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Donn Bhat's Sophomore Album, Passenger Revelator

features Oct 13, 04:15pm

We spoke to Bombay-based producer, vocalist, guitarist, songwriter, Donn Bhat about his recently released sophomore album, Passenger Revelator, and his experience over the last few years, since the release of his debut, One Way Circle. Donn Bhat has arranged for a slew of album launch gigs across Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, and Delhi, aligned for the upcoming weeks. 
 Photo Courtesy: Bikram Bose

“I thought it was a good combination of tracks and music, to put out as an album right now,” says Bombay-based guitarist, vocalist, producer, and the Passenger Revelator spearhead, Don Bhat, about his sophomore album, Passenger Revelator. Titled after Donn’s musician bandwagon – which includes names like Suhail Yusuf Khan, Sarosh Nanavaty, Sankarshan Kini, Ashhar Farooqui, and more; both on stage and off – the successor to Donn’s debut 2006 album, One Way Circle, Passenger Revelator is a collection of songs that “sit well with each other” but don’t necessarily belong to the same genre or even style. “It’s sort of like a compilation or diary,” he says, “of the stuff that I’ve been up to all this while. Some of these songs were finished a few days ago, mixed a few days ago, and some of them were finished a year ago.”

The eleven-track record seems to reflect hugely upon Donn’s evolution in the last couple of years, both as a musician and a producer. “I think I can only imagine that I have – I don’t know if I have or not – evolved as a songwriter. As a producer and mixing engineer, and as someone who makes music to convey it the best way possible, I think in terms of that and technicality, there’s no doubt that I have improved.”  Donn maintains that his objectives from either perspective – as the producer, and as the musician – have remained at creating something that conveys a message best to it’s abilities; easier said than done Don admits. “Firstly being able to move yourself,” he says, “And then, if you are still moved by it over a long period of time, then you feel this song is something special, and that you should pursue it. For every song that I write man, there are like fifteen ideas that are dumped. And, being a songwriter/producer means that you have to do a lot of things yourself; there is no structure as such. So, a lot of stuff gets done simultaneously, and then goes back and gets revised.”

Passenger Revelator in Donn’s opinion reflects an array of influences that he has been exposed to over the years; from drum and bass, to folk music, to the sounds of Leonard Cohen and Nicolas Jaar, feeding his creativity both a musician and producer for this record. “With the song ‘Disco Disco’,” he says, “I was kind of stepping away from being loud – which is something I was never into to begin with – and kind of going into that analog and electro kind of vibe. I tried to record as much organic stuff as I could, and mix that into the [electro] stuff that I had.” The album, featuring instruments like the guitar, the drums, shakers, a cajón, and many more, was recorded at Donn’s home studio; which is the way he says he like to keep it. “Its all about learning,” he says, “I recorded everything at home; it was just that the idea of going to record at a really posh studio, and hiring it for a certain number of hours, all of that works; but, I like the grain in that [home] recording and I feel attached to the stuff that I record. I might not have done a great job recording it, but it gives you that little imperfection which might actually be what you’re looking for, instead of a studio with a perfect sound, perfect mics, perfect everything.” Donn’s crowd favorite track ‘Stars Align’ off of the album is one such example, and includes rustic samples recorded by Delhi-based electronica artist Ashhar Farooqui during his time in the hills. We tried to duplicate it [Ashhar’s recordings] in a posh studio in Delhi; we just couldn’t find that take that we wanted. And so, we went with the original file, and honestly, I can’t even tell the difference now.”

Donn Bhat played the first launch gig in Pune on October 10, at the Blue Frog; with a tour set across Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune, and Delhi, over the next two months. “It was brilliant man,” Donn tells us about his first launch gig in Pune. “I played with Ashhar after like a year and a half, we’ve been playing ‘Stars Align’ together for a while and I have never had him on board, although we tried to hook up something, but things like distances and logistics never worked out. We just kind of went for it, and it was awesome fun and we just can’t wait to take this forward.” At the moment the multi-faceted artist is already in the works on an upcoming untitled EP due in a couple of months. “I have four or five tracks ready,” Donn says, “which are sort of acoustic guitar heavy. I sort of want to mix it up with some electronic sounds also. I want to do that, and I want to do that in probably the next four months or so.”

Stream Passenger Revelator by Donn Bhat below:

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