Debut music composer of the web series, Aseem Trivedi, talks about working with Piyush Mishra to bring his background in Hindustani music to a thriller
For his first big scale production, Aseem Trivedi is in great company. The 24-year-old musician and singer from Mumbai has gone from releasing independent singles and providing backing vocals in the Hindi film industry to composing music on his maiden TV series, JL50, streaming on Sony LIV.
The sci-fi series, revolving around the crash-landing of a plane that had been missing since 35 years, stars big names such as Abhay Deol, Pankaj Kapur and Piyush Mishra. As the music composer of JL50, Aseem has composed four songs: ‘Gharonda’, ‘Main Hi Hoon’, ‘Now I’m Here’ and ‘Jugnu (Jungle ki Raat)’.
The last one has been co-composed, along with Piyush Mishra, who wrote the song. And Aseem is starstruck to have worked with the multi-hyphenate talent behind the music in Gulaal and Gangs of Wasseypur. It was a surreal moment for Aseem to share the recording studio with Mishra: “Until just two days before that, I had only seen him on my phone,” he laughs.
“As soon as I read the lyrics to ‘Jungle ki Raat’, I knew what I had to do with the track. It’s an intense one, and has some of the best lyrics,” says Aseem over a phone call from his Kanpur home, where he has temporarily moved back to.
He is quick to add that Piyush was a pleasure to work with. “Someone of his stature could have easily overridden me. But he would never interrupt me if I had an idea in mind, he would let me tell him what I thought the treatment of this section of song should be like. There was no arrogance, it was like working with a friend,” he says.
It was a step up, learning to compose music for songs, admits Aseem. “I had to be careful about what’s going on in the story. We were in conversation with the director (Shailender Vyas) every day. If they were changing the scene’s visual treatment, we had to change the track as well,” he says.
His ‘Now I’m Here’ resounds in one of the web series’ pivotal scenes, “so I had to be particularly careful about the tempo it demanded,” he says the track has a late 1980s-early 1990s vibe to it, which is why, he adds, “We got Siddharth Basrur on board, for his trademark grunge.” Frontman of Mumbai progressive metal band Goddess Gagged, Siddharth has also given voice to movies such as David.
The rock scene, however, was far from Aseem’s childhood. Having grown up in Kanpur, Aseem has had a background in Hindustani Classical music. His previous release, ‘Rooh’, is testament to that, and in keeping with that style, ‘Jugnu’ too starts and ends with an electric sitar riff. “In another song, we had the Rageshree raga incorporated into sarangi,” he says.
“It was not until I arrived in Mumbai, at 18, for college, that I began experimenting with new genres of music and learning Western music theory,” he says. It was here that he joined a six-member acapella group, Instrumen. “We are actually working on harmonising Ritviz’ ‘Udd Gaye’ with a Billie Eilish song.”