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Interview Team : Mithun; Venkat

In Part 2 of the exclusive, Imman talks about how he goes through his music process, and his insights and opinions on various musical views.

What is your style of composing music? 

I compose in my Keyboard, but in a Piano setting. Personally, my ears are inclined to the sound of Piano. And, once the tune is locked in, I make it a voice memo. After that, the complete setting - including the chords, arrangement, and even BGM - is converted to written notes. That's how I go through things.
Also, I believe in groupwork. I work together with director, lyricist, and everyone concerned together in one place, not via Skype calls. Such teamwork brings in lots of ideas, and works in our favor.


Do you consider reviews and opinions?

The problem is reviews, these days, its more about being the first, rather than being the best. The album, or any creative work for that matter, is a work of a technician, who has spent weeks, months in it. And, reviews judging it in an hour or half, according to me, can never do full justice. 
For instance, take an AR Rahman song, it may not be catchy in the first listen, but in a week, it becomes irresistible. How can an hour's review take into account all this?
However, I do take in user tweets. Those opinions are beyond stars and gimmicks - they are genuine.


Can you give us a review of one of your songs?

Rather I will give a description of what I did for one of my songs. (And, he picks Kandaangi, Jilla)
As soon as I was roped in for Jilla, all I had in my mind was that I was doing a Ilayathalapathy movie after 14 years. If Vijay anna was to sing, what genre should I give him? I took a list of all his songs, and with careful analysis, I found that he hasn't sung a proper melody yet. If I had made him sing another fast number or folk song, it would have just been one among all his songs. A melody makes a huge difference.
Melody - Check
There are two ways of going through this process: start with the tune and go through the arrangement or start with the tempo and continue to tune. I chose the latter. Because the movie was set in Madurai and to have the regional connect, the 6/8 tempo seemed ideal
6/8 Tempo - Check
The tune wasn't a studio composed one, it was more of an instant spark that struck me exactly at 6.15 AM. I composed it in a voice memo for reference.
Tune - Check
With a proper folk tune in place, the next step was to hit on the orchestration. Tabla, Nadhaswaram or Gadam would have made it a 70s - 80s song. To give it a contemporary feel, I had to add flavors. To get the tone right, I added a Chinese loop and Kahon percussion.
Flavors - Check
And, with Shreya Ghoshal's voice and Ilayathalapathy Vijay's energetic tone, the song was done.
Kandaangi - Check
That's my process. With every layer's addition, I get this uncontrollable excitement. That bliss cannot be put into words.


In this process, where do singers, the actors in particular, come in? 

So far, the actors I have used - right from Remya Nambeesan to Lakshmi Menon - haven't done any harm to the song. Our audience don't make a song a chartbuster just because it was sung by a so-and-so actor or even a so-and-so singer. 
Agreed, songs sung by actors get the initial pull - but to stand and sustain, the song needs to have content. 


And, is Vikram Singing in 10 Enradhukulla?

Frankly I don't know. See, for Kandaangi, I had taken Vijay anna's rendition in my system, and we (Vijay and I) were discussing whether to include it or not. Only by morning, I could convince anna that his rendition was excellent, and that we will be carrying his version in the final mix. Hence, until the final minute, we will not be sure which singer's version will be included. I cannot guarantee that Vikram sir's rendition will be there in the CDs. However, I do wish to work for him in 10 Enradhukulla.


What’s your opinion about songs in movies? Most songs these days serve as 5 minute interval for people to have a smoke.

Songs can be seen in the numerous TV Channels and YouTube, so people don't have the necessity to sit through it. A Switzerland duet in a Pollachi milieu isn't going to make the audience sit. Making the songs attractive is more the director's responsibility. 


We all have your melodies as stressbusters. What’s yours?

Silence. After an entire day in a studio, when ears are all polluted, I definitely need silence. 
(Just when he sounds so un-Imman, he reverts back) 
However, I cannot bear dead silence as well - AC, motors, and passing cars are necessary.


What’s your ideal night out?

I am a person who doesn't drink or smoke. Any other habit, if I had, it would have been a YouTube sensation by now. Since, there is no such viral video, obviously, I don't have any. This is to all those who believe otherwise: Cinema isn't a drugged world as perceived.


The final question. Do you think the deaf-and-dumb can enjoy music as Jyothika did in Mozhi?

There is no sound coming out of a woofer, but when you mute it, you miss something huge. Such vibrations can be felt by the deaf-mute. And, that is music to them.





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