AN INTERVIEW WITH Joi Barua, Composer


As musician, Please introduce yourself.

I consider myself a journeyman, travelling through different cultures, stories, people and nature. I am in constant awe of the creator and the creation. My choice of expression is music. I feel spiritual whenever i am in its realm. I am a rock musician and am inclined towards metal, 

but I guess it’s all essentially soul.


Why you became a composer?

I grew up listening to artistes who had something to say. Like - John Lennon, Bhupen Hazarika, Paul Simon, Hendrix. 

I knew someday I had to tell stories that hadn’t been told, sing about people who hadn’t been heard. It was a natural transition, after i had learnt the ropes of music making in Mumbai. I wasn’t ambitious about it, but it was just my chosen path.


What are the films or people that had impacts on you and deeply inspired you to become a composer?

I think i have shaped up in the artist/composer mould, so it would definitely be composers and artistes like Beethoven, Vivaldi, Lennon, Eagles, U2, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Megadeth, Motorhead, Rammstein, Sting, Roy Orbison, Ray Charles, L Subramanium, Bhupen Hazarika etc. Of the film music that definitely had a long lasting impact on me was Nino Rota’s score for the ‘Godfather’ and also Hans Zimmer’s scores. 

Give some more information about yourself and the films that you have made music for, so far?

I live in Mumbai but i come from the North East of India - a place known for the diversity of its tribal culture & folklore. I grew up in a melting pot of folk music, spiritual music, contemporary lyrics ridden socially aware music, blues, rock & metal. This has helped me accept & understand the world & all that i see. Acceptance is what i move forward with. I have worked as a singer and composer in several award winning and genre breaking Indian movies like ‘Udaan’, ’Dev D’, ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’ , ‘Margarita With A Straw’ ‘Laila Majnu’, ‘The Illegal’ etc.


You have made music for animation film "New World Order". As a composer, why you decided to make music for this film?

Meeting Dr. Susan Lim opened up the pathways of understanding where mankind will have to look for solutions, for emerging challenges of loneliness, disease, accidents etc. This would be where artificial intelligence and artificial life step in, hugely disrupting all conventional mores. 

This excited me.  All the knowledge Susan shared with me and we brainstormed how it could be given a musical language. Practitioners of science & medicine like Dr. Susan Lim are trying all the while to ease the pain of mankind. I did consider it an honor to be able to share their story.


Did you had any challenges you faced in making this music?

The incorporation of Dr. Susan Lim’s scientific lexicon into the universe of music, was a challenge. 

But this is what makes these songs and music different from the others around it. Here is where i feel we have created ‘the new’. 

I don’t think that such a barrage of scientific ideas have ever been incorporated into any volume of music. This challenge was unique.  

With making this, have you had any new lesson or new experience?

Like i often tell Susan, this is an experience, wherein she has created the ‘Ark of ALAN’, which travels through different strata and clusters of human beings & ideas. Inside this ark travel amazing creative minds who are trying to tell a story, that needs telling.


What was the feedback from the audience that they had a chance to watch the film?

So far from what i hear, in these times of lockdown, it seems to be good. Once the world opens up more, we will get to hear more. But this has truly been a labour of love & passion. I am sure all those watching will feel what we feel.


The music supports the story in a very effective way. What was it like to work with the directors of the film? 

Did you make the music before editing or after final cut?

I have worked with the directors before and am familiar with the excellence they seek to create. I expected nothing less. 

We made the music before.


For you what was the biggest lesson you had to learn after making "New World Order"?

This song had a blend of a lot of things. Like what the human consciousness is. It is a composite. With sincere humility i can say, 

we stumbled into creating almost a consciousness with this piece. From different physical and mental spaces across the globe, 

we created a piece of magic.


What are your goals in this field?

My goal is to be the journeyman.


What is your next project? -

Of course it is ALAN II - a Cosmic Rhapsody !!

I am looking forward to ALAN II. From the tribal folklore of North East India to ALANs exploration of the mind and universe, 

I am glad that my project takes me to those outer reaches. 


GOOD LUCK  Joi

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