Sometimes it takes time to realise what gives you immense happiness because one is busy grabbing opportunities that life offers. And one keeps moving with conviction and dedication only to realise later that this was the path they chose because they believe in it.
Mohan Kumar never thought he will become a Musician and Music will become his passion, something that he would want to follow for life. In fact, Music has become such an integral part of his life that he is now creating music and experimenting with genres and other art forms, fusing them all together to redefine music.
The time has come to take a glimpse into Mohan’s life, and know about the challenges he faced and has come out with flying colours. And what could be better than Mohan himself taking us through his journey of life, art, and music.
Over to Mohan Kumar!
Passion Vs. Profession
For me, Profession is something that you pursue to sustain and take care of your personal needs as well as financial responsibilities.
And Passion is like a dream that will not let you sleep unless it is achieved. It is one of the most important things that keeps you going. Something that drives you, helps you grow, makes you happy and productive. You can be passionate about any freaking thing and rest is the magic.
The best-case scenario is when your passion becomes your profession, and I am grateful and humbled enough to live that life.
Mohan’s early years and Education
Speaking of educational background, my school years were quite turbulent. I changed 5 schools as my parents could not keep up with the fee-hike system of schools. In the end, I had to settle down in a Government school, but in the process, my studies suffered. I lost touch with studies completely and scored 47% marks only in class 12th.
The only silver lining was that I had, over a period of time, developed interest in Fine Arts and Music and wanted to pursue either of these in graduation, preferably Fine Arts. But my father refused to send me to any college, and I could not even take education loan as my father doubted my skills and strategies a lot and did not support me there as well.
Music came to my rescue then. I would sit outside my friend’s music class and take notes as I could not afford to pay the teacher’s fee. Later, I would practice the same on my friend’s guitar because I did not have any other medium or resources to practice. Apart from this, I started learning music on my own from internet.
I remember, at that time, I had no idea of my future or direction to take. I just loved playing music and it gave me happiness. Therefore, I was focussing on learning the basics, so that I could give private lessons, earn some money, and practice my craft simultaneously. This pretty much sums up my educational background.
Loves of Mohan’s life
I have had two passions in life – Fine Art and Music. My first love however, while growing up, was Fine Arts. I always thought I would become a decent Fine Artist, Video Game Designer, and an Animator. I have grown up watching the good old classic animation series by Hanna Barbera. I used to wake up at 4 o’clock in the morning just to catch the latest episodes of my favourite animation series. I also loved visiting my grandmother so that I would get a chance to read my uncle’s collection of Raj Comics.
These comic books, cartoon series and their characters were an important part of my daily life. I would see my favourite cartoon characters in toy stores but could not by them, so I started drifting towards art and craft. I used to sketch all the time. I started scoring highest marks in art and craft.
The fact that my parents did not pay much attention towards me and I was bullied in school too – all this took me closer to Art. I started spending more time sketching and playing video games. I felt alive for the first time ever when a friend introduced me to PC games. He is also the same friend who is the reason why I am playing Music today.
In fact, I used to get good enough beating from my mom at home as I used to take a video game halt at my friend’s place regularly. Things kept going on and as I was finishing school, I realised that my Fine Arts career has absolutely zero support from my parents.
Instead of giving up, I picked up guitar. I started learning guitar through internet and by waiting outside my friend’s guitar’s classes with a promise to myself to never give up on this new journey. And, since then I never looked back.
Journey through new passion
It is been almost a decade since then and I have still stuck to music. I had been an active part of Indie music scene for good 5 years. I had the opportunity to play with some amazing Metal acts and honestly, I am grateful for that journey because it was an eye-opening experience. More like a reality check of what it is really like out there. I did not earn a single penny during this time-period but learned a lot about music scene. I also had to face ugly internal politics where I was judged based on my financial background by fellow musicians. But it never bothered me, and I kept on doing my thing.
And I have, eventually, received lots of love, opportunities and support and I continued working.
Till 2019, I was playing with multiple bands. It had been almost a decade of playing music for and with others, and so I decided to go solo and launch my passion project Hautewulf.
What is Project Hautewulf
Hautewulf is an electronic setup that brings together all my passions and works that have been part of my journey. When I sit back and think of the hard times, everything starts to make sense with Hautewulf. Those cartoon series, all the characters, storyline, music, video games and my bond with them – it is all making sense to me. My project Hautewulf is entirely inspired by these things. The concept of the project is like a decent animated series or a video game.
As a result, I started creating my own series, a whole new universe with a fictional Sci-Fi based storyline and concepts that includes original characters. I want people to enjoy my concept the same way they enjoy their favourite animation or video game. I just want to connect with my audience on a deeper level.
Project Hautewulf has some big plans. I can see it going places because I am trying to stay away from rat race. The release of my debut 3-song EP has also brought further clarity to my vision. The EP received tremendous amount of media features and I was totally overwhelmed because I was not expecting this much engagement from a three-song EP with makeshift equipment.
Entire EP was based on a simple story and produced using laptop and a low budget mobile earphone. While I am working on the next album, I am missing not having enough financial freedom to fund my project strategies and plans. Since the project is about setting a cyberpunk trend in India, it requires some investment/funding.
Life in Lockdown
Having lived a childhood with limited resources, when I see people today, I always feel that we are moving towards a materialistic world and how this is affecting mother nature. I also try to convey the same message through my music. It is disheartening to see how man-made things are affecting life and nature in a bad way. The lockdown has been a reality check for people that gave a glimpse of dependence on materialism, which is not even needed.
The lockdown has been a mixed experience for me. While I got enough time to work on my skills, it became financially challenging for me, being the sole earning member of my family.
Since 2019, my focus was on my passion project, the lockdown gave me plenty of time to retrospect and improve my skills. I started working on my basics, started studying jazz music, and learned some advance production skills without spending a single penny, thanks to my guitar teacher Floyd Francisco Fernandes for being a life saviour and internet, of course. During this pandemic, I have been studying music deeper than ever, made more music, worked on my professional skills, learned some important aspects and advantages of management. Hence, I can say that I have been super productive during this time-period.
Being a full-time musician, I was lucky enough to tour around the country and play music. I was playing with a Commercial Bollywood cover band when coronavirus hit the country, so I had some savings but since I am the sole earning member of the family, I had to go through some tough time financially. I had taken a few major steps right before the pandemic but it all backfired and I am financially under some debt after lockdown. But the lockdown has given me the time to plan. But the best part of lockdown has been the break from live music and spending more time with family and working on your skills.
Life post Lockdown
The post lockdown phase is a tricky one. People are stepping out but still sceptical. Thus, I think it is time for me to give back to the world of Music and Art. I will try my best to uplift the artists affected by the pandemic through some features and interviews through my music media project called The Showrunners. I have been featuring some amazing musicians and artists from our country and abroad.
The journey continues…
I do not want to tag myself as a DJ/producer. I am more interested to do a live/improvised set. Before the lockdown, I was told that I should be doing more DJ sets and exclusive live sets and that made sense to me. So, I did fair amount of research on this and I am lucky enough to be learning from my favourite musicians. Hopefully, I will be working more towards my live set more once this lockdown situation is eased. I might also be bringing more musicians onboard with upcoming releases of Project Hautewulf and its live sets.
For me Lockdown has been a great learning experience nd I am ready to take on the world with new challenges. The time is ripe for a new beginning where I have managed to bind together all may different passions together and give back to society too.