Type to search

Features

Artist Prashant Miranda Takes The Tattva Trip With Suraj Mani

Mani released his debut album this year; the collector’s edition includes a coffee table book with carnivalesque watercolor illustrations

Lalitha Suhasini Jun 10, 2013
Share this:
Prashant Miranda Photo: Uzma Mohsin

Prashant Miranda Photo: Uzma Mohsin

 

Suraj Mani

Suraj Mani

Suraj Mani’s debut album has been a long time coming. But for those of us who still revel in album artwork and inlay, The Tattva Trip collector’s edition celebrates visual art. The nine tracks on the album are Mani at his lyrical best, telling the story of one man and his journey. The accompanying watercolor illustrations by Prashant Miranda [not related to Mario Miranda] perfectly complement every track even as the vibrant, bursting-with-life imagery is in contrast with the sombre, brooding tone of the album. Mani was introduced to Miranda by the artist’s batchmate from the National Institute of Design and Bengaluru-based musician Sandeep Pillai. When asked how he made the decision of relying on Miranda to interpret his album, Mani jokes, “Well, it’s not because I’ve met him because I still haven’t!” The guitarist and vocalist was convinced that Miranda could do justice to The Tattva Trip after one look at his blog. Mani adds, “I called him only to be told that he was tied up with some other project. Later, I got in touch with Prashant again on an impulse and he said, ”˜I have a week to 10 days, so let me try.’” My only brief to him was that I loved his work, that he should enjoy himself and feel free to interpret the trip in any way that he chose to and that I was there as a reference only if he needed my inputs. As the saying goes, he delivered in spades!” Says Miranda, “The text for the album was really complex. It talked about different kinds of imaginary worlds and I had to distill all that into simple illustrations. Suraj also kept mailing me raw files [of music] as he composed them.”

The Tribes Of Babel Photo: Courtesy Suraj Mani

The Tribes Of Babel Image: Courtesy Suraj Mani

It’s hard to miss a glimpse of Goa in most of the 37-year-old artist’s works. Miranda grins from ear to ear when we point this out to him during a video chat. “I first visited Goa in 1984 and have been going back through the Nineties. It’s a special place for me,” says Miranda, adding “I was there for two months recently.” For the track “The Tribes Of Babel,” which straddles metal and rock, tracing the protagonist’s travels through a magical city, Miranda’s illustration seems to be straight out of the Susegado state ”“ stone buildings with tiles in green, yellow and Lapis lazuli blue. “I’m an old romantic,” says Miranda, “Old architecture, nature and people inspire me.” 

Money Image: Courtesy Suraj Mani

Money Image: Courtesy Suraj Mani

Miranda, a traveling artist who describes himself as a visual journal keeper, moved from India to Canada in 2004 and has been spending time in both countries since. “Growing up in Bangalore, I listened to bands like Thermal And A Quarter, but I must confess that I heard most of Suraj’s music after he got in touch,” says Miranda, who took to gypsy jazz in Canada and even illustrated the cover of an independent gypsy jazz guitarist, Chris Bezant. While our favorite from The Tattva Trip is Miranda’s illustration for “Money,” with a full moon and the protagonist in deep sleep [or thought], the artist picks his work for “Your Epitaph” as his personal favorite. He adds, “This is the one where the protagonist sings to the angels with broken wings. I think through music and sound, the album has been a healing experience for Suraj [the singer suffered a back injury in 2011].” Mani favorites include “The Gift,” “The Tribes of Babel” and “An Ode to Life.” “The interpretations and imagery that Prashant pulled out of the text, lyrics and music makes me very happy that I took a risk with creating The Tattva Trip as an out-an-out concept album,” says Mani, “It was scary at times to wonder about whether I was chewing off too much, but Prashant and the musicians who played on the album – Alwyn Fernandes, Aman Mahajan, Cajetan Dias, Keith Peters and Suresh Peters – added their own magic to The Tattva Trip.”

Also See  BTS: The Rolling Stone Interview

your epitaph

The soul of Miranda’s buoyant work lies in his travels. “I work on a small scale so it’s easy to shoot or scan and email it. So it’s great that my work allows me to travel and work from anywhere.” The artist had just returned from a trip to Kerala, which had inspired some stunning new work, when we spoke to him and was off to the Andamans soon after our chat. “I pretty much draw every day and have been living off my art for the past nine years,” says Miranda, who turned to painting full time in 2009, having quit a career in animation film design. Miranda, who also plays the piano and composes, shrugs off his musical side saying, “It’s just a bunch of friends getting together at home and jamming. It’s not a priority.” Look closely at his watercolors and you’ll hear the music and you’ll know he’s lying. 

To order The Tattva Trip Collector’s Edition, click here . Rs 999

Share this:
Tags:

You Might also Like