Published: 05th August 2020
Why Aum Janakiram decided to create his own music through his one-man band
Aum Janakiram has now fashioned himself as a one-man band and is using technology to put a COVID spin to classic tunes
Ever seen those musicians on stage or the street who have drums on their head and back, a guitar in their hand, a harmonica in their mouth all at the same time? They are called a one-man band. A concept that has been around since Bob Dylan played the guitar and harmonica at the same time on stage decades ago. Today, a person who calls themselves a one-man band can play up to 13 instruments at the same time. But Aum Janakiram isn’t one of them. While he can play several instruments, including the guitar, ukulele and mouth organ, he cleverly uses technology to do his bidding instead of looking like a futuristic contraption with instruments covering him from head to toe.
In an online concert for a music school (yes, we have those now) a couple of weeks ago, Aum performed live with a guitar and showed off his skills of acapella and beatboxing. He used his computer to loop whatever he sung in a software called zenAud.io. “While traditional looping involves playing one melody throughout and creating music with it, I prefer to use multiple snippets at different points in time to create more layers in the music,” says Aum, “I use shakers, clappers and a stompbox to create a more interactive show for the audience.” With this, Aum hopes to take audience interaction to the next level. "When audiences clap and that gets recorded, it can become part of the music. This will give them a sense that they are also involved in the process," he adds.
It has been a year since Aum started experimenting with the software. "To make the arrangement a little more complicated, I use two or three separate pieces of music throughout the song. A lot more musicians are trying out such software to enhance their music and add more variety. Ableton Live is another software which follows a similar pattern," he says. Aum has released songs on YouTube during the lockdown revolving around the Coronavirus and its awareness including a parody of The Knacks' My Sharona called Bye Corona.
Heavily inspired by his brothers, Aum started playing the guitar when he was nine years old. During his time in college, Aum joined a band called No Idea. "We usually played in the college circuit and had made quite a name for ourselves," Aum says. However, later when they disbanded, Aum joined his brothers' band — the Chennai-based rock band called Little Babooshka's Grind. The band played for 12 years and was quite popular in India's indie rock music scene. "I am now working on the Corona-awareness album where I am using the tune of very old and popular songs and covering them with my own lyrics," adds Aum, “While the times are tough, I’m trying to look at the lighter side of things and also trying to ensure that we don’t forget these difficult times.”