Rohan Yadav is a creative who's managed to combine his talent for both visual art and thoughtful, quirky, yet incisive music and lyricism to create a body of work that truly stands apart across the Indian artistic landscape. There's an everyday irreverence to his persona that pulls you into a world of his own making and leaves you with the umistakable feeling that you've experienced something that's one-of-a-kind. We sat down with the young artist to get a little more insight into his creative process.
The writing of your work seems free flowing while the videos are meticulously well structured. What is your creative process? Does the writing inspire the visuals or viceversa?
It took me a long time, practice and patience to get here and by here, I mean letting the creativity flow through me however it pleases. Most of my ideas come out of thin air and I too surprise myself with them. There is no set pattern or a creative process to my work. I have trained myself to go with the flow without questioning what I am doing or where the idea is going. Sometimes it's a sound that will inspire me or a shot that I really want to take or sometimes it's a feeling that I have been sitting with for weeks. Once the idea reaches a point where I think it's time for me to interfere with it and give it a direction is when I jump in and plan it out. I never write anything down and I never know what I am going to shoot. Even the location inspires me and I try to make a sense of the song that I have created. I would say the most control I have over my idea is when I sit down to edit and even then I might change the entire concept of the idea on the edit table. I never question anything.
What got you started making the videos that you do?
I have been making videos ever since I was 17 and even then I understood the value of having an original concept or a format. About a year or so ago, I was working on a video called 'I love smoking' that cracked it all for me. I remember jumping to my diary and letting the words flow out of me without any hesitation, whatsoever. While I was editing the same, a Jacob Collier song that I had downloaded for a client's project was lying on the desktop. I remember importing that and from there everything I had learnt until then about editing and filmmaking came into use! I remember telling myself that I can make songs like these myself and then I did exactly that.
What would you say is the 'genre' of music that you create? How would you describe your music to someone who's never heard it?
To be honest with you I have no idea myself and it's very hard for me to describe it to others. Most of my songs I make out of a feeling of necessity, that I need to express and hence there is rarely any structure or genre that it follows. I can tell that a lot of my producer friends call it a Rohan Yadav genre.
Do you often take public perception into account when you're creating your work or does it not play a part at all?
Always! I always have a voice in my head that keeps wanting me to make something cool, something that makes people feel cool. I think I always start making a video under that influence but as the creative process kicks in, all of that goes out of the door and I just make whatever I want to make. I have been lucky up until now that it has worked out for me the way it has.
Mental health is a big theme in a lot of your work. How do you bring yourself to a space of vulnerability while writing about mental health?
That is a question I get asked a lot and it doesn't make a lot of sense to be honest! I don't understand why people hide their troubles or how it helps them. Being open to myself is what makes me so open about discussing mental health.
What are some of the other mediums you explore or would like to explore in terms of expressing your creativity?
I really want to make my painting transfer from the canvas into a video format. I have tried it a lot of times and it hasn't worked yet. Hopefully I will be able to crack it soon. Theater is something I would really want to do in the future. Curating an experience in the physical world would be thrilling.
What are some of your biggest musical inspirations?
It keeps changing every week but a few constant sources are A.R Rehman, Kanye West, Amine, Seedhe Maut, Hiatus Kaiyote and Still Woozy.
What's the last album you listened to and what's an album that's had the biggest impact on you as an artist?
The last album I heard was the new one by Kendrick Lamar. I really enjoyed that! I have never been able to like an entire album. Too much pressure. I associate more with single tracks in comparison to an entire album.
Can we expect an EP or album to be out soon? Is there anything else we can expect to see from you in the next few months?
I have been desperately working on an EP for the last year and I can confidently say that I am not even close to what I want it to be. I can tell that there will be a few singles that will come out soon but that's about it. I have too much going on in my life and music isn't getting the priority that it needs. And yes a lot more videos coming to you soon, now that I have moved to Mumbai, so new place, new inspirations and new experiences.
You can follow his work here.