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Surjo Bhattacharjee- My Guitar, My Lover
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Surjo Bhattacharjee- My Guitar, My Lover


Humble Beginnings

Surjo Bhattcharjee does not represent any band. He hasn’t made the headlines…yet. Rolling Stones lost its chance to chat him up and have his face shot in fancy angles for its covers because GingerChai pushed its way through first. Ha! At this point, we owe Pranjal Srivastava a Thank you for recommending Surjo.

Surjo is from Jamshedpur and has been playing the guitar for the last 13 years; performing at various Indian cities. Many may have seen him play covers for the notable bands like MOTHERJANE, Raghu Dixit Project and such.

Despite his somewhat low profile, he has built quite a remarkable fan base online. He has his own Youtube Channel, where he reproduces some well known tracks and a few of his own compositions. Surjo was once associated with the band Soul Alchemy and his FaceBook Page holds over 800 fans!

Currently he plays with RockBaaj, a Kolkata based band that largely plays popular, mainstream songs. Why would an Indie Artist be pulled into the mainstream culture? He has some valid reasons, not here though.

According to the various bios I poked my nose through while writing this, revealed Surjo to be a “reluctant vocalist” but an avid guitarist. His guitar skills have been well showcased in his videos. For his vocals, I haven’t heard much, we’ll decide when he makes his debut sometime this year or early 2011.

But before we get to his upcoming EP, we figured we’d ask the budding musician to tell us what we should know about him and what we should expect of him. We always give people a chance to promote themselves as we at GC do not believe in staying low profile!

Having cleared the air, this is what Surjo had to say…

Who is Surjo?

Difficult to say really, I keep on making new discoveries about myself. But I’ll try to keep it only to music. I’m first and foremost a fan of all the great music that has been made over the years. My own music is almost secondary in a way, since whatever comes out of me, will have some relation to all that I have heard over the years.

I love to play the guitar, it is the source of great joy and it’s the greatest leveler for me. There is something very supernatural about the guitar for me. People have moods, and are ever-changing.  What they like one day, they might not the next. But a guitar has no such hang-ups. You play the same notes and it gives back the same to you, unflinchingly every single day, like a best friend. Music is like life, blood for me. In school when they would ask for hobbies, I was sorely tempted to say academics, since music is not something that I ever thought was a passing phase for me.

What inspired you to make music?

It seems to me that music is the language that I communicate the best with, so it’s a natural progression that when I need to speak out for something that I believe in, it will invariably come out in the form of lyrics and melodies. Different moods seem to pour out through either words or music. It just seems natural to me. I mean I often think that making music must come naturally to everybody, since it comes naturally to me. It’s about listening to what is inside of you, and then playing it.

Major influences in your music.

Everything that I have ever heard is an influence in my music, from old Bengali songs to Bollywood numbers that I have heard (nothing of late, I’m afraid), to old school rock, blues and metal and pop. Everything has an effect, whether it is a positive or negative effect remains a matter of choice. I could listen to something that might come out in a certain way in my compositions, and that’s a positive effect. I might listen to something and know subconsciously that it won’t figure into my music, and that’s a negative effect.

What genre do you think your compositions belong to?

That’s really for the listener to decide. I love blues, rock and funk above all else, maybe somewhere in there I guess.

What can you say about the instrument you play?

It is my interpreter, my girlfriend in a lot of ways. It plays whatever songs I want it to play without complaints. One of the things about a guitar is that it is a very sexy instrument; the names of the various parts of the guitar are like waist, neck, ribs and so on. And no guy has curves like that.

Jokes aside, the guitar has the innate ability to calm me down. Irrespective of whether I am in hyper joy or sadness, the guitar just gives me a peace of mind. The instrument is always bigger than the people playing it. That’s how I feel about me and my guitars anyway. I just got a new Gibson Melody Maker, to add to my Fender Stratocaster and Comet Telecaster. So I am about as happy as a guy could be, especially sincethe Gibson was won in a contest and therefore did not burn a hole in my non-existent pocket.

When is your debut album releasing?

The date isn’t fixed as of yet. There are tons of ideas waiting to be recorded.

What is/will it be about?

The biggest dilemma for me is to decide whether it is going to be an instrumental album or vocal album. For all I know I might come up with something midway. The album is going to capture my state as a person and musician at this present moment. All of us face issues in our lives, I’m no different, and I would like to explore that territory, and hopefully the listener shall find it relevant and can relate it to their own lives.

What should we be looking forward to?

Melody, lyrics, and tons of guitars!

You have played covers for bands like MOTHERJANE, The Raghu Dixit Project, etc. Best Experience?

Opening for huge bands like this is great because you get to see people who have actually made it in the profession of your choice go about it, and it is a massive learning experience. Most memorable experience, there are 2 actually. After both gigs, both Raghu Dixit and the member of MOTHERJANE were so nice in their behavior and generous in their praise that it is just a huge confidence boost to someone like me. When Baiju Dharmajan, the lead guitar player for MOTHERJANE, gave me a hug before and after my show, it was definitely one of the most standout moments of my performing career so far.

To be received with affection by one of your idols is always a great moment.

Who writes your songs? What kinda themes do you tackle in your lyrics?

I’m the one writing the melodies and the lyrics. The themes come from my everyday life, from what I see around me. Whether it is about me, my friends or something more global; I have always felt that my lyrics should be simple. In terms of language and content, so people can try and get the message, and hopefully mould it and interpret it the way of their choice.

Ultimate aim?

I want to be involved in music through my life; nothing is more joyful to me. Whether it is as a performing artist, recording artist, studio musician, producer or whatever else, music fuels my everyday existence, and I can ask for nothing more than to be a part of it for as long as I am here.

Thank You for tuning In!

Author’s Note: If you have been diagnosed with the following, it’s recommended you contact me and I will get back to you with the remedy!

  • You have a favorite musician that you want featured in Indie Rhythms
  • You know a budding artist and he needs a platform to spread the word
  • You came across an album that swept you off your feet or made you crash into a wall even
  • You witnessed this amazing live performance of an Indie band and you wanna share the experience with us (OK for this one you cannot directly contact me.)
  • You think I need to do a better job
  • You simply wanna say “Hi Usha, the series rocks”. (Although this can very well be done at the comment’s section)

Now all of the above would gladly put a smile on my face and perhaps a gift in your mailbox. ;-)

Thanks again  for Tuning in!

0 23 December, 2010 Chai Time, Music December 23, 2010

About the author

Born in Singapore and currently pursuing Medicine in China, Usha Amudhan has to her credit Indie Rhythms series in GingerChai. She also dabbles with various other genres of writing. Follow @ushaonthego

View all articles by Usha Amudan

5 comments

  1. Pranjal

    who is surjo? you should have ask this question to me. but then as pretty women are interested in asking questions only to, I’ll answer the question without being asked.
    Surjo is a kickass musician whom we had playing for us on our common room rooftop without. who used to play, practice loudly with his guitar (and the other big huge speaker stuffs which i have little knowledge of) and we used to enjoy the free of cost rock show in our rooms :)
    one more thing which this hasn’t mentioned in the interview- he left his job offer with infosys, to pursue his passion of music.
    Hat’s off to surjo- the friend and the musician :)

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