It was a pleasure to listen to "Forth and Back", a 3 track EP released by the insanely talented Pranjal Uniyal who's modern-age percussive acoustic finger-styled tracks can put you in almost relaxed trance. Coming from the beautiful town of ‘Shimla’ in the Himalayas, Pranjal writes songs which narrate the story of a fictional character named ‘Rachanachar’. Hope you enjoy this interview.

Musicmandir - Hi Pranjal, please tell us about how and what got you into music?

Pranjal - In the earlier days, I was influenced by many rock and metal bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and System Of A Down, but later found Opeth to be a big influence. When I discovered Opeth’s music, I used to play it all day long, and started covering it on my electric guitar too. I started growling and writing some conceptual lyrics back then. Opeth still plays a lot of role in order to conceptualise things and look at them in such manner. Then one day, I discovered Ocean by John Butler, and I was moved by that musical genius. I couldn’t believe that acoustic guitar could be played in such a manner as well and a whole story could be told with just instrumental music. Later on, I started experimenting with a totally different approach towards music, storytelling and expressing, and went onto discovering many more Progressive metal acts and fingerstyle guitarists who helped in shaping my musical approach over the coming year.

Musicmandir - We've noticed a lot of folk influences in the music, is it intentional or was it part of the overall sound?
Pranjal - Not certainly! I don’t intend to move my hands in such manner, instead I leave them to play freely as they wish. I believe that an artist’s hands move according to his/her personality. Folk flows out of me, and I welcome it as it wishes to.
Musicmandir - Is it easier to tell a story through an instrumental track rather than vocals and lyrics?
PranjalEvery person is unique and creates something according to their habit(s). Some people are good with words because they grasp words and are more comfortable in delivering a message through a given set of words. While others can deliver a message without even saying a single word. Music is a language, and its job is to deliver a message. If instrumental music can communicate any such message efficiently, then I prefer avoiding words.

Musicmandir - Can you give us a sneak peak into how you compose a track?

PranjalI love trying out different tunings on guitar (both open and altered). By doing so, I get a completely new instrument with each new tuning and I feel like a beginner all over again. Then I start exploring the fretboard and select some notes which sound good to my ears, and while goofing around, some random riffs come into existence and from that moment I start composing a song. So, the initial idea is never intentional and I consider it as a gift from the universe, but embracing that idea and growing it into a song, this is where all those years of practice come to use. I try composing the most favourable sounding parts which resonate in my brain.

Musicmandir - Any exciting plans for 2019?

PranjalI’m considering 2019 to be THE year, when we start getting the story of 'Rachanachar' out to the masses all over the India. I want to play any possible gig where I can meet like minded people who appreciate art and can lend me their ears and soul for hearing this aural narrative.

MusicmandirCan you share with us some Indian artists you enjoy listening to?

Pranjal - I love listening to Pineapple Express, Samar Mehdi, Rishabh Seen, Shubhank Sharma, Kum Chirui and our label's (Pinecone Records) very own "The Reasonable Hope", with whom i recently had a chance to play at two different shows. I know there are a lot of great artists that I’m either forgetting of at this moment or haven’t discovered yet.