Kapil Seshasayee’s music is a mix of art rock, noise rock and Indian classical music, in which stunning vocals are lain over baritone guitar. His style is rooted in his experience as a music promoter, a composer and a score writer for short films. His skill set is wide, and that’s how he makes noise rock sound so good.

Seshasayee’s main influences are Scott Walker, Conlon Nancarrow, Glenn Branca, the Carnatic violinist L Subramanium, and Steely Dan. But for him, and his unique sound, the turning point came in 2011, when he accidentally caught the set of a German band called Einsturzende Neubauten, who built their instruments from scrap metal and war shrapnel. Like them, he too uses unconventional instruments, the signature being the waterphone.

“The waterphone was a [method for me] to find unorthodox ways to induce certain atmospheres on soundtracks [when I was composing music for theater and film],” he told Kajal Mag via email. “It has the sound of practically every jump scare from a horror film but barely anyone is aware it exists.”

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His latest single, A Sacred Bore, is about coming to terms with the caste system in South Asia. Creating the track was cathartic for Seshasayee. “Having grown up in a very religious South Asian household, I was certainly living with the consequences of caste,” he said. “But it wasn’t until I had time away from my household that I was able to parse its effects on South Asians in diaspora.”

It was that thought process that inspired the single’s title. Seshasayee wanted to communicate the cognitive dissonance of grappling with South Asian and Western ideals. “The juxtaposition of Sacred (something important and special) with Bore (tedious or past it’s relevance) is effective in getting this across.”

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His style of creation is unique. “I’ve never managed to shake the notion of approaching everything as if I were soundtracking a play or film,” he explained. “I usually start with a notion of what a song is going to be about and then I work on what intervals, rhythms and textures might best assist the listener in parsing the intended narrative of the piece.”

Seshasayee is excited about experimenting more and composing his music from algorithms and programming languages, such as MaxMSP. With so many skills, his experiments will always be worth looking forward to.

Art by Kapil Seshasayee.
Art by Kapil Seshasayee.

This article first appeared on Kajal.