Hi, and welcome to #TalkbackTuesday. This week’s interview is with Mr. Arghyadeep Mitra. See his interview below.
Talkback Tuesday is a weekly interview with everyday people. It is always inspirational to look into the life of another person, and realize it is just as complex and large and confusing as your own.
1. For the readers, who are you, what do you do, and what is your current side project?
Hey there! I’m Arghyadeep Mitra, and I’m an apprentice luthier* at Indische Guitars, based in Kolkata!
On the side, I play the guitar in a metal band named Fallen Horizons!
[*A luthier is a maker of stringed instruments, such as guitars and violins.]
2. Tell me more about Indische Guitars. How did you get into building guitars, and what are the aspects that appeal to you? What makes being a Luthier interesting?
Indische Guitars is a custom shop. We build one-off instruments, each one tailored to the client’s specification. We do steel string acoustic and electric guitars and basses, nylon string classical and flamenco guitars, as well as not-so-guitarey stuff like ukuleles and electric cellos and upright basses.
I did my Bachelor’s degree in Economics, and was planning to sit for GMAT and do an MBA abroad. To that end, I spent some time working at Benetton, in sales, for work experience. During my time there, I figured out that what I really wanted to do was to build and play guitars, rather than sitting at a desk doing something I had absolutely no real interest in.
I quit Benetton after just over a month, and while doing my research on guitar building, I met a gentleman named Arnab Bhattacharya, who had been building guitars as a hobby for over a decade at that time. After a lot of discussions, and over a year and a half’s worth of planning and legwork, Indische Guitars was born.
Luthiery is a strange profession. After just a few months, you start looking at things differently. Where you earlier saw a door, now you see a nice piece of wood that would look awesome as a drop top. Or when you enter a music shop, you see a shiny guitar with a 5 digit price tag… and then you notice the neck is misaligned.
Luthiery is a strange profession. Where you earlier saw a door, now you see a nice piece of wood that would look awesome as a drop top.
After a while, spending the whole day cutting things up and joining them together, repeatedly, day in and day out, even your sense of touch becomes different. The other day I ordered a new phone, and the first thing I noticed was that the joints on it weren’t perfectly flush!
Wood is an interesting material to work with. No two pieces of wood are ever the same; even two billets from the same tree can have wildly varying behaviour. One piece of wood might cut and sand beautifully, the other might stop your blade mid stroke, another might self-destruct in your face leaving your hand full of splinters, and yet another might smell like a garbage heap when sanded.
What makes this work so satisfying however, is taking a bunch of disparate pieces of wood, “listening” to what they say as you work them with your tools, and then eventually transform them into an instrument that sings.
Even though I have worked on a multitude of guitars during my apprenticeship, the experience of seeing an instrument come to life still thrills me to the core.
3. The way you describe working with wood clearly indicates your artistic inclinations. As an artist, what would you say are the three things an artist should know or do to refine their skills?
- Practice, practice, practice: As important as creativity is, having a great idea is of no use if your hands cannot turn it into a corporeal object. No point hitting on a great melody if you cannot play it as it should be played, no point thinking up a great concept if you cannot draw it as it needs to be drawn. And so on. Perfect your control over your tools, so that your hands may never limit your imagination.
- Openness to experience: Regardless of your own personal tastes, I feel being open to different things allows one to build a greater bank that can be drawn on when trying to create something new. Don’t like punk music? No issue. Personal taste is personal taste. But don’t dismiss it out of hand…listen to it, understand it, assimilate it, then move on. Someday that understanding might come in handy!
- Determination and general doggedness: No great skill-set is ever built in a day. It can take years, even decades to master one’s craft. And even then, the learning never stops. The process of learning and getting better never stops as long as one is alive. So keep on practicing and trying to create, no matter how many failures you come along on the way…sooner or later, your work will improve, if you keep trying and practicing long enough.
4. Talk to me about Fallen Horizons. How did you start performing in a band? What draws you to metal music in particular?
My first band happened when I was in my first year in college. That one lasted only a year and a half, after which I never played in any band for an extended period of time.
FH started off as a bedroom project with a pair of classmates from [Don Bosco school], Souradeep Mitra and Manish Nel Chatterjee, and eventually snowballed into a full band. We are currently in the process of writing new material!
I’ve always been drawn to how energetic and powerful metal music feels to my ears, and modern metal has progressed to the point where one can find music that is tender, that is brutally angry and aggressive, and everything in between!
5. Great. Finally, do you have anything you’d like the audience to explore? It can be a business or movement, or it could be anything from a video to an idea.
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Next, check out the previous interview from last Tuesday with Jancy Mathew by clicking on the image below.