Namaste! I hope our valued visitors around the globe are doing well. I would say Kathmandu is also doing good amidst haywire traffic, day light murders, poor water supply……. And we are very much entertained by the dramas performed by our political jokers everyday. The infamous load shedding is spreading its wings, growing up to 11 hrs per day and more. In spite of the countless problems we have, we can see our musicians and artists working hard as ever keeping their passion alive, looking at the brighter side of life. Among many of such artists, today we have amazingly talented musician Sanzip Rai in our interview segment. He has been in the industry for quite a few years and has worked with popular artists like Dibya Subba, Naren Limbu, Jeewan Gurung (The Edge) and the list goes on. Some of his recent music arrangements of the songs Prayaas, Nachahe Ko, Yo Dil Mero by Jeewan Gurung (The Edge) can be found in YouTube. He was always appreciated as a musician but little did everyone know about his film making skills. Sanzip has recently come up with a video titled ‘Eka Desh Ko Katha’ by upcoming singer Shubu Thapa, directed and edited by himself, which proves he is not just a musician! Below are the excerpts of the conversation that I had with Sanzip few days back!
Hi Sanzip! how you doing?
Hi! I’m fine, thank you.
What are you working on lately?
Yes, lately I’ve been occupied with Shubu Thapa’s upcoming album. I’m like awake all nights working and asleep during day, practically living (eating, sleeping) here in the studio due to this unpleasant load shedding schedule phew! They turned me into vampire [Laughs]
I was very much impressed by one of your recent projects i.e Jeewan Gurung’s (The Edge) upcoming album. Guitar and keyboard sounds amazing, how did you come up with that sound?
Thank you. I basically went with the flow which I always do. But if I have to say honestly, I would say “freedom and time”. Most of the keys were from Roland Fantom X. I happen to be a great fan of classic piano and have used lot of them. As for the guitar it’s all Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer, MXR Phase 90, TC Electronic Chorus+Pitch Modulator & Flanger, Dunlop Uni-Vibe, Boss DD-3 Digital Delay, Laney Amp and Guitar Rig Software.
I also wanted to know about your way of song mixing! What is it that you care about most while working on mixing of the songs?
I do not have any particular way to explain this but I do care a lot about the soul/theme of the song and try mixing accordingly. All I have to say is it’s all in the Compressing, EQings, Panning, and FXs at the right level. Clarity is very important.
How did you start as a musician? What was the first instrument that you learnt to play?
I started to play guitar when I was 14. It was with my sister I had lot of inspirations attached. Those days, playing Guns & Roses & Nirvana was basically what I started with.
Tell us about your ‘Phoenix Studio’!
Well honestly it’s a studio where most of people record and run away with the master copy without paying. [Laughs]
Phoenix studio is an ultimate home for musician and singers where you record and have all extra facilities around. For more information you can go to phoenixstudios.com.np.
Any formal education about sound and music?
Hmmm…none actually and it’s embarrassing! (Laughing) but I do most of the learning by myself researching a lot through books, DVDs and of course the internet!
As you have been working as sound engineer and music arranger for the studio, tell us about how the music arrangement process!
As said earlier, I basically go with the flow, I usually try to figure out what the song is all about, I mean, the lyrics and stuffs. After a while, I first come up with the beat n then maybe some bass, keys and then guitars later…
Do you at any point feel that music arrangers don’t get the credit that they deserve, as people only notice the singer!
Well, yeah in a way but I guess that’s how it works everywhere in the world and I’m happy this way…
You have worked with many popular artists; tell us about the project that you enjoyed doing the most!
To be honest, I’ve enjoyed with each and every single artist, I mean you get to work with different kind of music and style. What can I say; I’ve got the best job in the world.
Musicians that you look up to ....is there any artist that you are very much influenced by? I actually wanted to know if your guitar sound is influenced by anyone!!
Many of them back then when I started to play; it’s not like that anymore. I’m just into classic tones n stuffs now….
Your favorite guitarist/s…..
Nuno Bettencort back then but none these days and its funny hahah…if you watch them play, they make you feel like shit……. I suck I know! [Laughs]
What are the guitars that you use in your studio?
Fender acoustic and Squire Custom II Tele (not so good guitar actually). But I have this amazing Gibson P90 pickups on it and it sounds great.
The guitar that you dream of!
Parker Fly Deluxe for now but there’s 100’s of them on the list…
You have directed video of upcoming talented singer Shubu Thapa and the video is getting wonderful comments. Tell us about it!
Uuhhh… really worked hard for it especially when u have to do everything by yourself, the lights, camera, directing, art directing, editing including the crew carrying amps, drums, lights what not! But had really fun making it. All in all, I’m happy. The hard work paid off. Thank you all for your support.
I wanted to know the technical aspects of the video!
Well, it was shot with Canon XL 1s, it’s a very good camera except that it’s SD. All the footages were shot in 25 fps 16.9. The lens is pretty much ok. But I’ll be using HD 24 fps for my next project. I’m trying to get one soon. I wish I could have “RED ONE” camera. But it’s way out of my budget. About the editing & stuffs, I used final cut pro which is pretty good Mac software. I must say, thanks to my i-mac 24” for helping me get the right colors. Above all, I had to focus on color corrections the most.
Along with music you have started directing music videos recently! Is it that you are not happy with the video directors around and wanted to do it yourself!
Well, not actually. Film making has always been my passion but due to budget constraints & time management, Ihave not been able to focus on it. I wish to enjoy the freedom while making one!
Your contemporary music arrangers that you like in our industry!
Many of them but to name some, Manoj K.C. Hari Maharjan and Bizu Karmacharya and I know there are lot of them out there…
Thanks Sanzip for your time! Fursad shall be in touch!