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Mumbai's mellow keytarist from 'The Other People' muses over life beyond the stage

Tuesday, 22 July 2014 - 1:35pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna webdesk

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Music runs in his family blood. It all started when his grandmother, a musician from the Trinity College, started giving him Piano lessons when he was 9. Garth D’Mello’s blood and passion for music has earned him the fame of a musician today as a keyboardist and vocalist with a famous band - The Other People. His band frequents the list of gigs not just in the country but even abroad. And anyone who has attended his shows would have seen him move around the stage while playing his instrument-a moving keyboard!

When questioned about the observation, he exclaims, "Oh! I didn’t know anyone was interested to know about Keytar. It is plastic instrument and a combination of a keyboard and a guitar." Garth came across a keyboardist of a heavy progressive rock band use the Keytar for the first instance and that inspired him to experiment using the instrument. 

He says, "As a pianist, you are bound to be immobile on stage because of a 30kgs keyboard, while the rest of the band members get to move around a lot and have fun. A Keytar is just 3 kgs and you can move around and connect with the audience."

According to Garth, if one knows to move his fingers well around the keyboard, he can easily pick up the Keytar. Only thing that may differ is the hand positioning because in a keytar one has to play downwards. 

Garth has been learning western classical from a very early childhood. He is a trained vocalist and also knows how to play keyboard and a guitar. But he doesn’t have inkling for any traditional notes like Do, Rae, Me, Fa, So, La, Tee. What he loves, is the ‘blue note’; a flattened fifth or a sharpened fourth, which is off this traditional scale. 

'The Other People' happened to be his turning point at the age of 18. One of the members of the band was close to Garth and he went for their performance as a spectator. As a matter of fact, Garth got an opportunity to sing a song, on stage with the band and they were pretty impressed by his skills. Since the band was short a keyboardist, Garth fit their bill.

He goes back nostalgically to explain, "I was given a checklist of 30 songs before I reached for my first jamming session. I was very nervous as I had to prepare all of them. That is how it all began and now it has been 4 and half years with the band!" 

Apart from music, band and performances, what interests Garth is sound production and mixing. Collating like-minded people from across the country, Garth along with Zarir Warden initiated a start-up called ‘Purple Tape Productions’ six months ago. "Bands in India, who play Hindi or English songs do not get paid much. Also due to the overpowering influence of Bollywood, band artists don’t get much of limelight," he explains. Purple Tape thus started with the vision to help upcoming band artists in India with cost efficient production and mixing. 

As the conversation draws an end, Garth talks out of experience, "For young and budding bands, you should never trust or totally depend on record label companies. You need to research and find your own smart way to get up."

To end he quotes, "Being musician is not enough; you need to be a businessman as well. You album is your product not just work of art. It is something you need to sell."

Garth and the Other People will be playing next at Blue Frog on Saturday, July 26. Here's a sneak peak at one of their songs..

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