When you hit play on Prateek Gandhi’s new single Tum Aao Na, you will want to close your eyes and imagine yourself on the balcony of a Marine Drive apartment, in all it’s Bauhaus glory, looking out at the ocean on a warm summers eve. Sonically modelled on the 90’s atmospheric pop vibe of groups like Instant Karma with plenty of sweeps to create the energy, Tum Aao Na follows a gradual climb that drops only at around the one-and-a-half minute mark.
Gandhi, known to explore unchartered territories in music, has a clear idea of boundaries to this song - a delimited vibe with beats that implode rather than explode. Apt for the story behind the lyrics, ‘about a lover who longs to see his beloved and her absence which makes him restless for a mere glimpse of her’.
What’s interesting is, despite the Parisian ‘café’ flavour of songs found on compilations such as Buddha Bar and Ministry of Sound, Gandhi retains a certain provincial nature to this composition, meaning it is authentically Indian as opposed to Indian-passing western fusion mishmashes of the aforementioned.
Gandhi tells us that his first instinct was to look at the lyrics, written by Ritika Chawla, and begin with a simply piano riff.
“It’s this exact riff that flows from beginning to end,” Gandhi tells us, "The composition that follows was done in 15 minutes from start to end. But I wanted to break the song up clearly and bring in the beat so I picked up the words ‘Aao Na’ for that. It also happens to be the perfect junction for that change, being song’s title."
Gandhi’s semi-classical vocals in the beginning also end up making that switch to full-blown classical, which blends well with the heavy but clean 808 bass which comes in only for the drop.
“Though I’ve chosen duelling styles, I also wanted it to flow like a wave, sometimes high, sometimes low, with no regular pattern, yet always smoothly. The high notes are reminiscent of those found in Rajasthani folk singing,” He points out, “Those familiar with my signature style will notice this flow but, to be honest, it changes depending on what my throat suggests and my mind approves!” He chuckles.
Tum Aao Na features a lyric video conceptualised by Gandhi and illustrated, animated and edited by Rohan Vashishtha and Ronald Fernandes. The high-quality animation, with a character based on Gandhi, depicts the surreal and constrained world he inhabits as he pines for his love. One can literally feel his restlessness, especially in the trippy kaleidoscopic scenes showing him disappearing into a rabbit hole.
Gandhi is one of those rare musicians who possesses both a natural inclination to music (He is a phenomenally talented guitarist) and also the technicalities it comes with. His ability to visualise, innovate and execute projects of various scales, genres and languages stems from his innate inclinations towards singing and his academic specialisations in music theory and sound engineering. At the threshold of his thirties, the artist has stacked up prestigious projects that include collaborations with contemporary icons like Benny Dayal, Ankit Tiwari, Ash King, Gurinder Seagal and Shefali Alvares and a growing list of up-and-coming independent talents. He is equally invested in cultural and traditional endeavours. Here, he has worked on dedications to legendary personalities such as Ek Alag Pehchaan a tribute to the late Dr. Rahat Indori and Prem Deewani (based on Mirabai’s poem) featuring actor Manish Goplani.
Having sung and produced music in a growing list of languages including English, Hindi, Punjabi, Konkani, Oriya and Tamil, Gandhi reiterates, “It is my dream to work on at least one project in every Indian language. I think I’m slowly getting there!”