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How Guitarist-Composer SRADIL Battled Ransomware to Create Debut EP ‘Snowfall In Summer’

Noida-based Sarthak Dilawari from rock band Candies and Chaos and metal project Duravasa brings together shimmering instrumental prog across four tracks

Anurag Tagat Nov 05, 2021

SRADIL aka Sarthak Dilawari. Photo: Rishabh Vasudeva

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The pandemic has led to several musicians to set up home studios for recording and in the case of New Delhi guitarist, composer and producer Sarthak Dilawari, it even led to the creation of his solo project SRADIL. He defines the sound as “ambient progressive electronic rock” and his debut EP Snowfall In Summer is wholly written, recorded and mixed and mastered by him.

The road to creating this EP started in August 2020, after putting on hold his work with rock band Candies and Chaos and metal project Duravasa. “I spent 16-plus hours almost daily, writing and producing the demo versions of my songs. After being satisfied with the final demos, I began tracking the EP with utmost precision and love,” Dilawari says.

Then, the unthinkable happened; an artist’s worst nightmare – ransomware. Dilawari realized this when he was unable to open the project file of the final track off Snowfall In Summer. With help from family trying to navigate the issue of a missing file, he found all his file extensions were changed to “VVOA.” Dilawari was locked out of accessing his own files, surmising that there was “military-grade encryption” being used against him.

He didn’t have multiple backups of his files because his external hard drive was corrupted, adding to the woes. “I soon found notepad files within all the folders of my PC with a message from the hackers stating the obvious, along with email address of the hackers where I had to send my request to, after which I’d be asked to pay the $1,000 ransom amount to acquire the decrypting tool for acquiring my files,” the artist says.

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Not one to favor “criminal conspiracy,” Dilawari did try negotiating and even hiring a data recovery company’s services, but nothing changed. Crushed and low, he persisted and began recreating the music with the goal of an even better outcome. “Making this EP, twice, actually has made me more passionate about music and audio than ever and I can’t wait to work on the next thing,” Dilawari says. His PC is now up to code and his skills as a producer even more sharpened, as heard across the uplifting prog EP Snowfall In Summer.

Tracks like “Endure,” “Soju” and “Heaven Smiles” offer bright and energetic modern prog, recalling the likes of Polyphia and Periphery with added twists and turns. Dilawari adds, “The title Snowfall In Summer is a reference to the most unexpected situations in life and how we can make something beautiful out of them too if we just change our approach and dwell in the positive side of things.”

Listen to ‘Snowfall in Summer’ EP below. Stream on more platforms here.

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