I recommend you light some candles and immerse yourself into the gentles waves of this guitar playing…Simply stunning.
Tell us a little about yourself and were you can be found online.
My name is AJ Satsangi, I am the composer, producer, and I guess the main guy in ‘The Ajay Project’. I’d like to think of myself as a storyteller, who expresses his thoughts through music (it’s a universal language with no boundaries of genres). I created ‘The Ajay Project’ for 2 reasons:
1) I wanted to make a project where my music collides with other musicians, to create my vision but at the same time, showcase the individual band or artist.
2) No one can spell my last name to save their life, so I have to come up with something easy.
My website- http://theajayproject.com/
My Facebook page- https://www.facebook.com/AJAYProject
Who are your musical heroes and influences? Why?
My musical heroes are some of those musicians who have changed the music industry. Those that changed the way we perceive music, and what we want from music. Since the beginning of time, music has been played to celebrate, whether it be celebration for a new season, good harvest, new birth, etc. It then evolved into a society that we have written music for a specific gathering like classical music. Also march music for unifying masses, whether it is for a Nazi gathering or for the non-violent protest led by Mahatma Gandi or uniting people in the church. Music started with a specific point and was mostly written for positive causes/moments with major harmony.
Eventually, we realized the true nature of life’s ups and downs, and then we explored the minor harmony and entered the romantic era. Then it combined with some folk music and evolved into jazz and blues, which talks about daily struggles. This gave birth to the rock era, which evolved into metal music, which is related with the darker side of the life, this is contradictory to the origins of music. Of course we have electronic, funk and contemporary music, which is about material things and living in the moment. So to answer your question my musical influences are people who reinvented the way we perceive music. Some of my favorite artists are Joe Hisaishi, Hans Zimmer, John Williams, Linkin Park, Joe Satriani, David Maximichi, Yanni.
Do you have any advice for someone just getting started in the music business?
Just ask yourself these three questions
- What do you want/who do you want to be?
- What do have now? (Identify your talent and what you enjoy doing)
- What are the steps to becoming who you want to be?
If you ask yourself these three questions then you’ll have a clear path of what you should do. Along the way, you are going to make some stupid decisions and find yourself in a completely different direction. Just stop and ask yourself those same three questions and then take action. Most importantly, “Believe in your decision”.
What piece of advice did you ignore that you wish you hadn’t?
When I went to the music school, I wanted to be the best guitar player in the world, but after so many years I realized that I am a composer. It’s the composing process that I enjoy most. Guitar has been an intermediary for me. John Mayer and I had similar goals, but after 6 years of intense guitar study he became a singer-songwriter. Now I understand that playing guitar for 6 yrs. It made him what he is now, but in my case I am no John Mayer. 😛 I wish I could have saved myself from the mental stress and self hatred, because I was doing what wanted but I was not happy or fulfilled from it.
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Do you have a greatest gig story or worst gig horror story you’d like to share?
Ironically my greatest and worst gig horror story is the same one. I wanted to make a song for my mom and the concept soon evolved. I decided to write the song for all the mothers in the world, so I wanted to translate the song into 10 different languages.
When someone buys the song the proceeds for that track go to a women’s empowerment charity in that particular country. So it was my best/greatest gig as it’s a song as it pays tribute to moms all around the world, also while giving to a good charity for years to come.
So, it will make much more sense if the song was released before Mothers Day, which was May 11th 2014 and I was finished writing it by Feb. 28th. I still had to finish the production, recording, mastering, etc. By the end of March I found all the talented singers and it was their job to translate the song into their own language. The difficulty here was to make the words fit the song and at the same time keep the meaning and message across the different languages. The process took longer then anticipated and it was already the end of April. Somehow I managed to finish the recording and had 10 days to finish the mixing & mastering. I sent it to a third party to be mixed and mastered and it turned out horrible. I finished the track 2 days before the release day.
Since then I have never hired a professional guy to mix or master. I was able to get someone else to help me, it went online the day of but I missed several deadlines for the international markets.
In short, I am most proud of the song for the concept and the hard work but disappointed that I couldn’t get it out in time to share with more people.
Do you have any other hobbies other than playing music? Collect stamps? Collect hats from off the side of the road? Draw pictures of peckers or boobs? Make sock puppets? Sit in the dark and eat Cheetos?
I’ve loved watching movies, since I was about 4 years old. I have always been fascinated by drawing and painting, and I would recreate something I would see in a movie on paper. To this day, I see music as an audiovisual and try to present my music that way as well.
When I create a song, I visualize and write a story in my head with details of angles and cinematography. Then I make it come alive through music. I love drawing and visual aspects, which is why I also design my own album art.
I also have a Bachelors Degree in Electrical & Electronics Engineering. Sometimes I like to make my own gear, like guitar pedals and stuff.
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What do you think about the current music scene or lack of? Care to address that?
Well, I feel like the current situation of the music industry is kind of similar to of the earth. We know it’s out of whack but progressing with technology; however, we are lagging in the steps to restore the natural balance. We understand what it uses to be like but we aren’t sure how to get back to that point.
