Dhruv Visvanath’s emphatic new single ‘Jungle’ is possibly his strongest yet; hear it here
At a show in IIT Kanpur earlier this year, New Delhi-based guitarist and vocalist (and often one-man band) Dhruv Visvanath finished writing ‘Jungle’, which is now the first single off his upcoming second album The Lost Cause.
The song is something that Visvanath – a singer-songwriter since 2010 whose weapon of choice is singing and using the guitar as a percussive as well as stringed instrument – counts as among the toughest to finish for The Lost Cause. An always jovial figure who never runs out of jokes wherever he’s on stage across India, Visvanath says he hadn’t ever “dealt with feeling burnt out”.
He alludes to the archetypical musician in today’s industry – the ones who spend years making music, putting all their resources together and then having to deal with artificial blockades such as social media reach and a lack of gigs to promote their music. He says, “As a musician, you put in so much effort, there reward is so little. Very few people end up hearing your music.” He adds, however, “It’s not a risk, because your music is out there for a lifetime.”
His own harshest critic, Visvanath says he wanted to avoid mistakes he made back when his debut album Orion released in 2015. “You’re hoping you don’t fail as much as you did last time. It has a lot of mistakes I learned from. The whole process of learning from those mistakes, has often challenged my ability to write. So when I finished the song, it was the best feeling.”
His new single ‘Jungle’ is one of his strongest yet, both in terms of melodies and lyrical content. The fingerstyle guitar on this song too, tapping the hollow box for a rustic sound that matches what he can do with strings. But more than anything else, what may just induce the goosebumps is Visvanath’s vocal harmonies and layering. He says, “Vocally, I wanted to try more. One of the things I learned was the importance to use my voice as an instrument. It gives it validity – the moment you have the ability to add layers, you’re making full use of that space.”
A note he adds with the song explains, “The song 'Jungle' speaks of the fears we often run away from, the things that we don’t have the strength to deal with in the present. It’s funny because the main chorus of the song came from a simple feeling my friend had when he heard me play the song. He said he could see himself in a forest, running from something, and he turned to find that it was his own shadow. He said all of this rather clearly, whilst being inebriated.”
With an entire crowdfunding campaign to recover costs of producing and promoting The Lost Cause out of the way last month (Visvanath raised Rs 4.80 lakhs), there will be a video on its way for ‘Jungle’ next week, with more exclusive treats for everyone who contributed to the crowdfunding campaign. Visvanath recalls how it was one of the most stressful and nail-biting days when the campaign was on, but its completion and success brought relief. “The moment it was finished, I was so grateful for everyone who took the time out and everybody who contributed. When I started the campaign, I knew if I raised this money, the success wasn’t mine alone. It’s everyone’s. They’re part of it now.”
Hear the song here: