Quan Bay is a music recording duo based in Toronto, Canada. The two comprise of Aniruddha who moved to Toronto from Assam, India, and Tamara, a Toronto native. Together known as Quan Bay, they have scored the National Award-winning feature in India, Song of the Horned Owl, as well as the feature, The Ravening (Aamis), which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2019 in the international competition section. Their latest feature composition, In the Land of Poison Women, will be screening at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in November, 2019. The duo recently worked for the film ‘Aamis’ presented by Anurag Kashyap and are on a high now.
In an exclusive Q/A with IWMBuzz.com, Quan Bay opens up on their journey so far, experience with Anurag Kashyap, their future plans and a lot more.
How does it feel to be associated with a project which has Anurag Kashyap’s name associated with it?
It’s an honor to be associated with Anurag Kashyap’s film. We love his films. For Aniruddha especially, growing up in India, seeing his films which are modern and universal, while still being distinctly Indian in tone and flavour was a revelation. One of the most distinctive things about his films for us is his use of music. For example the music in ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ is both modern and classical at the same time. We believe that’s a good description of what we tried to achieve as well, in our own music.
Was taking up music as a profession a difficult task for you both?
Music is something that we are both passionate about. Aniruddha has been writing and making music since he was a teenager, and I studied classical piano. It’s easy to do something if you love and enjoy it. That said, it wasn’t always easy finding our signature tone and sound. Getting projects in the industry, of course, is really difficult. There is so much hard work, but also so much luck involved in being able to work in the industry. We are excited and thankful for every opportunity we get to keep working on music professionally.
Who are the musicians in the industry you’ve always looked up to?
We look up to so many musicians- in the field of composers in films, some of our favorites are Bhupen Hazarika, A.R. Rahman, Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Jonny Greenwood among others. We also look to contemporary pop artists for inspiration as well.
Was it easy or difficult to create musical content for an Assamese film? Did you try to incorporate their culture in your music?
This isn’t the first Assamese film we have scored. Aniruddha is actually from Assam, and growing up, he listened to a lot of Assamese music. We have previously incorporated Assamese instruments and tones in the soundtrack for Dau Huduni Methai, a Bodo language film, and we have even sampled old Assamese songs in our own music. For Aamis specifically, Bhaskar had a very specific vision. Although the film has elements that are unique to the north east of India, the story and the themes could really be set anywhere. So it was more important for us to produce a score that could be universally relatable.
What made you guys choose the film?
This was the easiest choice ever! Tammy saw Kothanodi in 2015 on Netflix. She loved it so much, she watched it three times. When we came to Assam in 2016 to attend Dau Hudini Methai’s premiere which is a different film that we scored, we were told by the director, Manju Borah that Bhaskar Hazarika would be in attendance that night. After the film premiere, we went over to him and introduced ourselves. We told Bhaskar how much we loved his film and that we’d be very interested in working together one day if the opportunity ever came up. Next, we didn’t hear from him for 2.5 years when suddenly, he reached out and sent us the screenplay. It was the fastest decision we ever made.
Lastly, what’s in store for you guys ahead?
We scored the film ‘In the land of Poison Women’ (an Arunachali film) right after Aamis. We’re excited to be working on new film projects currently that hopefully will be released soon. We are also finally going to be releasing our own album in the coming months. Please stay tuned and check that out when it comes out!