If musician Papon (Angaraag Mahanta) could have his way, he’d be happy making music tucked away in a jungle. But because that idea is not entirely practical he does the next best thing: travel and perform in music festivals that are set amid nature. Like the just concluded Storm Festival in Napoklu, Coorg. “I am genuinely a nature person” is how he puts it even as he sits down to chat with DNA. “I guess you could say I delayed my music career because I was loved the jungles back home so much that I didn’t want to leave them,” he says good humoredly.
“I love forests, hills even more so and that is why I love performing in open-air music festivals. The energy levels are different, the people are more receptive, it is like a picnic,” he chimes.
Talking about music with Papon invariably brings in the question of his multi-collaborations with artistes as varied as singer Shilpa Rao, Karsh Kale, Indian Ocean’s Susmit Sen and Midival Punditz. Quiz about why he does them enough to earn him the sobriquet ‘serial collaborator’ and he says, “I like to do what I like to do. That said, it’s not like I take everything that comes my way.
Neither is it that collaborator is my middle name. Yes, working with other artistes helps one grow but I never plan them. These opportunities just happen to me and this might be because others think I am easy to work with,” he wonders loudly.
Indie-music making aside, there’s also his fledgling playback singing career in Bollywood to talk about. So, is he liking the experience? “I am liking it,” he easily admits, adding, “Bollywood today is not what it was 10 years ago. The industry today is opening up to the kind of music I relate to and I count myself lucky that whatever work has come my way has been something I can relate to.”
Finally, we ask him about his forthcoming projects. Preferring to keep an air of mystery around it he says, “I am working on my current album, Story Now. I am also making music for a film and then there are two h-u-g-e projects that I am currently doing but I can’t talk about them yet!”