Recently , an Interview that Cosmic Jaam conducted with Mooshika Music's producer Kail Maheswaran has been published on their site at : http://cosmicjaam.com/drupal-7/content/indie-heat-interview-kail-mooshika-mooshika-music . This interview was held late last year , but has just now been published to their updated site . Cosmic Jaam is an artist based - social networking site dedicated to promoting indie alternative rock music and the visual arts, including photography, videos, film, anime, video game development, fiction and poetry. The interview article proceeds as the following :
Lonnie McAfee (Lonzo) interviewed Kail Maheswaran for CosmicJAAM.com in 2011. Lonzo is an Associate Editor, reviewer and music critic for CosmicJAAM.com. To comment on this interview go to Lonnie's blog at http://cosmicjaam.com/wp/lonnie/
Kail Maheswaran is the producer and band front man for the indie label Mooshika Music. He is based out of Miami, Florida.
CosmicJAAM: Tell us briefly about
your own background and some of your earliest introductions to music.
Influences? Favorite venues? Getting cops called on you?
Kail: I was born the middle child of three kids
in the Bronx, New York, to a Sri Lankan father and Puerto Rican mother.
Neither of my parents were musicians, but they had a great appreciation
for a variety of musical styles and there always seemed to be music
happening in the house. A lot of 70’s American funk music , but also
classic American, Cuban, Puerto Rican and Dominican dance music from the
50’s , 60’s and 70’s , as well as Indian and Sri Lankan dance and
devotional music, was played around the house. Some of my earliest
memories have to do with feeling and experiencing all this wonderful
music, jumping around to it and having all these images and imaginative
play going around in my head.
When I think back to it, I always felt deeply involved and
emotionally moved by the music I was listening to, even when I was three
or four years old. This love of music continued to grow and develop
over the years.
My family moved down to Miami, Florida, and I spent most of my
formative and adult years here in Miami. As time went on, I decided that
I wanted and I needed to create and perform my own music. So, I spent a
great majority of my teenage years listening, practicing and playing
music with my brother and our musically inclined friends. Over the years
I have played in many different bands and in many different roles too. I
taught myself many instruments, but had formal education in jazz
harmony and composition.
As I mentioned before, my influences started coming in early in
my childhood listening to the various music my parents and family
listened to, but as I grew older and especially when I started writing
and performing my own music, I wanted to be original, or at least
original in my approach, to a given style. I saw what was popular
style-wise or popular technique-wise with my peers and I was influenced
to do the opposite. I consciously didn’t want to jump on any bandwagons ,
I wanted to be my own thing , an individual, despite it being
successful or not .
CJ: What role do you
feel the democratization of the music production process plays in
today’s climate of social upheaval and public outrage? Does it have a
Kail: It does have a place. I feel everyone
wants their voice heard, their efforts realized and appreciated to some
degree or the other. When it comes to the production of music it can get
tricky, especially when dealing with passionate and opinionated band
members. Each artist has their individual vision of how a particular
song or specific part should be handled. But, at some point, all these
individual ideas and energies need to be focused into one unified
expression. I’ve been the producer of most of my group’s music and have
found that by establishing an open communication with and between group
members, and taking other's valid suggestions and opinions into
consideration when developing the final product, builds trust
and enthusiasm from them that they are truly an invaluable part of the
artwork. One gets the best energy, vibe and performance from the others
when they feel mutually appreciated and respected for what they bring to
the table, and that carries over into the music.
CJ: What are your experiences with speeches or protest songs in speech-restricted regions?
Kail: I have had past experience with performing
styles of music in areas where the music itself was met with hostility.
A group I played with in the past was hired to perform a few sets at
this particular club that apparently had a very bigoted, ignorant owner,
or perhaps he was the manager. Our group at the time was multicultural
as well as multi-genre, we started into our Rap , Hip Hop set songs and
the owner leaped at us, cursing us out, looking like he was about to
have a heart attack over the style of music we were playing . We were in
disbelief over the reaction and the racial slurs, etc. It was almost
comical how he was carrying on, I think we made him even more angry as
we laughed in his face while he was paying us the full amount he was
obliged to despite the half-a-gig performance.
CJ: How relevant does music
remain in shaping the worldview of today’s perpetually distracted youth?
Does the message get them out in the streets or just to click “Like”
on Facebook? Or is it the same?
Kail: Music is still very relevant in terms of
how it shapes the views of today’s youth. The problem is that the
majority of music, especially popular music, is vapid, and intentionally
distracting the youth from what really matters or from what’s really
going on around them. It’s not music for art sake or for a means of
personal expression for uplifting or creating change or awareness in
others, but music solely as an advertisement of a product to go out and
buy several other products. Unfortunately, this has been happening from
the beginning of the music business, certainly from the times of selling
music based products. It’s a shame because music in its essence is
sacred, powerfully healing and should be respected.
CJ: Where and how do you spend the most time writing songs? How do you keep track of your ideas?
Kail: Recently ,I’ve been writing my songs in
isolation, immersing my self in a mood, a feeling, a concept, and then
fleshing it out on my own. On my soon to be released new album titled Wish Tree,
I spent most of the writing sessions alone with my guitar and thoughts.
The songs on this upcoming album are very personal and more
introspective than my other works. I would meditate on what a particular
idea means to me, or how I felt about a particular thing, and let the
muse take me on a personal journey to where the song needed to go.
On other albums, songs grew out of group improvisations and then
we’d go back and “trim the fat”, so to speak , and rework and rearrange
songs into shape and form. So this upcoming album is more of an
I usually record my ideas an a little recorder, sometimes I’ll
write out the music on paper , but later on looking at the paper doesn’t
convey the little things like maybe the way I sang the melody or how I
stressed the rhythm in a particular way, etc. So that is why I like it
better to capture the ideas on a recording.
CJ: You’d mentioned the cultural origins of your act’s moniker-- The Rat,
eh? I can certainly identify with that. How do you personally feel
about being the rat? Or is it more about having the rat at your
disposal, should you need it?
Kail: To me, the concept of the rat, my
association with it, is that of it’s symbolic nature in relation to the
God concept in Hinduism. It is the vehicle, the medium of the spirit
(God), the muse. It represents the various desires, energies and
passions of mankind which are all controlled and harnessed by the rider
into an expression of the sublime, the fuel to attain higher states of
being, realization, and understanding, which through the process,
transforms the initial components.
Also, I see it as a sort of symbol for the underdog , a ‘meek shall inherit the earth’ type of thing.
CJ: Do you find it difficult to
balance work with art? As an up-and-coming musician, how do you
reconcile the necessities of everyday life with the ability to make the
art you want to make?
Kail: I do find it hard sometimes to balance
both. I find that in the past I would spend a lot more of my time
physically creating and working on my craft which I miss being able to
do. Nowadays, I spend more time conceptualizing my music, working out
ideas and issues in my head before I even get a chance to touch my
instruments. In some ways that might be better for getting a different
or overall perspective on a song before getting caught up in the
physical technicalities of the part. But, I do miss being able to
immerse myself for hours in performing and listening to music, like I
used to early on.
CJ: What advice can you offer musicians who are today where you were, say, two years ago?
Kail: Keep true to your original vision
of who you or your band was when you all first set out , and try to
maintain that while reaching your goals.
For more information on Kail’s upcoming album Wish Tree and his music, go to mooshikamusic.com
To comment on the interview go to http://cosmicjaam.com/wp/lonnie/