Tunnels – EP by Vibhu Singh
Vibhu Singh talks about his debut EP ‘Tunnels’
How did you start with music production? What was your inspiration?
I started production in 2017. I’ve been listening to hip-hop centric genres since an early age and have been fortunate enough to know some of the greats- Travis Scott, Metro Boomin, 21 Savage, Kendrick, mostly trap artists were my initial inspirations to take up production. Later on when I actually learnt production I discovered geniuses like Flying Lotus, Monte Booker, Mura Masa and tried learning more about experimental sound design. Unlike most people who get influenced by hip-hop, I chose to follow the production side of things.
What are your songs about? What do they mean to you?
Well, since they don’t really have any lyrics, the meaning is embedded in the music. My projects are highly varied, and I always try to add multiple subtle emotions rather than adding one single strong emotion.
Tell us more about ‘Tunnels’.
It’s my debut EP which is an experimental, instrumental passage of 7 tracks. I’ve tried best to showcase my range as a musician in this project. While making tracks my friend and I came up with this idea of putting out an instrumental for the period we are making more commercial music, for audiences to discover our sound. If you listen to Tunnels start to finish you will realize the progression of emotions. It goes from euphoria, excitement, coziness, to chaos, psychedelia, darkness, and eventually ends on a rather happy note. Don’t want to make things too deep also. Its been the most robust project of mine, and I aim to strike the same emotional chord with my audience as any other commercial, vocal track would. Its new for audiences, but it’s high time we appreciate not just singers, but the music itself.
What was your process for this EP?
Tunnels was a culmination of my sound and production, everything I’ve learnt as a musician, while performing with my college band, as a drummer, as a critic. I picked up production seriously at the start of the lockdown. I released a single in June, and after a few months of learning the tools of the trade, got working on a multi-genre project. It required a lot of hit and trial, failures, moments of “eureka”, but it finally came together after 2 months of serious work.
Who has helped you along the way?
When I started production while being locked away, my resources were quite limited. Kalbaisakhi, the musical act started by me and my friend Vikram was visualized by us over calls, zoom sessions. During the initial months he helped and motivated me into shaping my sound. Kainto is the one CBSite who has been there through thick and thin. Vikram and Anuj are two musicians who have been the most helpful, have heard the EP as it was being made, business related issues, promotion and marketing, everything.
I can’t end this list without mentioning Dhwani. They’re some of the closest people I have, who understand my sound and vision, and have guided me well. Dhwani seniors have given me musical, promotional, marketing related advice, and I can’t thank them enough for it.
What are your future plans?
I’m working on multiple singles right now. Rappers, instrumentalists, producers, vocalists, I am underway on a lot of projects with lot of talented musicians, some of them even being from Dhwani. I don’t have a cap on the variety of projects I could work on – Rock, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Hindustani fusion, just some ideas I’m trying to materialize.
How difficult is it to take up an unconventional undertaking away from the business side of things?
Interesting question. I’ve been in CBS for 3 years, and I have had mixed feelings about being an artist and belonging to CBS at the same time. I worked on my EP throughout the placement season, my internships and courses. Hell, I worked through my exams. I realised quick that with the not so stable job market, the best option was to pick up a valuable internship and course, and work on what I actually care about – my music. It is tough having such conflicting thought processes, but my priorities have shifted, and still are. I don’t want to be associated as the CBSite who wasted his last year making music and not scoring a placement. I have taken care of essential things like my grades, my CV and work experience, and after all that I have felt confident enough to pursue music with this level of seriousness.
Having said that, initially I felt guilt and uneasiness while walking the ‘road less travelled’. But in all honesty I just didn’t want to spend my last year in college sitting and preparing for case interviews which I’ll never give.
What advice would you want to give to others?
Don’t listen to people. I know it sounds very extreme, but something like music requires a pinch of ignorance. You may be in one of the most prestigious b-schools of the continent but don’t let that limit what you’re actually fit for.
Its very likely you would get your work reviewed by someone not willing to give it even a fraction of attention you have, and their words might discourage you, maybe permanently. To come to the conclusion that you’re bad at something requires numerous trail and error. Don’t stop at trial, let it stink. Produce your worst, practice through it, hit your lowest, and then see the magic happen. Its those who stop after failure that eventually fail themselves. Keep the real ones close, don’t try to imitate anyone, and as easy as it may sound, be yourself.