Ricky Vasan is a songwriter, painter and sculptor based in Boston. His songs are a blend of alternative rock with folk and blues nuances combined with simple and honest lyricism. Even though he is back for a while because of everything that is going in the world (covid 19) he still keeps up and finishes the semester online. And in a place like Boston, Massachusetts, Ricky's music is something new for him and his audience. He says "I just started writing and well here I am". Ricky doesn’t have a band or a moniker of sorts, he just goes by Ricky Vasan. Actually searching for a band was his my first instinct when he started writing but as a painter and visual artist he is accustomed to fight it out alone.
MI: If you were to introduce your band and genre to someone unaware of your music, how would you?
AV: Alternative rock is how I describe my music but considering it is such a massive subgenre of rock music I would like to say that my music genre is Alt/indie Rock with folk and blues nuances. I like to experiment a lot with my sound because I am still trying to find it.
MI: What got you into this genre?
AV: I grew up listening to so many different genres but this is the one that I personally gravitated towards. I had cousins who familiarised me with Pink Floyd, The Who, Bob Dylan and all sorts of classic rock. My Mom is an avid country and folk listener. It is the creative freedom that artists engulfed in this genre have, that appeals to me the most. There are no trends, everyone is just doing their own thing and that is what art is about.
MI: Your Soundcloud profile reads “Perpetually writing sad songs”, but songs are loved by your followers. People like songs written about sadness or is there a contradicting side to your music?
AV: I like to be extremely honest with my lyrics, a song for me makes the cut only if I’m being extremely honest about my feelings in it. Mental health issues are nothing new in our world. Therefore, i like to be vocal about the things that i go through as a means to help someone who might be going through the same. Mental health isn’t much talked about in India and for me writing these lyrics proved to be somewhat therapeutic, because I was no longer keeping these dark feelings inside me. I was singing them in front of everyone and in a way it made me unafraid. As for writing sad songs it’s just who I am even as a person. I'm not the most extroverted guy in the room and my songs are just a reflection. By the way I do write happy songs (sometimes).
MI: What are the various equipment and gear you have in your studio to facilitate production?
AV: My guitar teacher was actually kind enough to let me record this EP in his studio. I recorded this EP over winter break and since I was back in the country for such a short period, I didn’t really have much time to record or any supplies. The whole thing was produced at home on my laptop and I didn’t even have my own guitar with me but my best friend was cool with me borrowing his for a few weeks.
MI: Tell us something about "Weekend Smile". Inspiration behind the name and the project
AV: Weekend Smile is my debut EP which comes out on April 30th. This project honestly means the world to me. It was recorded after I had been playing the guitar for 8 months which really isn’t a lot of time but I was confident that I had to go through with this. The whole EP is about my experiences from last year. Moving from one country to another was the fuel behind most of it. The EP was named after the title track of the same name which is about temporary bouts of happiness. One minute you’re happy having the time of your life and the next you’re sitting alone in your dorm room questioning everything.
MI: Tell us about your most valuable piece of equipment and why?
AV: My most valuable instrument apart from my songwriting notebook is my Guitar. I call her ‘Jane’ as when I got her while I was reading ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ so I just named it after one of the characters. That guitar has traveled around the world with me and honestly I don’t see myself ever parting ways with it, even my Instagram has a ton of photos of me with it.
MI: How has the struggle been so far to your current standings?
AV: Struggle is something I haven’t really experienced in my music because it’s all new to me and also because when i put out my first song ‘Run to You’ I had absolutely no hopes for it. I was certain that my parents and my two friends were gonna be the only people streaming it but the response I did get for it was certainly overwhelming and made me take my music more seriously.
MI: Is the path ahead more struggling or does it get better from here?
AV: I am hundred percent sure that struggle is gonna be by my side all my life. Music isn’t my primary vocation. I'm a painting and sculpture student and those are not easy fields. Making a living as a fine artist is gonna be a challenge but my goal is to just put my best foot forward and work as much as I can.
MI: How are the psychological rewards in this career you have chosen? Have you ever second guessed your choices?
AV: The thought is always there in the back of my head. Artistic pursuits are hard enough already but they become even harder as a fine artist. Sometimes I do get the thought that life would be at least 5% more stable as a designer or something but painting is what has gotten me where I am today and this is a risk that I am willing to take for the love of my craft. Even for my music songwriting is a lot like painting, it is extremely subjective and your success depends on a number of factors which are not always under our control.
MI: Do you perform anywhere? How frequently do you get an opportunity to perform? Is it difficult getting booked?
AV:To be honest I haven’t ever performed. I’ve sang for friends and family but I’ve never gotten the chance to do a show. I would love to go out there and rock out on a stage and I plan to start performing here and there once we return to normalcy.
MI: Who according to you are top 5 labels in your genre?
AV:There are so many great indie labels out there but I guess for me the joy comes in the fact that I can put my music out on my own without a label. But if the opportunity comes knocking I wouldn’t deny it.
MI: What is the one attribute of this industry that is a boon?
AV: Camaraderie, every person who I’ve interacted seems extremely helpful. I think true artists know that it isn’t a competition, we do what we do because we love doing it there’s no point in fighting over it.
MI: What is the one attribute of this industry that is a bane?
AV: I think the biggest bane of the music industry is the industry itself. We just get so wrapped around what works we forget about experimentation. Some of the best music that developed over time developed through experimentation and improvisation and that is something we need to return to.
MI: 5 Drummers/Bands who inspired you and continue to do so?
AV: Some of my favourite bands and artists are The National, Pearl Jam, John Mayer and Jeff Buckley. But there are so many more.
MI: How does India perform in this genre compared to European or American competition?
AV: India actually has a growing Indie scene, people are craving this type of music so there’s a lotta scope for artists. The European and American music scene is so saturated with talented artists in so many different genres that it’s hard to stand out but I think there is a market for the kind of music I make so that keeps me satisfied.
MI: What’s coming up for You down the road?
AV: The road ahead is unpredictable and I feel like right now everyone is in the same boat. I’ve been writing a lot lately and working on demos and will start recording soon. I’m working on a full length album this time and I’m taking my time with it apart from that I have my school and personal artwork to work on so I’m gonna keep myself busy with my work for the next couple of months.
Well, thank you once again for spending time with us, giving us valuable insight into your career. We wish you all the very best of luck in your endeavours. See you soon at a club.