Los Angeles, June 24: He's the premier film composer in India, perhaps the country's top musician overall—but A.R. Rahman is awed by the company he's keeping in his new super-group Super Heavy.
The band—based on a name of one of their songs on their upcoming album—is also comprised of Mick Jagger, Joss Stone, Dave Stewart and Damian Marley.
They recorded over one and a half years—keeping even the concept of the group secret from the world all the while.
Rahman says the group's album is done and is expected to be released in September.
“First of all it seemed very surreal. I suddenly got a call from Dave Stewart saying that Mick (Jagger), me, Joss (Stone) and Damian (Marley) are in a band and we want you to be a part of that—a member of that,” he said. “So I said OK, let's check it out. Something new in the musical journey. So we met here. We were jamming for a week.”
Rahman said he learned about performing from his fellow group members.
“When I was young I was in a band and all this stuff. I've been mostly a studio musician and slowly branching out as a performer. So being with the real biggies ... and culturally contributing and musically contributing to something which is complex yet very accessible for people to listen to.”
Jagger is not necessarily the lead singer on the project. Rahman fronts two songs on the album, and Marley fronts others. The main instruments in the songs are guitar, drums and Jamaican-styled keyboards.
Rahman primarily supplied the sonic bedrock of the tunes, he said.
“I think there's a foundation of—all the foundation of ideas are basically grooveable and harmonically accessible,” Rahman said. “But they're sprinkled—all the other influences are sprinkled to make it more interesting.”
It's still unclear when Super Heavy will give their first performances. They're working on their first music video. Meanwhile, though, Rahman finds himself leading the Los Angeles Philharmonic in his second performance at LA's famed Hollywood Bowl.
It will feature “probably all the pieces I've done in movies for the past 20 years, some of the most important ones. We have clips from the movies. It's something which I'm looking forward to. I've never done close to this before.”
Rahman has also branched out beyond composing in recent months. He started his own production company and has ideas for two films that will revolve around his music.
“When you get bored, you want to change. And this change came across because for the past 10 years when I used to make these long trips to the US and UK, you are up in the air, you get all these ideas, script ideas,” he said. “I was thinking why can't we use music like this, why can't we use it like this. These questions start coming, keep coming frequently. And then I started developing some story ideas. That's when I realized that we should in a small way start a movie company, which would just give ideas. I don't have the money to put into it.”
Rahman's Bowl performance is on 10 July. AP