Here is another story where passion trumps everything else. Ever since Saurabh Seth got his hands on an acoustic “Givson” guitar his father got him, he knew that “twas love at first note”. He adored it so much that he would miss his college classes and spend 8 to 12 hours playing the guitar sitting in his hostel room, within a month he was on stage playing his first show. That soon paved way for Lucid Reality—his first band (2008). And about a year later Arcane Deception was born.
Arcane’s tone was influenced heavily by bands like Iron Maiden, Metallica, Megadeth, Dream Theater, Children of Bodom, Opeth and a few other Scandinavian death metal bands. That was the point when Arcane really discovered its tone and Rock Street Journal defined them as a Symphonic Melodic Metal band. They were winning competitions all over the country and suddenly there was a lot of noise about them in the Metal music scene. In 2011, they launched their eponymous album and the fact that it was really well received was a moment of pure joy for the band members and their families.
Seth is currently working on a new album and plans to launch it by the end of the year—it would have about 6 to 7 songs all primarily instrumental musical pieces that describe emotions/experiences that people go through as a part of life from birth to death, he tells us. He might be a speck in the sea of creative people, but he is happy and content with where he is as a musician and a human being.
We catch with Seth, who tells us more about his passion for his six-stringed counterpart, producing and writing music, his new project, and his love for them eyeglasses. We find out more in this segment of the #shadesofsoundseries.
When and how did you dabble in music and then discovered the guitar, perhaps?
As long as I can remember, music has always fascinated me. The idea of lyrics and melody coming together and making you feel a certain way was something out of the world. I remember music always playing in the background whenever possible—be it during exams, or while I was travelling with family, or just sitting at home and doing nothing, the house radio or my Sony Walkman was always on play. I remember the time when I had my sixth standard math exam and I was solving some geometry problem with some Kishore Kumar song playing on the radio. Mom and Dad never really understood it, since my grades were always high, they never really had an issue with it. The music that I listened to then was influenced by the songs that mostly played on the radio, these were tunes primarily from Bollywood films both classic and contemporary. Other than that, I had a few cassettes from my uncle’s collection that had Pink Floyd and Kenny G songs on it. In school, I would see a lot of kids playing the guitar and I always thought how cool it would be able to play it myself. I don’t remember now if it was the lack of seriousness or lack of options that made me not buy the guitar till I was in college, but I do wish I had started earlier.
Once in college (2005), I knew that I definitely had to buy a guitar and at least explore the possibilities, and so I did. My first guitar was a “Givson” (not Gibson) acoustic that cost my father 2,600 and honestly at that time I did think that was a lot of money. From that day, there was no stopping. I would miss my college classes and spend 8 to 12 hours playing the guitar sitting in my hostel room and within a month I was on stage playing my first show. In the second year of college, I got exposed to a lot of Western music that my friends used to listen to, bands like Linkin Park, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Metallica, Megadeth, and more.
This music (later I found out was rock) just attracted me to a point where in 10 months I asked my father to buy me an electric guitar. The 8 to 12-hour practice routine is something I never broke at least in my four years of engineering. The fact that I was getting better at the instrument, becoming a better musician and the fear of a bad stage performance was my driving force. I just wanted to be the best. The college band soon happened in 2008 and was called Lucid Reality and we started competing at Rock competitions being held at college festivals but we never really won any. In 2009, I started a new band (with a few members of Lucid Reality) called Arcane Deception. Arcane’s tone was influenced heavily by bands like Iron Maiden, Metallica, Megadeth, Dream Theater, Children of Bodom, Opeth and a few other Scandinavian death metal bands. That was the point when Arcane really discovered its tone and Rock Street Journal defined us as a “Symphonic Melodic Metal” band. We were winning competitions all over the country and suddenly there was a lot of noise about us in the Metal music scene. In 2011 we launched our eponymous album and the fact that it was really well received was a moment of pure joy for all of us (the band members and our families).
What were some of your early influences like, and how have they grown over time?
Like I said, I started listening to a lot of old-school Bollywood music like Kishore Kumar, Mohammed Rafi which later evolved to listening to bands like Linkin Park, Nirvana, Metallica, Megadeth and much later evolved to the heavier stuff—bands like Dream Theater, Children Of Bodom, Opeth, Cradle of Filth. Today, I listen to more of Progressive music—bands like Porcupine Tree and Karnivool along with a lot of independent instrumental solo musicians like Nick Johnston, Plini, David Maxim, Jakub Zytecki, and more.
You seem to be connected to the hip with metal music. What is the significance of this genre in your life?
Well, that’s not really the case. I listen to almost everything that I can get my hands on but yes, metal music has been a major influence in my playing probably because, in my early guitar years, metal music is what I was exposed to. I remember being really fascinated by the blistering guitar solos that came with the 80s and 90s metal music. The energy, the encore, the synchronised head banging and a guitarist shredding to a heavy metal riff playing in the background was for me always a moment of raw energy and pure insanity (in a good way, of course). It was always about the technicality and the difficulty of a guitar solo that kept me on my toes, practising for hours to get it right.
While we are on the topic of metal, let’s say you get to plan a heavy metal festival in Bangalore in a month, what bands would you put on the bill, and why?
(Laughs). I really wish I can do that someday. Dream Theater has played a major role in shaping the musician that I am today. So definitely Dream Theater would be the headlining act. Along with that, getting to witness Metallica and Megadeth play on the same stage would definitely be something that I would want.
Where are you in your life, as far as creativity is concerned?
I get this question a lot and my response is always the same—it comes and goes. There are good days and bad days. It all depends what is happening in my life outside of the music spectrum since that is what somehow translates into a song or a musical piece for me. For the last few months, the goal for me is to build on experiences and these experiences will eventually fuel the creativity. I do plan to launch an instrumental album by the end of this year. So yeah, keeping my fingers-crossed.
Any new song/piece that you’re currently working on?
There are always a ton of ideas that I keep working on. Some of these ideas eventually come together and that translates into a song. Like I said earlier, I am planning to launch an album by the end of the year—it would have about 6 to 7 songs all primarily instrumental musical pieces that describe emotions/experiences that we all go through as a part of life from birth to death.
What do sunglasses/eyeglasses mean to you?
It’s all about the style. Being on stage is a performance, it’s not just about the music. It’s about the overall experience—the visuals, the lighting and how you look and what you represent. So yes, it’s all about the perception that you are able to build as an artist or as an individual with the people you interact with (both on and off stage). I think. Sunglasses or eyeglasses do just that, apart from the obvious use case of helping you see things better. (laughs)
Buy Gordon in Black Frost.