Do you think reality shows like American Idol, X Factor and The Voice have helped or hurt the music industry as a whole?
Music has been a form of entertainment, since the beginning of time. Good or bad the public likes the entertainment factor. If a person is on a show like this and gets discovered out of the thousands than I think it’s great.
What is your opinion of unauthorized music downloads?
I am not a huge artist, and I am not selling enough so it does hurt me when someone illegally downloads. I understand that it is a serious issue, but I am from India, before the release of ITunes, every song was sold for 0.99 cents, which is approx. 60 rupees, which you can buy a decent hearty breakfast. Don’t even ask about how difficult it is to buy new CD. I remember before I had Internet in my house, I use to listen to English music on a bootleg cassette tape that my older cousin got from his friend. To be honest, I was about 11 years old and that was when I was first exposed to English music. So if a guy like me on the other side of the world, who has the talent and the hunger for music but not the resource, then I guess that’s the only exception.
Tell us something about you that we wouldn’t expect to hear.
Hum, well if we go deep and a little personal, I have dyslexia, ADHD & bipolar disorder, but at the same time because of my life experiences, I’ve kind of developed skills to cope and be functional.
Hypothetical situation. You’re on Gilligan’s Island and you get to hook up with only one of the survivors… Which one and why?
To be honest, I have no f*n’ clue what Gilligan’s Island is! I goggled it and it showed me a picture of a bunch of old ass people (not trying to hurt any one’s feelings, that is just my 1st honest reaction). So to answer your question I have no clue who they are or what there characters are, but if have to hook up with one of them, I’ll figure it out on the island and let you know when that happens. 😛
Do you know what a vinyl album is and have your ever purchased one? If so, what was it?
I saw vinyls in movies when I was in India. When I moved to US, I was in a music school and a friend of mine had a huge collection, he played me some and I immediately fell in love. Prior to that I had never heard of or seen a vinyl player or even a vinyl. But even though I loved it, I was never able to afford it. When I have extra money is usually goes to more gear. As a reminder of buying a vinyl player one day, I bought a vinyl album for 98 cents I bought George Benson “Breezin”. I keep it next to my table as an inspiration.
You’re marooned on an island with Justin Bieber. Do you choke him out the first night in his sleep or what?
Tempting, naaa, JK. To be honest, I’ve only heard “Baby”, and it was definitely meant for 13-year-old girls and to get him famous. I guess I would have done the same thing at that age, except it would be a rock song. 😛 haha
So to answer your question, I’d talk to the guy, try to find out who he really is behind the mask that the industry wants him to wear. Maybe collaborate and show him some real music 😛 hahaha of course we have to find a way off that island 1st 😛
What is your opinion of Miley Cyrus?
I am a really straightforward guy, and I’m not dumb enough to fall for this gimmick of the industry. What I’m trying to say is, from the music stand point I’m really not the kind of person who enjoys that kind of music. But from the appearance perspective, a lot of people hate Miley for her new image. I want to know if she is this girl that we all adored or this fake person. All I can say is god bless her 😛
Which would you rather hear in concert? Lip-synching or real vocals?
Ohh easy, real voice any day. I don’t listen to music where the artist is not talented enough to perform live. To me when I go to a concert it’s like watching a movie as compared to reading a book. You might find much more details in a book but when you want a movie its much more accelerating, same thing when listening to your favorite record or hearing it played live.
Who, or what, is the next big thing?
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I don’t follow the mass trends, so I don’t know what is going to be the next big thing. What I do know is that due to technology every day, more and more people are getting access to music and they are making their own fusion of different genres of music. Indian music is not all classical & Bollywood, there are artists who are making Hindi jazz-blues songs and Chinese music is not all oriental, they are fusing it with western music. So I think a new age era of different and tasty fusion is the next big thing, for me.
One artist you can’t get enough of and can’t live without is… Why?
Pink Floyd, I can’t get enough of them, it’s like whenever I listen to their music it takes me to a different place. It’s like they are my gateway to Narnia 😛
Confession time. Share a secret about yourself.
I always say that ‘I am making music for myself to satisfy my needs, for personal pleasure’ but I’d really like people to like my music. I don’t care if they like me or not, I really want them to like my music, I know that’s every musicians/artists dream, but it was not mine originally. Due to the circumstances I grew up in, I just wanted to prove to myself that I can do it; the audience came into the picture later.
Favorite movie of all time and why?
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If I have to pick one then that would be School of Rock, because every time I watch it, it motivates me, makes me happy and tells me that music is what I want to do.
Our last question is called “Shout It Out Loud”. It’s where you get to talk about whatever you want to talk about. So go ahead and “SHOUT IT OUT LOUD”!
Be yourself and do what you think you where born to do, don’t hold back, you may not fit in the society but if you have talent and you try hard and long enough you’ll make your own social group. ‘If you’ve been given wings, that means you are meant to fly’ maybe not today, not tomorrow but with hard work one day you will, cause that’s what you are suppose to be.