Back then, Sushin Shyam was reluctant to use his own voice for a song he had composed. It was the first he made for a film, and he was going to sing only if no other voice worked. But then his childhood friend Sachin Balu came along and Sushin didn’t have to sing ‘Kisa Paathiyil’ for Kismath, a song that would become popular and loved much.
That reluctance is not there anymore. For Maradona, he has sung two songs and for Varathan, one more. “Not that I am my first choice. But I would have sung the tracks for all the songs – the rough version. And when I try other voices, they may not suit the song. Or maybe I would have gotten used to hearing it in one voice and couldn’t imagine it in another,” Sushin says.
So 'Varum' and 'Nilapakshi' in Maradona came in Sushin’s voice. He appears to have a familiar circle of singers to fall back on, too. Nezer Ahemed who sang 'Ee Ravil' for the film is his band mate from The Down Troddence – a Bengaluru based thrash metal band that Sushin first became known for, as a keyboardist. But on the side, he had managed to work on films, working with composer Deepak Dev for a few years before going independent.
Before Kismath, he did the background score for Sapthamashree Thaskaraha and Lord Livingstone 7000 Kandi. For Kismath it was just that one ghazal-like, Sufi-like song. After that came Ezra.
For Maradona, the call came directly from Vishnu Narayan, the director. Something about the music reminds you of the work of musician Rex Vijayan, guitarist of the veteran rock band Avial and composer in films. “I have heard that before, maybe because both Rex ettan and I have a band background or maybe it is because of the kind of music we listen to,” Sushin says.
There are different types of influence, none of them intentional, Sushin adds. In fact, a rap in Maradona also reminds you of Santhosh Narayan’s work, raw and rustic. “I found Fejo – the rapper who wrote and sang the song – on a random YouTube search,” Sushin says.
The songs also suggest Sushin does not stick to a type or a genre.
Two of Varathan’s songs have come out so far, both love tracks. 'Puthiyoru Pathayil' and 'Nee'. Both have Nazriya, actor and the film’s producer, singing in it. “The (rough) tracks would be played in the set. Maybe because she kept hearing it, I heard Nazriya hum 'Puthiyoru Pathayil' once. So I asked Amal ettan (director) about making her sing. He said try it out and she was OK with it too. Once you use a voice for a character, it is better to use the same voice again for another song. So she sang 'Nee' with Sreenath Bhasi.”
There is a third song coming and Sushin has sung that with Neha Nair.
He might have taken it slow before but Sushin is getting back to back projects now. Lilly, another film he worked on, will be releasing this month. “A dark thriller, for which TDT has collaborated for one song. A track for the new album we are working on – 'Kolam' – has been used in Lilly.”
Virus, the just-announced Aashiq Abu movie, will also see Sushin composing music.