INTERVIEW 23:
IP SINGH

  1. Tell us your story?

I’m from a very long line of tailors which can be traced back for generations. Things are starting to change in India, but when I left school you were expected to follow your family’s path. I studied textile and fashion design, but I knew my heart wasn’t in it. I didn’t work in the fashion industry for long, but those skills came in handy for my true passions of puppetry.

I started out by composing music scores and designing costumes for puppet shows that ranged from Shakespeare to European & Indian Folk tales. I got my first big break producing a political satire enacted by puppets for the Indian television station NDTV. The show was inspired by the long running BBC hit ‘Spitting Image’.

While all this was happening, I along with some immensely talented friends co-founded one of India’s first alternative rock bands- ‘menwhopause’. I stayed with the band for 18 years and we released 1 EP and 3 albums. We were signed with EMI Virgin, voted the best Indian rock band by Jack Daniels and toured all around the globe.

Now I am certified music therapist, sound design educator and an independent musician. In my studio I am the composer, sound designer and sound engineer. My body of work is in the realm of information, education, music therapy and entertainment. I just released my first solo album- ‘The Wild Blue Yonder’.

 

  1. The Interpreters spend a lot of time trying to understand our clients’ customers and segments within the market. How do you get to know the people that listen to your music?

Digital technology has made musicians and listeners closer than ever before. Before we relied on data from our agents or got to know what was working by chatting to people after gigs. Now there are so many platforms for music makers to become their own distributers and we get real time data of through web traffic recorders. Just to give you an example, Spotify provide artists a weekly, bi-weekly and monthly report of how many people streamed their music, where they are from, their gender, age and what types of music they listen to. Before I could only get this information through guesswork or by paying a lot of money. Now I have all this is available at the click of a button. No matter how purist you are about technology and data, nothing beats a live gig, that’s when you really get to know what people think of your music.

 

  1. We do a lot of problem solving at The Interpreters so we’re interested in how other people solve problems. How do you approach problem solving?

I strongly believe that many problems occur due to synthesis conflicts or lack of balance. To me problem solving is part of a bigger process, and that process is in place to make the future better. The future of anything I do depends on how evolved my process is. To ‘evolve’ I try to get a sense of the root cause of any problem, big or small. I’ve found that the big problems tend to arise if smaller ones are not dealt with straight away. One must have a foresight not only to solve current problems but also keep potential future problems in mind.

 

  1. Interpretation is subjective but a key part of our analysis. We’re always interested in the ways other people might interpret key trends or things of interest from their specialism. How do you interpret the changes in the way people consume music today?

I love this question! I have been around for 4 decades and my relationship with music started early on. The music industry has seen many changes from Vinyls – tape spools – radio – pocket radios – cassette player – walkman – boombox – music – hifi systems – cd players – walkmans – computers – internet – YouTube – streaming sites – mp3 players – iPod – mobile phones and most importantly live shows\Music festivals.  During my childhood my mum got me hooked on to the radio. She would sing along with her favourite old Hindi and Punjabi songs- I loved it and I sang along too. Music defines one’s identity and that’s why personalisation has become king. Now you can be on platforms where you see what music your friends listen to and algorithms are constantly feeding new music based on your behaviour.

Music consumption isn’t just about entertainment, the use of in music in healthcare is a growing industry. I am a certified music therapist and apart from utilising music as a form of therapy, I spend time researching the benefits of brainwave entrainment, which is a method to tap into the brain’s frequency to alter the state of mind and aid treatment of many neural, physical and emotional conditions.

 

  1. Because we firmly believe that Information is Beautiful, we would like to give you a copy of Information is Beautiful, ‘a stunning visual journey through the most revealing trends, fascinating facts and vital statistics of the modern world’. Because first impressions matter, have a scan through and tell us which visualisation caught your attention and why?

First of all, thanks for this beautifully curated ‘Info sutra’- it’s 255 pages of blissful information and entertainment. It looked overwhelming at first, but once I started reading it, I didn’t close it once, it is so good! For me there were quite a few interesting ones but the one which stood out for me was WEB: The One Machine, Map of The Internet. I love it because it had very little text and a full blown abstract artistic summation. I could very easily frame it and hang it on the wall. It does not follow a pattern of circles and boxes like most of the other visualisation did. The ‘One Machine’ is aptly titled as the internet has no borders or boundaries.