Saturday, 22 April 2017

Music Diaries: Sudipto Banerjee

Stepping into this new bengali calendar year, it is a very proud moment for me to be introduced to some great musical people of this industry. Having visited a few such events too, not only has my interest been keener, I have started to know a lot more than what I knew when I started with my endeavour.

For today's session we have Sudipto banerjee. Also known as Buti, this keyboard player has been in the industry for as long as a person can remember. A person who excels with the keyboard, his views on music has heightened up with his days in Cactus- a leading band that is also one of the founding members of the bengali band circuit in Kolkata. So here's presenting, Sudipto Banerjee; unplugged...

It is more than a privilege to interact with you and especially on music. If we go back to your roots, what was the very first tune that you learnt to play?

Sudipto Banerjee— Smoke on the water-Deep Purple.

And from there on started your musical journey? You play the keys. The keys, as I fathom, are surely one of the most important instruments that can be. How would you define the keyboard? What is its importance in a band?

Sudipto Banerjee— Raymond Kurzweil is a visionary who built an instrument which would emulate any sound source right from a Piano,EP, Strings,or an Analog synthesizer . This was the 1st keyboard digital instrument which took the music industry by storm. The keyboard instrument to me is a colouring pallete which I use to make a piece of music or a song sound full and edgy at the same time. Hey there are lotta bands who may not have a keyboard player but they do use keyboards for fx & enhancing their sound. Keyboards actually play a major role in

POP/JAZZ/FUNK acts where the Artist/ BAND is looking to use sounds which aren’t guitar, drum and bass :) RIGHT from ADELE TO MAROON5 they all use keyboards. It is the backbone of contemporary music.

For the uninformed, how would they be able to differentiate the sound of the keyboard from the others in a song?

Sudipto Banerjee— 90 percent of whatever music we listen to globally are made my music producers & DJs who are using electronic sounds, it is actually nowadays pretty easy to distinguish

the sound of a keyboard or synth from anything else if you’re an avid music listener.

The keyboard is a broad term if I am not too wrong and under that term a lot of types fall. Piano, organ etc. One of the confused terms is keyboard and synthesizer. You play both. What would be the difference between the sounds that they both have?

Sudipto Banerjee— Synthesizers are instruments which transform electrical signals to sound & keyboard emulate synths & other instruments through a digital process called sampling. A Synthesizer can primarily make electronic sounds but the keyboard can do both because the engine of a keyboard is made up of a chipset & its much more complex.

You play with one band that is known to be THE band in the band circuit of West Bengal for years now. How does it feel? How has it shaped you up- as a musician and a person?

Sudipto Banerjee— I have been playing for the last 12 years with CACTUS so I actually grew up in this band. It actually feels really great playing rock music around the world & that too

in my own mother tongue. Playing live music with a premier rock band for 12 years is quite an experience. I have played more than 1000 concerts with CACTUS & playing live is a very volatile situation. Kinda like WAR if your sound engineer is incompetent or your PA system is not up-to par or your monitors quit working just before the concert. I have faced all this but now we have a set team as CACTUS is a 25 year old band & the production that we use now is the best available.

If you were given a chance to be asked what you always wanted to be asked but no one asked you ever before- what would the question be. And of course, the answer would be?

Sudipto Banerjee— What would you do if you landed up with 10 million dollars no strings attached? I would buy myself a studio with all the gear I wanted to buy & an ASTON MARTIN DB10 for weekend getaways.

To any musician in todays time what would you like to ask? It can be any musician, it can be any question.

Sudipto Banerjee— I see young guys doing music or whatever their own thing, they are much into their work than I used to be & that is a very good thing. The competition in any field is so fierce that you have to be the best in whatever you do. Honestly THE WORK WILL SPEAK FOR ITSELF.

What, currently, are you working on? Anything new that is forthcoming?

Sudipto Banerjee I am currently working with PROJECT DREAMCATCHER & releasing new material with them. This is the outfit of Ritaprabha Ray that primarily produces folk fusion with a hint of electronica & I play keyboards with them. I worked on a new song with my ex band mate & friend Shayok Banerjee’s latest hindi single & the video is going to be released really soon. I am really enjoying playing with PT Tanmoy Bose’e WORLD MUSIC outfit TAALTANTRA

where I’ve been playing keyboard from december 2016 with incredible virtuoso musicians of INDIA.

I cannot help but ask you this question. The person you were before you became a full time musician and the person you are today- what is the most significant change that you notice in yourself? And where do you see yourself 5 years from now?

Sudipto Banerjee I dunno about the future but yeah it has been quite a ride for the last 16 years of playing ROCK N ROLL. The most significant change would be ummm … I used to be a party animal even 5 years ago, but nowadays I just feel like driving to different places with my wife over weekends, escaping the roar of the city keeps us sane. PARTY is onstage with screaming fans :)

If I may ask, what are your thoughts on the current music scenario in West Bengal? Where do you see it going?

Sudipto Banerjee I see great promise in the eyes of young Artists. There are so many killer acts from Kolkata who are really killing it in the national scene. I love bands like UA, GANESH TALKIES, WHAT ESCAPES ME, BODHISATTWA TRIO, FIDDLER’S GREEN,

THE RITORNELLOS, PAREKH & SINGH they are all very artistic & their music is both cerebral & visceral. PAREKH & SINGH, the guys from ballygunge are touring UK & they played a radio show on the BBC. FUTURE LOOKS GOOD.

The upcoming musicians have a lot to look up to in terms of music and they are brimming with ideas. Being in this industry for quite some time now, what would you like to advice them?

Sudipto Banerjee— Just do your thing is what I would advice them, as long as you as an Artist think what you create is making sense to you & IF the effort is honest there is no looking back. There are no shortcuts in performing arts.

Isn't it wonderful knowing music up close? Do you want to share your experience? If you are a musician and you want to speak about music or get featured here, get in touch with me at I would be more than happy to talk to you and discuss music with you.

If you think that there are things about music that you know and would want to share with the whole world, don't forget to leave me a message. To help me with my endeavour, do not forget to share the post. If you have come up with a music album and would want me to review it before release or for that matter, after release, I am always there. Also, if there is a music launch and you want me to cover it (especially if it is in Kolkata, India) I am there. For the people outside Kolkata, give me the details of the launch and I would cover it for you. If there is any music event that you want me to attend, I am just a ping away always. For the rest, as I always say, let your soul be musical!

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