DTU Times interviewed Ram Sampath, music composer and producer, who was invited as a speaker at TEDxDTU'19.
You started out in the advertisement industry and worked your way through Bollywood to become an established music composer. How would you describe your journey?
I believe that my journey has been varied. I started composing at the age of 16 and tried out a variety of things. I always wanted to create an independent scene in India which was not based on English music. My first interest was non-film work and I did some independent albums. Advertisement used to pay my bills and I would pursue my interest by composing music for albums. Advertisement is a great training ground as you are paid to learn different genres. I am always thankful for that and it has been rewarding for me to work in that industry. In India, films and Bollywood is the next logical step and what is important is that you also need to meet the right people and start with the right project to work on. I find the technique and technology in music to be fascinating. I am not just interested in doing the songs for the film but also the background and music score. I am also excited to see the increase in importance given to the background score of a movie in Bollywood recently.
You have worked with many eminent and well-known personalities in Bollywood. Who was the most fun to work with and in what way?
I have worked with both Amir and Shah Rukh as producers on different projects and have enjoyed their company. My relationship with Amir is pretty tight and we have a personal relationship. His primary drive is to always enhance the story telling experience. Over the years, I have learned quite a few things from him. He always tells that the best idea in the room always wins whoever the source maybe. This is a very important lesson as it leads to everybody collaborating and brainstorming together; hierarchies are also minimized.
You followed your passion in life and chose music as a career. How often would you recommend choosing an unconventional path as one’s profession?
I would recommend it to every human being to always follow their passion because the only safe path in life is the risky one. If you are not happy, no amount of money can compensate for that fact. I believe the new generation should understand that a person can have multiple careers in a lifetime. If you’re 30 and you decide to follow a new career path then that is okay too as long as you are not frivolous.
Who would you say are your idols in the industry and how did you decide to follow your passion for music?
Well, if I start listing my heroes it would go on and on. But I can definitely say that the most exciting thing for me was the integration of technology into music. It got me thinking about taking music as a career. The first question that parents ask is if you can make a living out of it. Technology helped me answer that question. I believe that I am still one of the few musicians who is adept in both the creative as well as the technical aspects of music. I not only compose but also mix and master my own songs. I am also one of the few people outside America who works with Apple on their music software and product development. I feel great pride in being connected to music in the technological sense as well. Most of the youth nowadays are technically well versed with music and one of the odd things that is happening right now is that composing may be suffering but the music production is surely on the rise.
What message would you like to give to the college students?
You have to be brave in life and try to trust your own intuitions. You may feel that you are swimming against the tide but you might be the only one swimming towards safety. You never know how things are going to work out in life and the important thing in life is to always enjoy. I would also advice the youth to try and see things through. One of the big problems in India is that we are not closers. Be a closer. It is important to be committed in life towards your goal.