The Sage Gateshead Interviews: Shri
What was the first record you bought?
Mahavishnu Orchestra, Inner mounting Flame. I remember going to this lovely record store in Bombay with my father, being attracted to the name of the band and giving it a listen in the listening booth. Mind was blown instantly and also was my musical direction – which was very rock at that time, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple etc. The biggest connection was the fact that the music had a strange Indian-esque sound to it and then completely something else. Wonderful memory…
Where in the world would you like to play that you have not already?
Japan!!! I have no idea why I have not been there yet. Even in my drum & bass days as Badmarsh&Shri, I would have imagined that to be one of our tour stops .. but it never transpired. I think it would be a great place for my current music too – and also I can finally walk across the pedestrian crossing at Shibuya and see what the big deal is.
Who was the first band/artist you ever saw perform live?
Coming from a family that was very keen on music, there were quite a few different possible first gigs I might have seen, mainly Indian classical ones. The first gig that had a huge impact on me was an Indian jazz group with a bass player called Karl Peters. He stood in the front of one of the best venues in Bombay and played a super groovy bass line that kept the whole opening piece together. I think this explained what the role of bass really was. Karl became my hero of sorts and I aspired to be like him for a while. We are still good friends and I spoke to him just a few days ago.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Does it really exist….???? Closest to it may be – A fabulous trek in the Himalayas or a swim on a warm beach, followed by some good food and wine with great company. Of course, music accompanies all of this, whether in the mind or on speakers.
Who are your favourite writers?
PG Wodehouse – he makes me cry with laughter! Yes, some of what he wrote is not very PC in this day, but he is funny! MAD magazine – the old ones from the USA. Arthur C Clarke and his book Rendezvous With Rama. Isaac Asimov and his Foundation series. John Grisham, William Dalrymple and his book In Xanadu. …
Who are your favourite painters?
Dali, Klimt, Evgeny Lushpin. I have checked out a lot of various painters, from Rembrandt to Picasso, but do not keep track of which is which – thus the slightly uneducated sounding answer :-). I really enjoy enjoying good art.
If you could collaborate with any other artists, living or dead, who would you choose?
Bill Frisell, Don Cherry and Jon Christensen!! Imagine the band – I can hear the sound and it is fabulous!! This is amongst many many others of course – but these were the first 3 names to come to my mind. Bill Frisell is really number one amongst these three, for me. His playing is the ultimate combination of simplicity, beauty, energy and drive! Also he seems like a fabulous human being, having met him twice.
What are you listening to at the moment?
At the moment I am in Bombay, on holiday, listening to the sea everyday on my local beach. Great sound that inspires so very much. Otherwise, I have been checking out grime and drill including Stormzy and Krept & Konan. Was also revisiting Goldie’s Timeless, Mahler and Messiaen. South Indian classical singer TM Krishna. All this apart from myself who I had to listen to, to complete the album!
Where’s your favourite place to go on holiday?
Goa in India. It is a great combination of super chilled, beach, sun and one of my best friends who lives there. Every time I go I feel like I have, once again, underestimated how nice the place is. Of course, I go off-season and that has a charm of it’s own.
Best advice you can give to emerging talent?
Cannot stress this enough – FIND YOUR OWN EXPRESSION!! At least look for it.
be nice to people you meet on your way up, because you will meet them all on your way down.
Shri plays Sage Gateshead on 21 March with Bugge Wesseltoft, Ben Castle & Asaf Sirkis.