The Hot List 2017: Warren Mendonsa (Guitarist-Producer)
He’s installed a steep benchmark for indie music with his latest album and is now slaying gigs this season, one riff at a time
Mumbai guitarist Warren Mendonsa has had quite a hectic 2017. The seasoned musician has toured with the likes of composers Amit Trivedi, Vishal-Shekhar, A.R.Rahman and electronic fusion artist Karsh Kale. Mendonsa also mixed Mumbai-based singer-songwriter Tejas’ debut album Make It Happen and guitarist Kush Upadhyay’s first full-length record Impulsive Decisions. The musician also played guitar on New Delhi electronica artist Komorebi’s song, “Little One,” off her debut album Soliloquy, which released this past October. “I got to visit New Zealand twice this year and jammed with some of my musician buddies there [too],” says Mendonsa.
In the midst of all this, Mendonsa also found the time to record his band Blackstratblues’ fourth album, The Last Analog Generation. Mendonsa states that he was pleasantly surprised when the instrumental rock record charted at number one on the India iTunes cross-genre charts. “We knew we had something good at the time of recording, but I had no idea the album would be received that well,” he says. “The album launch tour was sold out on each gig as well.”
“The A.R. Rahman tour of Australia, New Zealand and Canada was really good fun.”
On what the new record means to Mendonsa, he says, “To me this album has so many good memories attached to it; from the initial recording sessions with the band, to becoming a dad halfway through making it and to finishing the mixes with Shantanu Hudlikar at Yash Raj Studios.” In addition to releasing the new album this year, Mendonsa played at new Mumbai venue The Quarter, which he cites as one of the standout moments of his year. “It was a blast to play at the renovated Opera House,” he says. “The A.R. Rahman tour of Australia, New Zealand and Canada was really good fun too.” The guitarist has also been part of songwriting workshops in his hometown with music conference All About Music and independent art property Off Set.
Mendonsa still has plenty of work lined up till the end of December, he also recently played an extraordinary set at the Bacardi NH7 Weekender festival in Pune with Blackstratblues earlier this month. He has without a doubt had quite a prolific year in terms of the number of shows he’s performed, not only in India, but also across the world as a touring musician. Now that he’s a father, Mendonsa is trying to find a balance between touring, commercial work and being able to spend more time with his family and daughter Nia. “Every time I come home after a couple of weeks, she has grown a whole lot,” he says. “I really want to be around her as much as possible and watch her grow day by day.”
Stream Blackstratblues’ fourth album, ‘The Last Analog Generation,’ below: