Starting off, just want to express how wonderful it is to see the amazing work that you’ve been doing since studying with me. Can you tell us a bit about your journey from film scoring to exploring the world of sound overall?
Thank you. Humbled and grateful to be able to carry forward the sound work that you and so many others have inspired and shared with me along this continuous transformative and revealing journey towards the world of sound.
The path of discovering the ‘essence’ of sound beyond entertainment was triggered in 2010 when a health challenge led me to discovering NeuroLinguistic Programming and Kinesiology a combined approach to communication, personal development, psychotherapy and the scientific study of the mechanics of human or non-human body movements.
It was then for the first time that i was introduced to sound in a context outside of music and the revealing of its mind-body relationship.
About two years before arriving into New York in 2012, i had completed a six year stint as a film scorer and engineer with renowned Indian composers Salim-Sulaiman. Working day in and day out sometimes 7 days a week; composing, recording and mixing soundscapes for the Indian film industry. It was an incredibly interesting phase of my life to be the only Berklee educated female sound designer and composer amidst an all male music industry maneuvering through cultural and societal expectations and stigmas. My hard work and dedication allowed me to work with incredible musicians, co-writers, film mix engineers, vocalists and selective directors and producers. It also deepened my experience and knowledge of working with multiple digital audio workstations and multitrack recordings. All the way from stereo audio mix downs to immersive theatre listening experiences. I got a wholesome experience of the ins and outs of studio sessions within pre and post production of a film soundtrack. We also travelled to Prague to record a 100-piece orchestra for one of the higher budget films, which was an extremely large investment for music in the Indian film industry. It was an exciting time.
However, my deep desire to travel beyond the business of film had me constantly exploring independent music out west, especially electronic music.
Electronic music for me is, as or even more powerful than a film scoring experience, filling empty spaces with emotive soundscapes and rhythms that make every cell in the human body vibrate because of the tactile power of the sound systems and dance as a movement meditation leading to cathartic feelings of love and unity consciousness. I had finally found a sonic voice that i deeply wanted to explore, however i knew i had to find a sustainable way to bridge the worlds that i came from to the world that i dreamt of moving towards…
And so i took a momentary break from music and as mentioned above began exploring the art of neurolinguistic programming and kinesiology. It deepened my understanding of how sound and language can reprogram one’s brain, exploring the unseen vibratory thought fields of frequencies that do affect our beings without us even being aware. This exploration lead me to finding ways to merge my compositional skills with the healing arts and In 2011, i was given a life changing opportunity to collaborate and write music for a renowned global mixed-media artist Ranbir Kaleka. It’s with the success of that project that i decided to take the plunge and move to New York to follow my calling of electronic music production.
In this year of immersing myself in the culture of electronic music many powerful sonic changes occurred including meeting you and my perspective on listening shifted from just ‘music’ of all kinds to the depths of sound and frequencies. The most significant of them was meeting Rohan Dixit, a neuroscientist who introduced me to 136.10 Hz (measured as the frequency of the earths rotation around the sun) As an experimental electronic composition i wrote an intuitive piece over this foundational drone which resulted in a disillusioning of time and a realization of my mother cultures deep knowledge linking sound, spirit and meditation.
I was awe shocked and couldn’t help but wanting to share this experiment with any person that i met. Over time i added and curated overtone emitting instruments, scents and lights that i collected during my travels and this was the beginning of organically shaping the ‘Alchemic Sonic Environment’ (ASE) a multi-sensory immersive experience designed to invoke a state of deep reflection, receptivity and exchange.
As a film scorer, you compose an emotive soundscape for a movie, however with Alchemic Sonic Environments you get to create an entire symphony of alchemy!
Aside from sound, how much do you explore frequencies in say color, or scent or even economics?
As a universal and measurable phenomena, all of life as we know it is made of vibrations produced and transported through matter at it’s molecular level and hence your question of exploring frequencies through other mediums is so accurate with regards to my vision of creating ‘Alchemic Sonic Environments.’
I already addressed this answer a little bit in the previous question, however, after the first ‘Alchemic Electronica’ composition of 136.10 Hz was composed and successfully tested with different kinds of people, i intuitively decided to experiment with colors, tones, textures and also food.
This naturally and organically began revealing its deep connection back to the use of multi-sensory settings in ceremonial wisdom traditions.
Interesting question about the frequency of economics, I still haven’t quite arrived deeply at this point just yet however i know i’m getting close and hence i am beginning to experience the frequency of economics and it’s correlation between cultural conditioning, emotional patterns and brain wave states.
How far along are we when it comes to sonic healing?
I would say we are yet to really discover the essence and truth of the potential of sonic healing because we’re just at the beginning of a very exciting dimension of sound work; which has already begun unfolding with the advent of sound and yoga studios, meditative apps, sonic art projects and experiences springing up all across the world at a rapid speed.
However, we will witness the highest potential of sound and its healing potential only when we clearly and successfully are able to create a sustainable road map to bridge sonic worlds horizontally across the spiritual, artistic, scientific, technological and business communities. It’s only when we are able to find a common and neutral ground between all the essentials of life would we be able to witness its manifest in the current climate of our modern world. Even though it has already begun we are just at its nascency.
With the advancements of technology, the introduction of AR & VR we are being disconnected more and more from nature and the earth’s sustainable resonance. We are increasing tremendous amounts of sensory and land pollution which means we are actually going to ‘have’ to need sonic healing to keep our brains autonomic nervous system in a neutral and un stressful state which in turn would allow us to make better decisions and get more connected to our inner selves.
