On talking to Adil Manuel

Adil Manuel is an award-winning Jazz fusion guitarist & composer and has been performing for 20+ years. He has a unique style, blending various influences and genres. He has played alongside the likes of Mohit Chauhan, Indian Ocean, and Silk Route. Listen to his music here.


IRC: Why do you do what you do?

Adil: I’ve always been around music all my life. My parents had a large vinyl and tape cassette collection that we would regularly listen to. I grew up listening to A LOT of music. Everything from The Doors, Frank Zappa, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Peter Frampton to Iron Maiden, Scorpions to 80’s pop and disco records, it was all there.

One of my uncles is a tabla player and his daughters(my cousins) are Kathak exponents. So there was a lot of music and art culture within my family that was subconsciously passed onto me.


IRC: What part of your music writing process is your favorite?

Adil: I don’t exactly have a process when it comes to writing music where I tell myself this is what I am going to make today or work on today. I draw my inspiration from dream sequences and scenarios that I come up with in my head. Which then translates into my songs.

On other occasions I could be jamming out an idea on the guitar and then come up with a hook. Things like this.

IRC: What is one thing you wish people knew about you?

Adil: That even though jazz-fusion and funk is my forte, I hold a deep love for metal and western classical! I started my music journey with rock and transitioned to metal very early on. I played for a thrash metal band earlier in my career. I was totally into bands like Pantera, Sepultura, Megadeth, Slayer to name a few.


IRC: People always ask what's the best way to support an artist. From a musician's perspective, what do you think people should do more to support the artist?


Adil: The best way would be to support local artists and build that culture where people appreciate local music first before talking about international musicians. I’ve toured outside of India and I’ve seen that this is something that’s so ingrained in their culture that we haven’t been working on as a country. We talk more about artists from other countries than people from our own communities.

There’s only so much an artist can do to put themselves out there. Besides sharing their music or listening to them on streaming platforms, you could always go for local gigs and get your friends to buy tickets and go with you. Or look for streaming platforms that pay the artists their fair share.

In the real world, the actual money comes from performances and selling merch, from teaching and workshops. So if you see a local artist you like and you can get them gigs or any other opportunities that you come across for them to showcase their art, I urge you to take that extra step to make it happen for them if you’re really looking to support them. And everyone should.

We’ve got to build that local arts space for and by ourselves. There’s also not a lot of funding in the jazz or indie music scene as opposed to popular music. It’d be nice if we could bring back the Indian culture of patronage within the arts where people would put in some money to make sure artists have the resources to put themselves out there. If you could become a patron, even to one artist in whatever capacity, do it. Small things like this add up and make a really big difference for us.

IRC: What are the three things you wish people spoke about more?

Adil: Firstly, just where the country is heading. Politically and the general state of it. Talking about it and sharing posts by IG pages or news outlets is all well and good but do more than just talk about it. We’re all aware, now it’s time to do more to change it.

Secondly, talk more about the environment and the earth and what we’re doing to it in a more actionable way. And what we can actually do better or change. We live in a time where there is a rampant woke culture, but most of what we do is talk about it but don’t follow up with what more we could than just switching out plastic for reusable material. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a big step too, but there’s so much more that we can do. It scares me thinking about what’s going to happen 10-15 years down the line or what the next generation will have to go through. If we’re talking about it so much, why isn’t there visible change?

Lastly, talk more about your local musicians and artists!



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