An Interview with Nivid


Nivid is Aditya Virmani, a composer, multi-instrumentalist, and producer. His recorded work is a one-man project, and his live performances are curated with a specially assembled band – Devasheesh Sharma (guitars), Sudeep Saxena (drums), and Nihar Apte (bass). Inspired by the gnarled, intoxicating music of Nine Inch Nails, Nivid is the ferocious industrial rock soundtrack to an environment bristling with Hellish energy, and is a musical embodiment of an Indian population that deals with religion, politics, citizen’s rights, and status, on a daily basis.

We caught up with Nivid to discuss how it all began, the songwriting process, and current musical trends.

Tell us about how you started making music or what initially got you into music?
Back in 2008, I got my first Macbook. It opened many doors for me. I was very impressed by the possibilities it provided with the various packaged software it came pre-installed with. It was also my first time experimenting with samples and loops and layering my own ideas. This is also when I started building my first proper production setup and my curiosity levels were akin to that of a little child.

What is your typical songwriting process? Is it the same every time? Do you have any routines to get you in the creative frame of mind?
I typically maintain a journal of sorts with a lot of notes and lyrical ideas. I also try to get some writing done each week even if I am not working on Nivid material. It then mostly comes down to bringing the two together and combining the journal with the musical ideas and building on them. Of late, I have started using lyrical ideas as the main theme and dressing the score around it. In a way, I am reducing the quotient of chance in the entire process.

I tend to hit the studio every morning from 9AM until 12PM and then do any official work between 12-3PM including having lunch. I sit again from 3 until 6PM, hit the gym, have dinner, and spend some time again from 9- 11PM in the night. This is my usual schedule and I find I am most creative between the periods of 9AM- 12PM and 3- 6PM. No happy accidents.

Can you describe a pivotal moment in your career?
I learned a lot working with Mr. Kanwarjit Singh Sawhney who’s been a sort of a guide to me.

How important do you think publishing representation is for artists and composers?
A publishing team has been important because it covers up any legalities I might be overlooking and helps me to be more focused on the songwriting. It also helps to know that the publisher is actively pitching for you so there’s always a chance that an interesting project might come by which might not be from your immediate circle. Through representation, I know that there are professionals who are looking out for me and my interests. A great publishing team such as Anara also ensures that your works are duly registered.

Who would you say has been the greatest influence on your music?
Undoubtedly, Trent Reznor.

You’re from India, could you tell us what are the current musical trends in India? How do you think your music fits these trends?
India is poised to be the youngest country in the world with a median age of 28. India’s youth is multicultural, educated and very aware of the society they are a part of and actively creating. They are empowered, are talking about the issues which the society is facing- Violence, Religion, Disease, and Environment. This is reflecting heavily in the music of today. I try to reflect upon the narratives of disillusion with circumstance and existence in my work.

Do you have a favorite use of music in TV or Film?
The use of the track “Nun with a Motherfucking Gun” in the television show “Watchmen” scored by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. 
Some other great scores, the score of “Raat Akeli Hai” by Karan Kulkarni and “Paatal Lok” by Benedict Taylor. 
The score of “Tenet” by Ludwig Göransson was an aural treat. I am also a huge fan of the video game score of “Far Cry 5” by Dan Romer and “Doom” by Mick Gordon. I am also keeping my eyes out for Robin Finck and Cory Davis’s new gaming company EYESOut. The teaser is a treat to watch.

Do you have any advice for aspiring songwriters/composers?
Stoic advice – If you want to be a writer, keep writing.