Hence we are at a pivotal time in humanity on one direction we are moving towards the advancements of healing in sound & lifestyle shifts and supporting technologies and at the exact opposite end of the spectrum we are only moving faster towards noise pollution of all kinds.
Other than multi-channel systems for surround sound, have there been any new advances in systems for immersive sound that have interested you?
I have been researching sonic areas beyond just multi-channel auditory systems. These explorations have led me to incredible spatial audio technologies like 4D Sound and the Spatial Sound Institute in Budapest, Envelop Sound in San Francisco, the art of psychoacoustics, ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) and audio-psycho-phonology, a term and method developed by Dr. Alfred Tomatis.
I found Dr. Alfred Tomatis’s system the most powerful and transformative as an immersive air and bone conduction listening experience connecting sound and brain health. He developed a system of auditory stimulation designed to improve the function of the inner ear as an organ of listening, understanding and communication. He found that psychological factors mediate between the acoustic waves that the ear receives and decodes and phonation and speech. A lot of musicians work with this method including Sting and it’s power definitely will enhance your life as a musician!
Have you experimented with 3D, VR or tactile sound?
I’ve been experimenting with immersive spatial experiences with 4D Sound, tactile sound with OTTO tuning forks (Dr. John Belieu of Biosonics) and other vibro-acoustic instruments like the Subpac, Tibetan Singing Bowls (Nepal), Buffalo Drums, Gongs, vocal whispers that lead to ASMR experiences and last but not least the SUBPAC which is a tactile bass system which serves not only as an incredible production tool but also a healing tool for a one on one whole body listening experience. Still awaiting the arrival of the worlds first 3D headphones, OSSIC i intend to work in the coming years with VR.
Combining all these different modalities and electronic compositions tuned to frequencies of the Schumann resonance are the essence of the ASE Method and it’s constantly shaping as the research continues.
I think the ocean is a good reference for this question, so when you hear it, how many stages of listening do you feel your ears go through? The usual process people have is they hear the “sound of the ocean”, but others go deeper into the particles of noise within it.
To begin with i’d like to talk about the difference between passive hearing and active listening, most people aren’t always mindful of this difference.
Hearing means that the ear is passively receiving the acoustical signal regardless of whether the person is awake or asleep, however active listening is entirely different; the focus and perception of our inner ears dynamically open up when we focus on ‘active selective listening,’ it entirely deepens our experience which in turn leads to how sound impacts our balance, movement and brain. Like a state of deep contemplation or meditation.
Now back to your question, the ocean is one of the greatest primordial soundscapes that we’ve been gifted by nature. It entirely encompasses the human auditory spectrum and has a fullness in its resonance. It produces multiple tones in an always present continuum of sound and when i focus my attention to its tonal clusters, layers, textures, currents and unpredictable interdependence it creates a profound sense of a living organism and powerful being.
I begin by focusing on the entire body of sound slowly and logically finding myself isolating the frequencies one by one following its currents and natural force from the left field all the way to the centre and right fields, back to left then centre and find a pattern of permutations and combinations based on the tides of its natural progression and evolution.
This is a great exercise for bringing awareness to the three dimensions of space however i really feel the magic of ‘listening’ to the ocean is felt the most when we allow active selective listening to merge organically into passive hearing without wanting or needing to follow its patterns, rhythms and tones and naturally allowing its all encompassing dynamism to embed into our subconscious depths. It’s in this state that you begin to naturally listen to its particle like sonic nature just like when you listen to white noise. The more i allow the brain to step out of my rational mind, the more the sound grows denser in its silent particle state.
What new projects are you excited about?
I am excited about my developing project ‘Alchemic Sonic Environment’; The goal of the experience is to explore the nature of health as a process rather than event and to help bridge ancient practices of sound and energy medicine with emerging technologies.
Since 2011, i’ve been researching and developing the ASE method collaborating with artists, neuroscientists and healing arts practitioners and performing showcases at the likes of Sages & Scientists, TEDx and Berklee India Exchange to name just a few.
ASE takes many forms through performances, installations and education and the next experiences would be at ‘Brown Feels Good’ at Brown University in early February.
Here’s a short essence of a performance from the Global Congress of Spiritual Scientists, that took place at the Pyramid Valley in Bangalore, India in 2016.
Lastly, please tell us how your experience at the UPA was, and why you feel this sort of learning is needed.
After Berklee and Dubspot, ‘Underground Producers Alliance’ was the perfect segue to a much deeper sonic bridge from the world of film and electronics to the introduction to the depths of sound, energy and healing. The varied knowledge we received from experts that you brought into the course was so profound. One such instance i remember was when we began our lesson sitting in a ceremonial circle at the Haitian Drummer Val Jeanty’s home leading to unfolding knowledge of sacred frequencies. These extremely special and intimate moments allow the subtleties of sonic energy to naturally unravel and reveal the totality of its phenomena, the setting, the contact, the experience, the assimilation and integration of which can bring an artist into a growing awareness of a deeper language of sound and energy.
Being able to visit intimate studio’s really allows one to soak up the energy of an artists personal frequency and that really had a really powerful subconscious shift for my own artistic and personal development.
Nothing can replace an overall immersive experience that takes into account change of perspectives not just through knowledge, sonic travel journeys and also meeting masters and learning from their life experiences from different avenues of industry.
The UPA experience is a complete ‘Alchemic Sonic Environment’ the way i see it and i feel so blessed to have been one of its first students!