With numerous creative accolades tucked in his belt, Sudharsan Krishnakumar talks to The Millennial Hub about his progression into the world of niche music. Mastering the art of playing the guitar, piano, synthesisers, and music production, this artist was recently nominated for the Keyboardist of the Year by The Indies 2020 awards.
1) How were you inspired to begin the instrumental rock band, Flaw & Order?
I started learning to play the guitar and piano about ten years ago, and I’ve wanted my own band since then. Around 2016, I started making demo tracks and uploading them on SoundCloud, and I spent quite a while looking for like-minded musicians. I had no luck for over a year, but then I ended up meeting my bandmates entirely through happenstance when I wasn’t looking- at a football turf, at an NH7 concert, and through Facebook. They connected with my demos and we decided to take it to a jam room to write fresh music, and Flaw & Order was born. The journey has been great, my bandmates have become very close friends, we spent a long time writing our music and it eventually paid off. We’ve played multiple sold-out shows to crowds of 400+ people, shared the stage with some great Indian and international acts like aswekeepsearching, The Ocean, and Hubris, and on the side, we released our debut record which came out in May 2019. I’ve enjoyed every minute on stage and the process of writing, putting together, and releasing a record was incredibly rewarding, and a great learning experience for me.
2) You play the guitar, piano, synthesisers, and you’re the producer of the band. How does it feel to be a jack of all trades?
I’ve always been fascinated with the technical side of making music – audio engineering. I ended up doing a diploma in audio engineering while Flaw & Order was writing music, and it just made sense for me to take on the role of the producer and engineer for the band, in addition to playing the instruments. I was working as the chief engineer at Raghu Dixit Studios while Flaw & Order’s album was being produced, and I essentially had access to a great studio to record and engineer the music myself. I absolutely loved it, because I enjoy the production and all the aspects of engineering from recording to mixing just as much as I love making music and playing the guitar or piano. This field has always been my dream because the work allows me to be technical and creative at the same time, and I’ve managed to make a career out of it.
3) Your debut record Evaporated People released last year and was received well by the audience. It even won you the nomination for the ‘Keyboardist of the Year’ by The Indies 2020 awards. How does it feel?
Evaporated People was a record that we wrote for ourselves, to be honest. Our music is definitely far from mainstream, but it has found a few fans who love it and listen to it regularly and turn up to all our shows. That’s the best feeling for any artist when people you don’t know connect to your music in ways you couldn’t expect! I also did not expect the nomination for ‘Keyboardist of the Year’, where I’ve been listed alongside some of the largest Indian independent bands such as Blackstratblues and Thaikkudam Bridge. It feels great that we are getting some recognition, even though the music is a unique niche.
4) How has it been overcoming challenges for you as a musician within the industry, especially during the pandemic?
The music industry has been hit quite badly in the pandemic, particularly the performance aspect. Musicians who play shows for a living are having a tough time right now, understandably. I make a living as a freelance audio engineer and producer, where I work on tracks for other artists. I’m currently mixing an album for a client, and just finished another. I’m also working on a few miscellaneous singles for independent artists. So the pandemic hasn’t hit me quite as hard, as my work hasn’t stopped. I have used my free time to work on my own debut solo record, titled Beyond The Horizon under the moniker Sudo, which was released on September 5 this year. I’ve played all the instruments and did all the production/engineering myself with this record. Again, quite a niche music, but the response has been great and I’ve finally set myself up as an independent solo artist.
5) What’s next in store, with respect to your work?
I intend to continue writing solo records under Sudo, and I’m hoping to release another record sometime in early or mid-2021. I really enjoy making this music and I feel it sits in a unique category, as it is a piano-driven project with neoclassical string arrangements, ambient elements, and electronic grooves, and I want to explore and grow that sound as much as I can. Flaw & Order is currently on a hiatus, as the pandemic has kept us apart, and writing music is something that happens very organically in a jam room for us. Hopefully, we can get back to performing and release another record sometime in the future.