Ebb & Flow
1. What is the story behind Ebb and Flow? What do you wish to convey through the song?
Back in February, Ebb & Flow started as a house instrumental which Vibhu made over a few days. Later, Shreya sent some phone recorded takes, trying to preserve the ambient aesthetic around the track. Those were the first and last takes, and got finalised after getting processed and mixed by Vibhu, and at that moment we realised this track is going to be something.
Ebb & Flow is experimental in every sense of the word. House was a genre Vibhu had never produced before, and for Shreya it was a step up from slower tempo genres like R&B and lo-fi as well. Both of us tried everything we could, while preserving the emotional palette of the song.
2. How did you guys decide to work together? Do you have any collaboration plans in future as well?
We started working together as bandmates in 2019, and have since worked on various original compositions. We’ve realised that working together creates a synergy because we both have very different musical tastes and influences. This really helps us experiment, and figure out something new everytime we try something. It’s a lot of fun, really.
And yes, we will definitely share a lot more songs together. We have 4-5 projects together apart from our individual projects. We hope to release more music in the near future, and hopefully a lot more this year itself. Shreya is working on her own projects, and since it’s a formative stage for her as an artist, she has lots to explore. For Vibhu, while helping Shreya sculpt her sound, he is working with various artists on various styles, along with some solo projects.
3. Do you plan to pursue music professionally after CBS?
We are already on that road, to be honest. Especially Vibhu, his first EP “Tunnels” was a hit and received critical acclaim, he plans to continue making music for the foreseeable future, working on a variety of his own projects as well as with other artists. Shreya plans to grow as a vocalist and musician, and she has a plethora of styles and genres to explore.
4. Were you able to maintain consistency in your daily practice, in spite of having a typical CBS schedule?How?
Being part of a hectic b-school lifestyle, it was tough to prioritise music efficiently at times. Combine that with the horrific second wave of Covid-19 in India, times really became stressful. Despite that we have gotten better at finding common time to work on our compositions. We try to keep calm and stay focused, clarity of thought is quite important in the kind of music we are trying to make. At the end of the day, if something gives us that rush, we try to work towards it actively. We also always keep each other in the loop by sharing music and any ideas we might have. We both have a supportive and nurturing circle of friends and family, along with our loving music society Dhwani.
We both believe that at the end of the day, if someone is passionate about making or doing something, they will find time for it. It’s about identifying your calling, which may change over time.
5. What is the process of composing like? Do you follow a certain structure to go about it?
Usually, the tracks we have worked on have started with Vibhu’s compositions in the form of instrumentals, beats, motifs. Once they are arranged in a certain manner, Shreya finds pockets for her vocals, and after a few hits and misses, we form a skeleton structure. Our music is not very methodical, we always try different ideas, approaches, refer to existing tracks for ideas, and take inspiration from our favourite artists for that particular style. If the core idea is valuable, it takes form as a track sooner or later. In our new compositions, Shreya too is taking the lead and formulating compositions that put her in the spotlight.
6. How Dhwani as a society helped you in furthering your interests? Did you have future plans to compose and produce music when you joined the society?
Dhwani is like family, and it is how Vibhu and I met. Jamming together, making music together with the band, helped us understand each others’ sound. And even on an individual level, the support and encouragement from Dhwani is what has kept us so motivated and excited throughout the process. Dhwani would always be the first to critique and listen to whatever new we worked on. Their insights definitely help us a lot. And not just this, within Dhwani also, working with anyone just makes you realise the potential each individual has, musically. There’s so much talent, and so many hardworking members, it’s inspiring to say the least.
Dhwani has never felt anything other than a family. Our friends have heard the thousands of iterations we made of our track, given us critical feedback, supported our endeavours, and most importantly hyped us up.
7. What were the hurdles that came in your way? What were some of the hardest choices you made? Is there any particular decision you think that paid off really well?
Our journey for Ebb & Flow was quite long, but this is mainly because we wanted the final product to be up to our expectations, even better maybe. We took our sweet time to chisel the track into the form it is in right now, whether it be minor mixing changes, accentuating a certain section, refining the artwork, paying extra attention to our press releases. We didn’t want to leave any stone unturned. To talk about hurdles or hard choices, it would be fair to say (but difficult to believe now) that we were very close to not releasing the track, till the day we actually did. A decision we believe was fruitful was how we did not rush into the track. We took our time, perfected it day-by-day, worked off the feedback we got, and it definitely paid off in the end.
8. What advice would you give to your juniors who want to follow music and other arts as their passion?
Don’t think so much, just do it! It will be so worth it. The worst that’ll happen is that you’ll learn something new. Being in college, and especially one like ours, it’s very easy to be discouraged from taking the road less traveled. You’re not expected to be the black sheep, yet those who muster up the courage to do what they feel deeply about can truly go farther than their own expectations. You can pursue any art form while keeping your academics healthy, so long as you have clarity of what it is you want out of your art, whether it be acclaim, perfection, fun, growth, whatever. At this stage, good time management can work wonders for you.
9. How do you feel… like you are living your passion…even after being from a strictly corporate background. Do you feel happy and satisfied?
Neither of us can deny, this entire process has been humbling. There was so much we explored and learnt all through it. For Shreya, it was her first release, and Vibhu had already released Tunnels, so there was a lot of learning for her, and exploration for the both of them. It does add to the pressure though. To an extent Vibhu and Shreya’s priorities differed. Shreya has kept a good balance between her academic, professional and extra-curricular fronts. As for Vibhu, having secured satisfactory academics and professional goals, he has been devoting more time towards his music, working on commission projects, collaborations etc., yet even for him, no particular front ever overpowered the others.
We both have worked on non-music ventures in the past as well, and we understand each other’s priorities and work flow. Having a corporate background, it gave us a professional edge in certain aspects over other artists, whether it be our write ups for press releases, our mailing and marketing strategies, managing cash and resource flow.
Vibhu being a soon to be graduate is going to be a business professional, and the question of choosing between corporate and music is no longer a pressing concern. After speaking with multiple artists with full time jobs, it boils down to the simple fact that sacrifices need not be made for the sake of it. One can find a healthy balance, and pursue any number of ventures simultaneously, so long as the hunger is there. To some extent, pressure can be a gateway to inspiration, creativity and even productivity.
10. What influenced your music style and made you opt for house music?
We both have very different influences, and to be honest, we didn’t discuss what we wanted this song to be. Vibhu has been exploring house music for a while, and he cooked up this beat which Shreya really liked. Surprisingly enough, Ebb & Flow was a first for the both of us – Vibhu, who produces hip-hop inherently and Shreya, who derives inspiration from pop, both of us turned to an alternative, experimental and fresh genre. It’s definitely a genre we want to explore further.
11. What are the pros and cons of working with someone vs working alone?
There are a lot of ideas that come in when working together. What we do together is very different from what the two of us do individually. So that’s the biggest pro. It requires the both of us to be very empathetic and patient too. And since we’ve worked together for almost 2 years now, we understand each others’ choices and tastes. Coming to the cons, there are really none except that it can sometimes be hard to manage everything at once with academics and other commitments, and we might have conflicting work hours. But we always communicate and find a way around, and don’t let it affect our morale, or the project.