Like most of you, music is a huge part of my life and my tastes are constantly changing based on how I feel. I listen to the most music while I travel in metro [which is always crowded], sifting through playlists, from Assamese folk to Indian classical and Western pop. But when I’m working, it is the instrumental music that helps keep my focus on.
One fine day, while I was browsing through the internet for instrumental tracks by Indian musicians, I came across the profile of Aman Bathla that had a list of the tracks he had played on the piano. I clicked on one link, after the other, and it continued for an hour or so. Words would fall short to describe the soothing notes he strikes.
Fortunate you may say, I got an opportunity to interact with Bathla, when I approached him for an interview. He spoke to me about his childhood passions, choosing music over family business, upcoming album, and much more.
For those, who are not familiar with Bathla, here is a short brief.
Bathla’s professional excellence comprises of a degree in sound engineering and Indian classical music from Mumbai, and a degree in Western music from the prestigious Trinity College, London. He has been honoured with the title of Fastest Pianist by Assist World Records, World Records India and Record Setter for striking 804 notes in one minute at one of his concerts in Gurgaon.
- You come from a business family. How did your family react to your choice of career in music?
Well, family was a bit apprehensive with the choice of my career. To be a musician, when one already has an established 65-year-old business was daunting and demanded quite some audacity from me. But unconditional support from my wife and my intense love for the instrument did not deter me from being focused. I would say, God has been very kind to me.
- Was being a pianist your childhood dream?
Not really. I was not a child prodigy or focused on being a piano player as a child. But yes, without any technical coaching, I liked playing many instruments. The difference was that I related with the sound of piano deeply as compared to any other instrument.
- Could you explain your style of playing the piano?
I was never convinced of playing just by being depended on the music sheets. I understood the basic logic of composing, and I try to add my own touch to the music — be it Bollywood, Indian Classical or fusion. My music is mostly soft and heartwarming. It works as a therapy and does wonders on healing people suffering from mental disorders, insomnia, depression, or severe anger or stress.
- Did you ever dream of being a world record holder as the fastest pianist? Share with us your ride so far.
No. Never. It just happened. During my concert last year, I was determined to break the India Record but I was surprised when I broke the world record. Everyone was closely monitoring the screen and counting the tap of my fingers on the instrument. And then the announcement came that I had created a world record by striking maximum number of keys in a minute.
- Challenges you faced in the music industry?
The major challenge in the competitive world of music was to come up with a difference. I wanted my identity to be far different than just being a piano player imitating Bollywood songs or playing Western pieces. So I added my own style while playing and I am super glad that audience is accepting it with much aplomb and applause.
- What do you think does it take to make it big in the independent music scene in India?
Many things, but the few important ones include hard work and a clear, focused and positive vision. One must take risks in life.
- Are you planning on releasing an album? If so, what is it going to be?
Yes, I am planning to come up with one very soon. The theme will be based on nature and life.
- What do you do when you are not performing? Your hobbies?
I practise on piano and enjoy my time with family. I’m an adventurous person who loves to trek and bike.
- Name your 3 favourite musicians.
A R Rahman, Late Jagjeet Singh, and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan
- Who is your musical icon and influence?
The coveted santoor player Pt. Shiv Kumar for the wonderful soul he is, and A R Rahman for the bone chilling music he creates.
- What is your proudest moment so far – both personal and professional?
While on personal front I would say, I am proud and blessed to have such a wonderful and supportive wife, and on professional front it would definitely be the moment I created a world record.
- How can fans-to-be gain access to your music? Tell us about your upcoming shows
Note: The blog first appeared on GoYaNo