Vedant Joshi is a singer, songwriter and keyboardist based in Los Angeles and is originally from Mumbai, India. In Los Angeles, he has performed at various venues like House of Blues, The Mint, Livehouse Hollywood and Silverlake Lounge. He has also performed across India for over Four years and has played at major festivals. The band ‘The Pickled Octopii’ classifies themselves as an Alternative Rock Band which has Toured the country. Being a MI Hollywood graduate Vedant is musically an expert in playing Solo/ Duo and full Band sets in front of large crowds. Let’s hear more about Vedant and his music by diving into the Interview below.
Questions and answers
Can we start by talking about the significance of music in your life? How did it start, and when?
It all started when I picked up the keyboard at a very young age. My parents are big time music Lovers, and I grew up listening to Classic rock and 80’s pop! I started singing only when I was 16 and started performing professionally when I was 19. Music is the best way I know how to express myself. I love how you can listen to a song, and it takes you away from the world for a while. I feel alive when I am on the stage playing music. It’s bizarre to me how we can hear our own story in someone else’s song, and that’s the kind of music I want to write.
Tell us the story behind the formation of your band ‘The Pickled Octopii’ while you were under vocal training from TSM.
The band started as a school project wherein we had to create three original songs in 3 months. We went on to perform at the Bandra Bandstand in association with RED FM 93.5 and a show at The Blue frog! I think the Blue Frog show was when we knew we were on to something. We connected as musicians and as human beings and were proud of the songs we had written in just a short time. A couple of months later, we won the Nationwide band competition at BITS Hyderabad festival- Pearl.
Which musicians influence you and what genres of music do you prefer?
I listen to everything from Jazz to hip hop! I grew up listening to classic rock, and 80’s Pop- The Beatles, Queen, Journey, Abba, Michael Jackson and The Doors had a massive impact on me growing up. I got a lot more into Neo-Soul and Alternative rock when I started playing music. Bruno Mars, Hiatus Kaiyote, Muse, Daniel Caeser, The Strokes, etc. are some more of my inspirations. With regard to vocalists- Freddy Mercury, Bruno Mars, and Matt Bellamy (Muse) are my favourites.
You performed for the One Billion Rising Initiative that promotes equality of all women. Talk to us about the importance of that sentiment of giving back.
I feel like we as artists have the biggest platform to make our voices heard and it’s so important to give back, in whatever way we can. I performed with my band on Valentine’s day to raise money for V-Day, the global movement to end violence against women. I played alongside a few other bands, and we ended up raising $1000 for the cause.
How do you recreate your magic while covering a track?
For me, it’s really important to make any cover my own. I try putting my spin on a song with a lot of different techniques- reharmonization, slowing it down, changing the melody or even changing the feel and time signature. I feel like an artist needs to bring his artistry even while covering a song.
You play the keyboard as well. Can you shed light on the role of the instrument in your life and artistry?
The keyboard was the first musical instrument I picked up and fell in love with it instantly. I started playing when I was eight years old and haven’t stopped since. I feel like the keyboard gives me endless possibilities, especially while accompanying myself while I sing. Recently, I have been exploring Neo-Soul/Jazz harmonies and been trying to use them in my own music.
Talk to us about performing a John Mayer Tribute. How did it come about, and what influence has he had on your work?
I’ve wanted to do a Mayer tribute for the longest time, and it came about when I decided to make it happen. I formed a band that I thought would be perfect for it. Ended up doing it at my favourite venue in LA, ‘Whisky a Go-Go’, and we also sold out our pre-sale tickets which were pretty surreal. Definitely amongst my top 3 shows! John Mayer is someone I admire as a songwriter, guitarist and a vocalist. I love how multi-dimensional he is as an artist.
Which has been one of the most memorable venues you’ve ever performed in and why?
There are so many. The Whisky a Go-Go and Viper Room stand out for me. 2 legendary venues on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood. I have performed there multiple times. Apart from being the launching pads for bands like The Doors, Guns & Roses, Led Zeppelin, RHCP, AC/DC and the likes, there’s this energy there that’s infectious! Have had some memorable nights there.
Could you walk us through the process of composing a song to winning the Nationwide Band competition while being under tremendous pressure?
At the time I was part of a band called ‘The Pickled Octopii’. We all met in music school and started writing together. I still remember we almost missed the city round of the competition but I’m so glad we didn’t. Playing an all-original setlist (except for one cover) to over four thousand people was an incredible feeling. Since we won the competition, we got to open for a well known German band on the closing night.
What are some of the upcoming projects that you are working on, and we can look forward to?
Currently, I’m focused on writing and releasing music. I’m rebranding myself, and it’s going to be very different from the kind of music I’ve written in the past. Call it cliche, but I feel like I’ve finally discovered my sound. I’m also excited to start performing and recording with a lot of different artists that I play keyboards for- here in Los Angeles.
1. Your worst performance ever?- It was a private party gig, that’s all I’m going to say
2. One artist you listen to at any given point in time?- The Beatles
3. Best song that you have written- Fly
4. Favourite hair colour –Blue, what it currently is
5. 3 words that describe you best –Social, Funny, Compassionate