Singer-songwriter Rashmeet Kaur likes to present folk songs in a new avatar. DJ Gurbax likes to amalgamate western and eastern sounds in his music. When these two musicians, decided to collaborate on a song, we got the very interesting-sounding Oceana. In this interview, Rashmeet and Gurbax talk about the process of creating this track, the experience of collaborating with each other, the kind of music that inspires them, upcoming projects and more.
‘Oceana’ talks about self-expression and self-empowerment. How did the idea for this song come about?
Gurbax: I started working on this track last year during the lockdown. Musically, I manifested all the feelings that I was experiencing around me. The shows got cancelled and we were confined to our homes. I had planned a trip to the US which also had to be cancelled. There was a lot of uncertainty around because of the Covid-19 situation. All my emotions flowed into my music. Even before the lyrics were written, the instrumental track had this sense of sadness and pain in it. When Rashmeet heard the instrumental track, she came up with the idea of exploring the concept of heartbreak through this song. Through the song, we have tried to put across the message that that you are the only one who can get yourself out of any difficult situation in life.
Rashmeet: When I heard the instrumental track, I felt it had a certain underwater feeling. I sat with Deep to write the lyrics. We instantly came up with this word called ‘doobna’ which means ‘drowning’. We created the hook first and then, then built the rest of the song around it.
The song seems to be an amalgamation of both of your sensibilities.
Gurbas: Yes! Also, it is a departure from the kind of music each of us is known for making. Both of us have come out of our zones and met at this unique space to create this special track. I think the track sounds very different from most of the music that one has heard in the recent past. We are thankful to the listeners for showering so much love upon it.
Did you decide to call the song ‘Oceana’ because of the underwater theme?
Gurbax: Yes, that was one of the reasons. When I was halfway through working on the instrumental track, it immerses you in this underwater world. The drop in the music sounds like droplets engulfing you. I just named the instrumental ‘Oceana’ as it had that feminine feel to it. I like to personify my songs with a name. That helps in creating a story around it. It was an underwater vibe with a feminine touch to it.
Rashmeet, you have been very passionate about preserving folk music. How did you develop an interest in this genre?
Rashmeet: I have been listening to folk music ever since I was a child. I like to mix folk music with other genres. We did that with ‘Bajre Da Sitta’. I really want to preserve folk music. I want more and more people to connect to such music. I don’t want it to die. I perform to folk songs like ‘Jugni’, ‘Challa’ in my live sets too.
Gurbax, you have often stated that your music is an amalgamation of the West and the East. Can you elaborate on that?
I grew up in India and then, spent a few years studying in the US. Because of that, my musical influences have been quite varied. I heard a lot of Bollywood music as a child and a teenager. When I was in college, I got introduced to heavy metal. I always wanted to create music that would have the kind of sound that one associates with India but reimagined in a way that makes it international.
What is the kind of music one can look forward to from the two of you this year?
Gurbax: Rashmeet and I are planning to collaborate on a few more tracks. I am working on an album independently which should come out soon.
Rashmeet: I will be releasing an EP soon. I look forward to collaborating with many artists this year.