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#RSOffStage feat. Aarifah Rebello: ‘I Can’t Write/Think Straight When My Room is in a Mess’

The drummer/singer-songwriter shows us how she gets around thin ceilings, floors and walls for our photo series on artists’ lives beyond the stage

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Aarifah Rebello, photographed in her bedroom at her Dadar residence. Photo: Swaraj Sriwastav

Aarifah Rebello, photographed in her bedroom at her Dadar residence. Photo: Swaraj Sriwastav

What do you do if the building you live in has really thin walls, ceilings and floors, and you need to practice drums without disturbing the old lady who lives downstairs?

Simple. Use your bed and furniture to hack your way to a soundproof setup. At least, that’s how Mumbai-based drummer/singer-songwriter Aarifah Rebello does it. When Rebello practices drums at her Dadar apartment, she has to move around some furniture. “I know that foam is one of the components used in soundproofing a room,” explains Rebello.

24-year-old Rebello writes and sings her own lyrics, plays guitar and is a drummer too. Photo: Swaraj Sriwastav

24-year-old Rebello writes and sings her own lyrics, plays guitar and is a drummer too. Photo: Swaraj Sriwastav

Rebello removes one of the shelves from her cupboard and uses that in combination with her mattress as a sound barrier while she practices drums. She also uses pillows to muffle the sound. The percussionist performs with multiple different bands, including folk group Lawntuba, alt-rock outfit The Bassic and blues-funk trio Nookie Jar. As a result, she does not like to compromise on practice, so she does whatever it takes to get rehearsal time in.

“I write best when alone. I’ve always been that kind of person who disliked people watching me work, be it while painting or making art craft projects. That is why I write best at night,” says Rebello. “I’m usually on my bed with my guitar, a notebook and a pencil while everyone is asleep. I started learning the guitar this way, quietly at night, and am used to singing softly mostly because of this.”

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“I’m usually on my bed with my guitar, a notebook and a pencil while everyone is asleep.” Photo: Swaraj Sriwastav

Though she’s often influenced by ‘her random, confused thoughts,’ Rebello needs her surroundings to be neat and tidy for inspiration to strike. “I can’t write/think straight when my room is in a mess. I like it uncluttered and clean,” she says. “Well, that is, unless I get a stroke of genius and vomit a song.”

"I've always been that kind of person who disliked people watching me work, be it while painting or making art craft projects." Photo: Swaraj Sriwastav

“I’ve always been that kind of person who disliked people watching me work, be it while painting or making art craft projects.” Photo: Swaraj Sriwastav

Check out more portraits of artists at home in our OffStage series here.

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