music video, we were very short on options. Pella helped us here as well by getting Sakshi who was her classmate at NIFT.  Sakshi not only suited the video, but she was someone whom you could call a team player. When I look back to those times, I sense this humanitarian touch to everything we did. Partha, Sagar da, Pella, Sakshi, Kake - these are the people who made us feel really special for the music we make. It wasn't our project, it was their project as well. We were an open forum and we took an opinion from each and everyone. It was like a bucket full of ideas forming a beautiful collage. A sketch, that most of us visualized in our heads but were not really sure of how to execute.

We ran through our novice ways of doing the shoots with Sagar da taking the lead. We had to still shoot the band shots (coz we had decided to scrap the earlier ones). We decided to do it in IISc Bangalore's music room. We got Korak's help here to get the permissions et all from the concerned bodies and off we go for another day of hard work behind and in front of the camera. I think the most pious thing I have done in my life so far is playing music and be in a band. By now I know that it caters to each one of our lives and is supposed to be a way to share our emotions. After seeing us play, we got invited for free food at a wedding near by at Gymkhana (Free food and Dark Project - go a long way).

We got neatly done, and then came the HUGE task of editing the video. I would make several trips to Sauvik's place over the weekends to sit with him to edit the video along with Sagar da. Sauvik is a genius, rather he is like this AI box which can learn algos and new stuff just like it's all about math. He took up the editing with brilliance and we were done with the edits in a months' time. But it had to take another couple of months for us to go through the CBFC submissions and process needed for it. Let's face it, I was responsible for delaying the whole aspect of getting it out coz of my imbalance at work and the need for us to be show ready at the same time.

We took almost a year to make this video. It's going to come out on youtube for starters in the next 2 weeks. All the superlatives that I have used in this post are with respect to my views and thoughts on what we have achieved. I know we have not made the best video in this world or even the best video that we can make now from all the learning but if I look back to the same time last year and think about this video that we have today - I wouldn't think twice to conclude that it would be just a dream.

Kudos to the following people for making this happen:

Sagarneel Biswas - The man behind the Camera, Photographians.
Anirban Ghoshal - The never say die - manager of Dark Project
Priyanka Ella Lorena Lama - The stylist and the little dynamite.
Shakshi Kandya - The protagonist.
Partha Sarathi Bera - One other half of Photographians in Bangalore


My bothers in this battle: Sauvik, Korak and Ugyal!

Here's to the two weeks, hope you would like it.


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