Born and raised in India, I come with a unique blend of musical influences across varied genres which helps me adapt to all kinds of styles and add a unique signature sound to your tracks. I produced my band's album which hit #1 on iTunes music in India and we've also appeared on the cover page of Rolling Stone magazine in 2012.
Hi. My name is Varun Murali and I am a guitarist, songwriter and Producer from Bangalore, India. I have been playing the guitar since 2003 and I play professionally and tour with my band all over the country and abroad. We have released 3 full length albums and singles so far.
My musical influences are Joe Satriani, Joe Bonamassa, John Mayer, Dave Matthews band, Karnivool, Sting, Slash, Muse, Radiohead etc.
I also have a Diploma in Music Production from PointBlank music along with studying and learning production under many individual producers which has led me to produce many songs at my studio (The Red Music Box) for many artists. I am officially supported by Gibson and Orange amps.
I'd love to play over your track and help you take your song to the next level. Hit me up!
Click the 'Contact' above to get in touch. Looking forward to hearing from you.
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Interview with Varun Murali
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: The recent album I did with my band - Swarathma. It is our 3rd full length album. I produced the entire album, recorded it and mixed it at my studio. I also played all the guitar parts and arranged the strings and synths on the album. I love how it has come out and I was so happy when it made it to #1 on iTunes music.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I am producing a 10 song album for an upcoming singer-songwriter and also in the writing stage for my band's next EP.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both. As long as we're achieving the sound in our head, I don't think it matters how it was achieved. I believe, the focus should be on the song and not the gear.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: Trust me to give you my 200% and suggest the best possible options.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: That I get to do what I love. It is fuelled by passion and doesn't feel like a typical job.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Can I sit in on the sessions while you're working - My answer is always, I prefer working alone and focusing without distraction. So if you really think you can be so quiet and not make your presence felt in the studio, then sure. If not, can I ask you to wait in the foyer area until I finish my tracking work? :)
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: I can take an average or badly written song and turn it into a great sounding track. That's never gonna work no matter who you take it to.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: 1. What is the song about? 2. What kind of arrangement do you have in mind? 3. What do you want your audience to feel when they listen to it? 4. What kind of emotions do you wish to invoke through the song? 5. Do you have any references to what you have in mind?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Take time out to think and write down what do you exactly imagine in your song, write them down. If you're unable to explain using words then share links to songs where you like a certain part, you love the way certain instruments sounds or a reference track which is close to what you have in mind. This really helps us work towards the right direction and avoid a lot of back and forth right from the beginning.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: My Guitar, a delay pedal and an amp, audio interface and a laptop (Assuming there is power in this desert island)
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I started off learning and playing the guitar around 2003 when I was in college. I played with my college friends back then and we participated in competitions etc and around then I decided music is what I want to do for the rest of my life. So I started working on my skills not just as a guitar player but also as an overall musician, understanding the importance of music production, songwriting, recording, mixing etc and how all of these can help me and influence the way I work keeping the final picture in mind right from the beginning. I started touring professionally with my band - Swarathma since 2008 or so and we played all over the country and we played abroad - The great escape festival, Love box festival, Sutasi and so many more. We also had the opportunity to work with the legendary John Leckie and Dan Austin and have them produce 2 songs for us. All these experiences added to how I learnt being comfortable and operating with confidence in a studio as well as on stage. Additionally the training I received from PointBlank Music School, Jordan Valeriote and Graham Cochrane really pushed my skills to a different level.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: My style is a mix of influences like Joe Satriani, Slash, Dave Matthews, John Mayer, Sting etc to name a few. I love riffs as much as I love simple finger picking chords and adding textures and layers like Radiohead or Muse. I love using sound to add textures that brings life to the music.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I'd love to work with Muse. They're currently my favourite band and I love their music. I'd love the opportunity to work with them in some way and learn from that experience of just watching them do what they do so well. It's so unique and sounds like nothing else out there, in their own way.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Spend more time recording/capturing sounds correctly and commit to it at an early stage and not follow the 'do it later' or 'fix in the mix' approach. This single tip has brought in a massive shift in the quality of music production for many people. Also, sometimes, less is more. So play to the song and not to your ego.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I work on Pop, Rock, Folk, Acoustic, Singer Songwriter to name a few.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Adapting to various styles of music, catching up/understanding very quickly what the artist has in mind, super tight performance over click tracks.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: What I bring to a song is a understanding of what the song requires without letting my musical ego get in the way by retaining the feel and mood of the song with my choice of effects and tones while adding my signature flavour to the tracks. Since I grew up in a country like India which has so many different kinds of music right from Bollywood, Classical, Pop, Jazz, Rock, Blues and what not. It has helped me adapt to various styles of music no matter what comes my way and still find a way to make it sound unique .
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: My work process starts with a detailed discussion with my client, we spend time understanding the song, musical influence and just get into a common musical headspace before I even get into what type of guitar playing, what gear, amps, mics etc. I take it forward from their and discuss ideas with the artist and then get into tracking/producing/arranging etc.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: My studio set up consists of 2 rooms - control room area (12.5 x 15 feet) and performance area (15 x 19 feet). I can record live drums here too and also helps me record guitar or bass amps with enough space to have room/ambient mics etc (whenever required) All the channels are being recorded mainly through my trusty 2 racks of Universal Audio Apollo 8p into my DAW (Logic Pro X or Pro tools) monitored using a pair of Dynaudio monitors. I use a whole bunch of microphones by varied brands like Rode, Shure, Sennheiser and AKG. I use Native Instruments Komplete bundle for most of my virtual instrument needs alongside other reputed stuff like GGD for drums, Spectrasonics Stylus for percussions etc and use a Native Instruments S61 controller to do all the manual programming. I also have a Arturia MicroBrute and a Waldorf Blofeld for some of my synth needs when I feel like using a hardware counterpart and take a break from the software synths I use. I also use Soundtoys plugins extensively for a whole bunch of creative effects etc. I use Gibson, Musicman and Taylor guitars at the studio along with Orange amps and some of the UA amp emulations via their unison technology.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Joe Satriani, Andy Timmons, Muse, Karnivool, Dave Matthew Band, Lucy Rose, Radiohead, Hillsong, Elevation Worship music, Gungor, Daughter etc
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I play guitar over their tracks - Electric, Acoustic, Nashville tuned. Sometimes I end up playing the Ukulele as well. Apart from this, I also produce and arrange music for my clientele's tracks when they reach out to me/drop into my studio with their songs (Especially for solo or duo musicians who don't have access to a band or session musicians) Apart from this, I record and mix tracks at my studio - The Red Music Box.