Great Moments can Happen Anytime: In Conversation with Music Composer Sidhant Mathur

Sidhant Mathur is an Indian film music composer, who has also worked with popular independent music albums and productions (Shilpa Rao, Parikrama, Indian Ocean, Mrigya, Faridkot to name a few) as a Producer and Engineer from Quarter Note Studios, New Delhi which he co-founded in 2006. His notable work as a music composer includes feature films like Children of War (2014), Budhia Singh: Born to Run (2016), short films like Paroksh & Bete. Most recently he has been appreciated for his work in the popular Netflix series, Jamtara – Sabka Number Aayega” Seasons 1 & 2.

We recently caught up with Sidhant and had a chat on his journey so far. Here’s an excerpt from the same-

How has the journey into music composition & production been so far?

It has been nothing less than wondrous and exciting. There is so much music around to explore and learn from that, it’s overwhelming.

You’ve formally learnt audio engineering, so any specific reason behind choosing to produce & compose music rather than getting into audiography/sound designing, which is also a field that’s being looked upto now?

For me, the journey into sound started with music. Being a self taught musician, studying audio engineering opened up a whole new world of music production. Having said that, I have designed sound for some short films and theatre and it is also a lot of fun. But, composing music is where my heart is.

How did you get your first major break in the industry? Can you please share that experience?

The first full length feature film I signed was Mrityunjay Devvrat’s ‘Children of War – Nine Months to freedom’, which was released in 2014. It was based on the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War. It was a very intense subject and I could explore a lot of emotions musically including geographical elements and references. I believe every project brings its own learnings. Going through the whole technical and creative process of creating music for a feature film for the big screen is a mammoth task and achieving it flawlessly with all of your heart is the goal.

What have been the learnings from all the experience of working with noted bands & artists like Parikrama, Indian Ocean, Shilpa Rao etc.?

My biggest learning is that great moments can happen anytime and one must be ready to capture them in the best possible way. Every artist brings their own energy and style to the music. As a music producer, working with professional artists from different genres keeps me on my toes and in good form :).

How do you manage to dabble between multiple areas like films, series, theatre, independent music etc.? What do you find the most challenging of all?

Music connects all of these areas and I am equally fond of producing independent music as I am of scoring for films. The formats and genres may be different but the essence of all music is the same. However, focussing on one project at a time helps getting into the finer details.

What is more satisfying for you, composing songs or the BGM? Why? Could you elaborate a bit?

For me they are both the same and I enjoy doing both equally. They might be different forms of expressions and require different skills and tools but it’s about the narrative and the communication. Scoring background music is in context to the film and songs can often break away from that.

You’ve been around the film business for a while now. When do you see the transition from indie films to mainstream happening? Any process that you are following?

I like going with the flow and so far I have no reason to doubt it. I believe opportunities are infinite and you get whatever you are ready for. I’m grateful for all the projects that I’ve been a part of and hope that I can continue working with the greats of our time.

Is there any particular method that you follow to prepare for a project, be it a Jamtara or a Children of War?

There is a lot of research and work that goes into creating music for a film. Months of composing, arranging, finding the right musicians and technicians, studios, management etc. My method has been evolving ever since my first project but usually it includes thoroughly understanding the theme and characters and how those characters can be represented through different instruments and binding them into a musical journey.

How has the experience of working on Jamtara been? Any interesting anecdotes to share?

Working on Jamtara has been a great experience. It was a pleasure to work with director Soumendra Padhi and the rest of the crew. We had a great time brainstorming over almost every scene. He has a great sense of music and knows exactly what he needs.

What would your advice be for those who are wanting to take up a career in music?

I say go for it. There are many mainstream avenues in music now and looking at how much content is being created and consumed, it’s a great time to be in this profession. Especially with the technology at hand, one only needs great ideas.

Please tell us about your forthcoming projects.

I have been working on an interesting war documentary feature, among some short films. I’m hopeful of a mainstream movie in the pipeline soon.

Here’s wishing Sidhant all the very best for his forthcoming projects.

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