Emotions rule our everyday life. What makes a job done by a human different from that done by a robot is the sheer beauty that is brought about by our emotions, the nucleus of our existence. Overpowered by some emotions, we produce wonderful works, mellow melodies, or moving speeches. The endproduct of these sudden outbursts in turn allows others going through the same emotions, find solace in, a relief in the fact that they are not alone, walking this strange road of life.
Here is a musician who lets you find his life in the music that he creates, heartbreak, loss, love, and life- his work is an amalgamation of all the vulnerable yet candid part of the human heart. In conversation with Arun Thomas, an engineer turned musician, winning our hearts with his soulful yet enchanting notes.
Tell us about yourself, your background and your previous ventures.
I’m Arun Thomas, a 22-year-old singer/songwriter/producer releasing music under the artist name of Zeiven. I am an electronics engineer by education. I was an introvert as a kid, and I used to take part in school and church choirs. I was later inspired by EDM and I went on to do a couple of remixes. Going through heartbreak during the end of 2018 which left me devastated, I freestyled a guitar riff which later turned out to be the major backbone of my debut single which had a heavy alternative Indie vibe to it, expressing my grief and resentment over my past in an abstract manner even though it wasn’t that the sound I resonated with.
In 2019, I released my first EP, and later a couple of singles, most of them revolving around my emotions and how they reacted to the situations. I also do tutorials that lend a helping hand to the songwriter and producer community out there on YouTube.
When did you realize that you had a flair for music?
I started making beats 7 years ago when I first saw one of my friends use FL Studio to make instrumentals. The competitive me wanted to make a better beat and my beat was something that my parents were actually proud of . I was heavily influenced by Electronic Dance Music back then, and I decided to do melodic remixes and I did a handful of them and was passionate about producing melodic beats. Gradually I started realizing that this was something I felt true to and wanted to make it my career.
Could you brief us about your latest project ‘I’m in Ohio’. How is this project different from your previous works?
My new single “I’m in Ohio” is a unique project but yet a sound I feel true to. It is about a new beginning with a loved one who lives in Ohio, US, and how my relationship bloomed in the course of a few months during the lockdown. I tried to talk about the struggles I had to face while being caught up in the pandemic alone and far away from my loved one, which left me wanting to meet the person as soon as possible.
I infused a lot of retro-style synth elements, rhythmic guitars, vocoders, beats with percussive elements and a lot of layered vocals to make it sound cohesive as modern vocal-driven pop music. I came in touch with an Australian singer named Lizzie through Tumblr who writes music under the name of Unknxwne and she agreed for a feature in my project. With her beautiful lead vocal and blissful harmonies, she gave the much-needed final touches which led to this beautiful project.
Tell us about your musical taste. Who all had an influence on your style?
I started releasing music taking a wide range of influences from the likes of Lauv, Troye Sivan and Jeremy Zucker. They have modern production to their tracks, blissful vocals and vibey melodies, which is the sound I feel true to and it is impossible to ignore. The mid-tempo, feel good pop tracks helped me get inspired by them and write music which is similar to theirs in some waya.
What are some of the challenges that you faced as a budding artist? How did you overcome those?
Buying new equipment and marketing my music were a couple of challenges I faced during the initial days. I started producing for other clients and it has provided temporary relief and also I have started networking with people all around the globe, not just grow my music but to make good relationships in that process.
When was the big break for you? How did that event catapult your growth?
Having received support from Anne Marie, San Holo, Loote, and Rei Brown for my covers and Flume and Said the Sky for my beat production, I must say the one that stood out was the day when Anne Marie posted my cover on Instagram. I adore her personality and music, so I was quite hyped when she shared it.
You have a very loyal fan base. Which ages category do your listeners belong to? How do you engage with them?
My audience is primarily under the age of 25 and over the age of 12. I try to indulge with them as much as possible, reaching out to them and asking if they are doing well, especially with their mental health due to the ongoing pandemic. Also, I reply to each and every comment or direct message that I receive which in turn maintains our relationship.
How do you see your critics? Do you receive both constructive and destructive criticism?
I often see criticism as a way to grow. I have received constructive criticism but it often has been the result of taste difference in music which can be subjective. Thankfully, I have not faced destructive criticism yet.
When was the most rewarding moment for you as an artist? Was it a performance, or a comment or a gift from a listener?
One day a random person texted me telling me the impact my music had on him when he was going through a tough time. Being an empath, I understood what he felt like, since the same had happened with me a lot of times. Music is definitely a way of channeling your emotions and it has helped people to stay strong no matter what they are facing.
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