ARJUN: Jazz-Rock Fusion


Photo courtesy of Allison Collura.

You’ve said that “there’s so much talking out there, but there is just so much we can say without the words.” Is it a deliberate choice to have a band without voice? Have you considered collaborating with voice?

Some of my favorite bands, artists, some of the best music I’ve ever heard, had voice in it. There’s an overabundance of that, I feel. I get it all the time, why don’t you get vocals? Because if I got vocals, I wouldn’t be doing the instrumental thing, which is something very close and dear to me…It can get frustrating sometimes, only in the sense that the people who usually ask that question only listen to vocal music. And they’re missing out on so much more. Look at all the great classical music that is still great, that you can still listen to, all these great symphonies, there’s so much to get from that music.

Our music is very melodic. There’s a melody, and it’s arranged in a way like a contemporary pop-song or vocal-fronted song that has a melody, chorus, and bridge. It doesn’t get overly complex. The thing that resonated with me as a kid growing up with radio was the melody. I always hummed the melody. It was just from a very early age something that appealed to me, the instrumental sections in songs always spoke to me. So it’s kind of been a thing for me, a mission for me, to try to do something that’s different. And it’s not really that different, I’m definitely not the first person to do this. I think people should just give it a chance, you know? When it comes to music, you need to be open, it shouldn’t be this set thing.

On his musical inspiration:

It definitely started out with R&B, actually. And then it went into rock. And that’s when I got turned onto music in a very big kind of way and discovering all the prog-rock bands led me to jazz. And then figuring out that the two worlds collided, then the whole jazz-rock fusion thing ended up being the best thing I’ve ever heard.

On ARJUN’s sound:

I think we have a big sound. That’s why we can’t call ourselves jazz, it’s not jazz, we have elements of jazz but in that sense because we like to play loud, it’s rock. Anything that’s rock is loud, really, at the end of the day, I think.

How did you meet your current band members?

Man! Have you ever heard of the website Yeah, it’s amazing. Because those guys are my best friends now. Craigslist is pretty amazing. You just gotta commit to it, you gotta spend time on it…I found them. It was a long search. And thankfully the universe worked for us!

Allison Pao is a producer for WHRB Classical. You can listen to her feature, The Language of Music, on Fridays, 6-7pm.