Harry D’Souza is not your run-of-the-mill musician. I got the sense of it when I first listened to his music. And I was entirely convinced of it when I’d finished an hour-long conversation with him. One, he's learned the ropes organising gigs for other artists and two, he’s the product of a church choir, an experience in musical training that has long benefitted secular musicians, including versatile voices like Aretha Franklin, Usher, Justin Timberlake... and even Snoop Dogg. Also, his influences are varied, from being a heavy metal listener to developing an appreciation for electronica; It turns out that 2019’s Zone Out Party, an all-night electronica pool party at Green Hill View Resort, Ambernath, was Harry’s brainchild (Organised by his friends and him, the name suggested by Rosario Lobo).
“I used to work with an independent label, ennui.BOMB, I don’t know if you’ve heard of it,” he begins.
“Of course,” I replied. Who in the indie scene hadn’t encountered ennui.BOMB and its founder, the late Rishu Singh? I was suddenly drawn into a parallel conversation with Harry, one about his music and the other, working with Rishu - a pioneer in the Indian punk-rock scene. For the uninitiated, here’s a piece that pretty much nails it.
I now had a few more questions swirling in my head. Life for Harry had to be... interesting... right? Rishu was always more than the sum of his parts. Almost anyone who knew him will tell you he was unlike anyone else in the scene, at perpetual loggerheads with the status quo. They called him the ‘most punk guy out there’. (When we, at Flipsyde, met Rishu a few years ago, even before we could fully describe our business, he began jotting down contact numbers of those he felt could help us. Personal and financial crises didn’t stop him from helping others enter the indie space.)
“I worked with Rishu from 2017 until the end. In fact, I was his last employee. One of the greatest things I ever learned at the time was to do with indie musician struggles and getting an event off the ground.”
“Wait a minute,” I stopped him, “You travelled from Ambernath to Malad to work for the indie-est of labels?”
“Every day!” He replied, “And I credit everything I know today to ennui!”
Come to think of it, it’s now only natural that despite wanting to pursue his own journey as a musician, Harry continues to help and promote artists through his website www.globalmusicspace.com - A one-stop-shop platform for music enthusiasts from around the globe. It’s not only about his love for music, it’s not only about his eagerness to learn, and it’s definitely not about the money. It’s a combination of these things and more. It’s about personal investment, the creation of assets, the envisioning of the future and the encouraging of a new generation of talent.
I’ve been listening to Harry’s two singles for a couple of days now. A musical journey comparable to Damon Albarn’s, neither specific nor indifferent to genre but a blend of phasic influences.
As a musician, the former chorister is mostly self-taught, his style reminiscent of the Brit alternative rock scene of the nineties and 2000s. Think The Verve. Let me say, had I not known that the single Are You Alive? was his, I could have sworn it was The Verve. In a world where many live performances now include a laptop, it’s fresh to hear something so natural-sounding one could easily picture it happening at a gig in the midlands.
“I’m now trying to get my music out to more people. I know it’s a tough world online, but I’ll get there,” He says determinedly. His first single has had over eight thousand listens on Spotify - a great beginning if there ever was one!
Coming to his latest release Got A Reason, what we have here is a simple and super-catchy acoustic track sprinkled with the most unobtrusive electronic elements and an almost Gospel-like characteristic to it, quite different from his first single. In fact, even the electric guitar engulfs you so discreetly, you wouldn’t notice. The husk in his voice reminds me of Tony Scalzo’s, if I were to venture a comparison. The song is mixed and mastered by Vishal J. Singh of Amogh Symphony and Serpents Of Pakhangba. Singh has also scored mainstream movies like Gangs of Wasseypur and Mirror Game. The bass guitar is played by David De Menezes.
Harry has a lot on his plate. “I’m working on more music, bettering my production process and finding my unique sound.”
I’d say he’s virtually there. Also, I’m sure I can speak for all of us here when I say we’re looking forward to the next edition of Zone Out Party; If and when we’re back to living in a COVID-less world.