Attack on Anxiety
Artist Name: Attack on Anxiety
Release title: On My Mind
Release Genre: Alt Rock, Indie
Band Members: Kunal Bhattacharya
If you enjoyed these thoughts by Kunal and would like to find out more about their work, visit their official channels below.
Attack on Anxiety music on Spotify. Enjoy while reading the interview.
About the Artist
When did you start writing/producing/playing music and what or who were your early passions and influences? What was it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?
So, this one’s going to be long. I started playing the guitar back in 2009 and the reason was simple. I was quite depressed with life, and I needed a release. So, I thought the guitar could be something to keep myself distracted and busy. Music has always been especially important and still is. I consider music as my best friend. Been there for me all kind of emotions I’ve gone through over the years. I still keep updating my playlists for different situations of my life 😊. So, deciding to learn the guitar wasn’t that hard. I already had the motivation for it.
As anyone who just picked up the guitar, I guess you go-through distinct phases of music. The first one for me was the pop-punk and emo phase. Green Day, Blink-182, Simple Plan etc were some of the bands I was listening to a lot and dreamed of making music like that one day. Then there was the metal phase. This definitely took my guitar playing few levels up. My very first band was a metal band influenced by the likes of All Shall Perish, As I Lay Dying, Killswitch Engage, Parkway Drive etc. Basically, the popular metal core bands from those days.
Attack on Anxiety started happening around late 2016. I mean the idea of kind of music that I thought I would be making. I was listening to, and still is a huge fan of downtempo artists like Tycho, Bonobo, Boards of Canada etc and I thought, “I could write and record this kind of music pretty easily and I wouldn’t have to rely on too many people.” The music was coming very naturally for me, and a lot of things were MIDI. So, I was able to record demos and sometimes whole track in couple of days. I put out a self-mixed EP by the moniker LaNuK on SoundCloud and Bandcamp back in 2017, sometime around March. 3 out of the 4 tracks I later re-recorded and were the first few tracks to be released as Attack on Anxiety.
I feel the sound of Attack on Anxiety is still evolving. If you go through the discography then you’d see it started mellow, lo-fi, downtempo kind of music and now it’s grown to include Funk, SynthWave, Soul/R&B kind of stuff. You could say these are primary sounds I like to incorporate when I write. I’m influenced by lot of different musicians/bands and genres, and I want to make that kind of music that draws elements from all of them. I guess that’s the idea behind Attack on Anxiety and going solo. Not confined by boundaries.
What would you say are the key ideas behind your approach to music and art?
Interesting question! So, I think the key idea about my approach to writing music is to make sure that it is something can be enjoyed by both the layman and the purist. One of the reasons why I am not a huge fan of modern pop music is it is repetitive and built on the 4 chords. I’ve listened to so many different kinds of music and artists, some so technical like Dream Theater or some very simple like Taylor Swift that when you listen to the former, you feel musically challenged, and by “challenged” I mean you’ve to draw on all your music theories like time-signature, polyrhythms etc while for the latter, you don’t feel that but you see so many people drawn to it and grooving to it. So, I guess that’s my approach to my music. The best of both worlds without sacrificing one too much for the other.
Could you describe what part of the creative process is particularly dear to you?
Since there’s no one else involved in the creative process of Attack on Anxiety, everything is dear and close to me. Even though the drums are definitely my weak point but even if I session it out, I’d still have an idea on how the groove should be and I’d make sure to convey that idea. Obviously, I allow the creative freedom to anyone who’s recording something for the track, but the communication and flow of the idea is vital.
Listening can be both a solitary and a communal activity. Likewise, creating music can be private or collaborative. Do you have a preference?
I guess it depends on the idea of the track. I’m not a vocalist so if I want vocals on the track then there would be someone else doing the vocals on it. Then there’s drums which I like to outsource most of the cases. So, I guess, lately, I’m on a collaborative phase and it’s great! I get to work with different musicians, and you get to learn so much from them. I do like to mix it up though. You know, sometimes I’m like, “I worked with this one on the last track maybe I could work with him/her on this one.” This way each track has a uniqueness even if the music is kind of similar.
