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Ashutosh Phatak Makes Music in Mumbai

Hes a musical composer of no little renown, hes played his part in bringing live music to aficionados through the Blue Frog clubs, and now, hes taking the next leap: creating a musical school meet Ashutosh Phatak of The True School of Music.
BY Braingain Staff Writer |   05-08-2013
Ashutosh Phatak
What do you do when you have a dual degree in Economics and Western Classical Music Theory from the University of Pennsylvania in the U.S.? For Ashutosh Phatak, or Ashu, as he is more endearingly known, the answer to that question was quite simple: become a professional singer-songwriter in Mumbai, a founding partner of the Blue Frog music-clubs, and then open a music school. He’s been a little busy. But for Phatak, who has also composed music for over 3000 television commercials, soundtracks for 10 feature films, released over 15 contemporary music albums to date, and also performs live at venues around India, it’s all a way of expressing his great passion for music.

Phatak began his musical foray as a member of a band called Orphean Revival in the 90s, and now with his latest venture – as Co-Founder and Senior Managing Director of The True School of Music in Mumbai, he’s partnered with The Manhattan School of Music in NY, to bring in an international professional faculty and integrated state of the art facilities to provide a contemporary musical learning experience in Mumbai for anyone looking to strike a chord or two. had a chat with Ashu about his musical leanings, and what inspires him.

1. What prompted you to become a musician?

It is the one thing that came most naturally to me. Since I was very young I always wanted to create songs and it is this act of creation that has driven me throughout my career.

The True School of Music; Studio
2. Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Here, there, everywhere! (I guess the beatles!) But honestly, inspiration comes from states of minds and moods which trigger ideas. The heart of music is emotion and the ability to deeply feel things is the source.

3. Can you tell us a little bit about your latest venture, The True School of Music?

The independent music scene is about burst wide open but I feel many of us are still babies in our musical identities. A firm grounding in the fundamentals of music can really accelerate that process of musicians finding their own voices. The school is designed to do specifically that. Also the only comparable alternatives and schools like Berklee [School of Music] and MI [Musician’s Institute in Los Angeles] which have become way too expensive for Indian students. The True School offers that level of education, complete with a foreign faculty and a state of the art facility, at a fraction of the cost.

4. Does India have a favourite musical genre, do you think?

Well it’s quite obvious that it’s Bollywood and that’s because of the massive marketing engine behind it.

The True School of Music; Guitar Room
5. Indians do love their filmy songs! So what are your thoughts on the importance of music to the country?

I could write an essay on this! But for the simplification I’ll separate music in India into 2 categories. Bollywood and everything else! In my opinion, the importance of Bollywood is to provide a respite from everyday life and the importance of all other forms of Indian music is to provide inspiration to make everyday life better.

6. Of what accomplishment are you proudest?

I am most proud of the next venture I’m involved in which is The True School of Music. I believe with all my heart that this will help all musicians to earn a livelihood with their passion.

The True School of Music; Audi Room
7. What impact do you feel studying abroad had on you?

The exposure to different people and the learning that comes from being out of one’s comfort zone.

8. You also have a part in Blue Frog, and we understand there is a slightly unique story as to how the place got its name - can you share?

Mahesh Mathai came up with the name, and it’s just a pure coincidence that I have hundreds of frogs in my house!! [Not live frogs, of course!]

9. Favourite piece of music ever composed?

After over 5000 compositions that’s a REALLY tough one! My favorite is usually my latest. I composed an album for an amazing artiste called VIVIENNE, called Inside My Head - and that currently is my favorite album.

The True School opens its doors at the end of August, and course start on September 16, 2013.



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