Producer Miti Adhikari Returns Home
The influential producer, who has worked with the likes of Seattle alt rockers Foo Fighters, is back in India for good, begins work with The Supersonics and Ganesh Talkies
In 2009, the name Miti Adhikari first popped up on the Indian band radar when Kolkata rock band, The SuperÂsonics, released their debut Maby BakÂing. Adhikari, 58, was credited as the producer of the brilliant album, but litÂtle else was known about him in India. In 2012, a YouTube video link of Foo FightÂers dedicating a song from the band’s 2011 Reading & Leeds Festival headlinÂer set to Adhikari created quite a buzz onÂline. While that YouTube video is a mere peep into Adhikari’s fantastic body of work, it definitely is a good place to start.
Adhikari, originally from Kolkata, held ground as the chief sound engineer for the iconic Maida Vale Studios at the BBC Radio for 34 years. In what was a chance landing of the job, on the recommendaÂtion of a family friend, Adhikari worked his way up having started out as an assisÂtant studio manager, later prodding his seÂniors to give him a chance to get in on the mixing. Over his tenure, the ”˜Silver Fox’ as he is fondly referred to, has recorded evÂeryone from Nirvana to James Blake and worked at some of the biggest music fesÂtivals in Europe as a sound engineer. The night he was “done with it,” as he puts it, was after his last Glastonbury Festival, in 2011, where the headliners included ColdÂplay, U2 and Beyonce.
It wasn’t a rushed decision to come back to India. In fact, Adhikari wanted to play guitar again and focus on working with artÂists back in India. His work with Kolkata alt rockers SPAN, his cousin Neel Adhikari’s former band, and his association with The Supersonics seemed challenging and he sensed a change within the scene in India. Eventually, Adhikari also proÂduced albums for Delhi alt rockers Menwhopause, The Ska Vengers also from Delhi and most recently, with Kolkata pop rock singer NisÂchay Parekh, whose album he played guitar parts as well. “It was a collaboration in the real sense of it, with Nischay. When he got in touch with me asking if I would produce his album, I said of course I would.”
Currently, Adhikari finds himself in the middle of an emerging scene, “as much as I dislike that word,” he adds, “You can alÂmost feel it, but it still has a long way to go. In terms of a larger India context, we’re not even close to a majority.” For the next few months, Adhikari already has a fair amount of work lined up, including producÂing albums for Kolkata pop rock band GaÂnesh Talkies. The producer also plans to reÂvive a guitar project with his friend Sanjay Mishra (also the founding member of MaÂhamaya, the college band Adhikari was a part of in Kolkata) with whom he shares a bit of a “Jerry Garcia connection,” reinforcÂing his admiration of The Grateful Dead. There’s also the new Menwhopause album, which he’s hoping the New Delhi alt rockers will ask him to produce. To top that off, The Supersonics are halfway on their way to the studio to record the much awaited follow up to Maby Baking. “When they (The SuperÂsonics) started me sending me some demos initially, I wasn’t so convinced. But, they’ve played a lot of gigs, worked on it and I can see it coming together. It needs to happen soon, and I’m really excited for that,” he said.
While he might travel to EngÂland and Goa frequently over the next phase, Adhikari adds, “Let’s just say the largest collection of my underpants will be in KolkaÂta.” That the Silver Fox hopes that more people in India begin to realize the imÂportance of a producer, is clear when you talk to him. “As someone who is overseeing the entire process, you need to look beyond just the technicals and help ease the process. And as someone who’s involved in that proÂcess, you need to give it a sense of direction to help bands feel that they’ve nailed someÂthing if it’s honest.”
This article appeared in the February 2014 issue of ROLLING STONE India