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Swarathma Fan Designs Book on the Band

Swarathma – The Inside Story contains interviews, childhood pictures and reproductions of handwritten lyrics.

Shawn Fernandes May 12, 2012
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Swarathma fan and graphic designer Reishabh Kailey

As our cover band for May, Swarathma kick off their Rest Less Tour and launch their long-awaited second album Topiwalleh, we talk to 21-year-old graphic design student Reishabh Kailey, whose Swarathma’s fanboyism peaks with his book on the band.

When it came to deciding on the topic for his college design project, Bengaluru-based Kailey turned to Swarathama’s lively songs and colorful aesthetic for inspiration.

Swarathma – The Inside Story is a detailed and meticulously-researched look into the lives of India’s rising folk rock band. It contains interviews with the band members where they discuss topics ranging from their influences to childhood along with contributions from family members and close friends of the band. The book also contains a lyrics booklet, a fold-out poster depicting the story of how the band was formed, a large wall-poster of the cover art as well as childhood photographs, fan art and reproductions of handwritten lyrics from
their personal notebooks.

Says Swarathma bassist Jishnu Dasgupta of Kailey’s pet project, “To be honest, when he said that he was working on a college degree project, I didn’t think it would be any great shakes. That’s probably because when I did my degree “project” it wasn’t something I poured my heart and soul into. But one look at the images of the book and we were all blown away. But what shines through is his love for the band and our music.”

Excerpts from an interview with Kailey:

Why did you choose Swarathma as the subject for your project?

When it was time to decide what I should do for my degree project, I really wanted to do a publication. I love designing books, and I was looking forward to designing a full book, start to finish.

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I was first introduced to Swarathma in my first year of college, when they performed at our college festival, Fundamental. I remember falling in love with their music and dancing like mad with all my friends even though I had never heard their songs before. After that, my friends and I became Swarathma groupies. We would go to all their shows in Pune. We called them back after two years to perform at our festival again.

I realized they would make the perfect subject for my book because first of all, I loved the band and had so many amazing memories about their concerts. Second, I was interested in seeing how I could reflect their look and sound into my book. They are very vibrant and it was interesting to reflect that graphically. And third, as far as I knew, such a book had not been done on an Indian band, only for international musicians. So I thought they would be perfect.

How much time did you spend with the band and how much did they contribute to the project?

I started with deciding on what content I needed. There were various kinds of interviews involved ”“ individually with the band, their family, their crew and group interviews. I wanted different perspectives. The band was very, very supportive from the moment I first pitched the idea. They told me to come to Bengaluru. I spent around 10 days with them. They invited me to their houses, gave me brilliant interviews and photographs. I met their families. It was a brilliant experience. All the content in the book is the band’s contribution. I was mailing them for help until the day it went to print.

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Will the book be available to the general public?

As of now, I don’t know. The band and I are pitching the idea to the publishers. I hope it gets published. I’m sure a lot of people would want to buy it. It would be unbelievable if it actually went on sale. While designing it, I had not given much thought about actually getting it published. It was more of a personal project.

What’s your favourite Swarathma song?

‘Pyaar Ke Rang’ tops the list. But ‘Ee Bhoomi’, ‘Koorane’, ‘Yeshu Allah Aur Krishna’ and ‘Ghum’ are also up there. I can’t choose.

Tell us a little more about yourself.

I just graduated from Symbiosis Institute of Design with a degree in communication design, specializing in graphic design. My interests lie in branding, publication design and typography. I have ventured into packaging and advertising as well. I had no idea what I was getting into when I joined (the Insitute). I have grown to appreciate and recognize good design and try to incorporate what I see and learn into my work.

Are there any other bands that interest you visually or from the perspective of a designer?

Yes, I love this whole process of translating a musician’s sound into visuals. It’s brilliant. I would be interested in someone who has a strong visual appeal in their performances, like Swarathma does. I would love to work with Shaa’ir + Func. They have a very distinct look, which would translate into graphics brilliantly.

Check out pictures of the book below:

Swarathma – The Inside Story credits:

Cover Illustration: Punit Hiremath

Photographs: Sruti Menon and Shriparna Sarkar

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