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Former Motherjane Frontman To Release Debut Solo Album

Suraj Mani will release the nine-song album along with a coffee table book this month

Megha Mahindru Dec 03, 2012
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Suraj Mani

When vocalist Suraj Mani suffered a ruptured disc, after intermittently experiencing back pain post performances, in November 2011, he decided to call it quits with his Kochi alt rock band Motherjane. “It wasn’t possible to go on say long bus journeys to Kerala for band practice anymore,” recalls the Bengaluru-based ex-frontman. In 2010, a year ahead of Mani’s exit, the band’s guitarist Baiju Dharmajan had decided to leave the band, much to the disappointment of Motherjane fans.

While Dharmajan released his debut instrumental solo titled The Crossover earlier this year, Mani announced on Facebook that he will release his solo work later this month. “Last year, I was in hospital for treatment and then at an Ayurveda place for 45 days, without any connection to the world outside”” no phones, no internet, only someone stamping on my back for company,” says Mani. In his spare time, the vocalist picked up a guitar. “I started fiddling with it,” says Mani, “Until then, I had these great guitarists like Baiju, Rex [Vijayan] and Deepu V.S, so I had never bothered with a guitar.”

Now, after months of practice, Mani has put together what he calls “nine simple songs” that will be part of his debut solo album, which he plans to release on December 12, 2012. “I started this album without knowing how to play the guitar. It’s a new beginning for me”” from being the frontman of a rock supergroup to a singer-songwriter now,” he says.

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Mani, who has tentatively titled the album The Tattva Trip, adds that he has grand plans for this album. “I’m not sure how I’ll execute them,” says the ex-vocalist-turned-guitarist, who also wants to take on the role of a narrator for his solo debut. Mani’s album will be released with lyrics, some bookmarks and a 40-page illustrated coffee table book featuring stories written by him. “The stories talk about one’s personal journey through life, the nine stages that they go through in metaphorical terms, while the album features songs about contemporary life, the life of today,” says Mani, adding, “The book is made of recycled paper and has nice artwork. The stories and the songs of the album are parallel.”

Album cover

Mani, who previewed a sample of his new track “Your Epitaph” on Facebook today, plans to release one song a day before releasing the entire album. “’Your Epitaph’ song talks about how people are connecting through the digital world these days,” he says. Besides the ode to new media, the album also has a track about forgiveness titled “Whole” and “The Gift” that brings Mani’s eco-activism to front.

The solo album features other veteran musicians such as Suresh Peters on the drums, Keith Peters on the bass and Aman Mahajan on the keys with well-known guitarist Alwyn Fernandes [ex-Pulse, Antaragni] taking over as the producer. With his collaborators, Mani adds that he plans to take his solo project to stage. “I haven’t fully recovered and still need to undergo treatment for my back, but even if I have to play and entire concert on a couch or lying on the ground, I’ll do it,” he adds.

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Suraj Mani’s The Tattva Trip releases on December 12, 2012 

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