Art can be a way of dealing with the big topics in life: life, loss, death, love, pain, and many more. In which way has music – either your own or that of others – contributed to your understanding of these questions?
As I mentioned earlier, music has been my best friend, so it has been there for every big and tiny event in my life. Bad breakup or life-altering accident, or success at work etc. I think the first thing I did after every incident was put on my headphones. Many moments in my life when I was down and out and the privilege of making music was something that got me going. Sometimes I feel, listening to song has helped me much better than talking with someone. I don’t know what and where I would be without it.
About the Single
Tell us about your new single On my Mind. Is there a story behind it? What were the influences or inspirations to write it?
So, the major inspiration before even I started writing this track was Tom Misch’s “Nightrider.” I started writing this track during the first wave of the pandemic in 2020 and I was listening to lot of Tom Misch at that time and I really wanted to write something similar. Before I start writing anything, I usually have one track that serves as the primary inspiration and Nightrider was that.
Could you describe your creative process behind the album? Where did the ideas come from, how were they transformed in your mind, what did you start with and how do you refine these beginnings into a finished song?
So, before I even start framing the structure and sometimes even before I start writing. I would need that one song which will be a direct inspiration. For this track it was Tom Misch’s “Nightrider.” The next step was to figure the song structure and the chords. Nightrider has a bit jazzy vibe and wanting something similar I drew on my music theory knowledge to pick up some extended chords like 9ths and 7ths. So that was the first prototype of the track. Everything else developed over time. I actually wrote the chords and everything back in the summer of 2020 and the vocals were recorded back then as well. By the time the first guitars were recorded, the song had a nice post-rock section for the second verse which was the idea of the guitarist who recorded it and I instantly loved it. The funk outro was something that was on the back of my head even before I had decided how to end the song, but the intro was added quite late. I’m a fan of songs which have nice intros and builds into the track. The second last iteration it went through was changing the midi drums to live, which was the first guitarist’s idea and honestly, elevated the track. The last step was to get someone to record a kick-ass guitar solo which surprisingly, despite being the smallest section, took the longest.
What’s your view of lyrics with “messages”? Is there a main message you want to be delivered within the single?
I don’t think there’s any particularly important “message” in the lyrics. Whenever I work with a vocalist, I let them the freedom to write whatever they feel unless the song started from the lyrics, and Ryan, who did the vocals, texted me after listening to the music that he feels like writing about his girl and I was like, “sure, why not” :-D.
Releasing music is such a mammoth effort. What are the biggest challenges? What things did you learn in the process?
I feel for someone without no backing and a decent fanbase, the biggest challenge is motivation. Sometimes the thing that acts as the biggest obstacle is a question, “Why am I doing this when not many may not even listen or even get to know about it?” Then there’s self-doubt which most of the time is a causation of the lack of motivation. I mean there are so many challenges to survive as a musician and put out original music, but I feel these are 2 of the biggest challenges up & coming musicians face. Once you get past these aforementioned obstacles comes the hardship of building a loyal and resolute fanbase and I feel this is what I am currently fighting.
How did you go about choosing your recording/mixing/mastering engineer? Any advice for anyone else currently going through the process?
The first step would be to see if the engineer has worked with the kind of music I’m producing and how comfortable they’re with it. The second most important thing is the kind of communication we have. It always helps to have a friendly vibe going on in the texts or emails. That probably is 😊
What formats will be the release available on? What is the best place for people to find and support your music?
Digital downloads for now. You can find all the platforms where my music or I’m present. You can choose as whichever you like.
What’s next for you?
More releases, collab with more talented people, grow as musician. My influences are wide from metal to pop to jazz etc. Also, currently working on a new EP. The goal for now would be to keep building a dedicated fandom.
Where can we check for upcoming gigs? Links?
No gigs as of now or anything soon. Possibly nothing until next year.
Anything else you would like to say/add?
It’s perfect! Excellent questions!