Grammy Nominated Ajay Mathur -Interview By: Rob Smittix

Written by on June 2, 2022

RRX: Ajay Mathur, how are you doing?

AM: I’m good thanks a lot for having me, Rob.

RRX: Absolutely. Here at RadioRadioX we recently premiered one of your songs with our DJ Vito (Ciccarelli) and we’ve been giving you a lot of spins ever since. Just so the people know, can you give us some background on yourself? How did you get started and how did you end up where you are today? 

AM: It’s a long story my friend.

RRX: You know, the abridged-abridged version.

AM: I’ll keep it short and sweet. I’ll go backwards. This is my fifth album as a solo artist just released called “Talking Loud”. The first album released as a solo artist was in 2011 and in between three others. I actually was born and raised in India and I moved from India to Switzerland in the early 80’s. That’s where I started the band Mainstreet and I did about five albums and two best-of albums. We were pretty popular here in Europe. We had a couple of chart hits. We did a lot of gigs around Europe and basically played until around 1995, when I broke the band up because there was just no going any further. 

After that I went into creating music. Music for films and commercials, of course I kept writing songs. By 2010 I had almost 50 songs on my hard disk. So, let’s choose some songs out of that and put out an album, so out came “A Matter of Time” in 2011, which was played by a lot of college radio stations. Quite a raunchy album, blues and rock kind of stuff and it got played a lot. That’s where my connection to the states, to American radio stations actually started. The next album was “Come See Conquer” which was totally an Americana album and it actually made it to the Americana charts, well one song, the title song. That sort of got me more attracted to the American scene. I always loved American music, I always played it. While growing up in India I was always attracted towards American music, blues, R&B, rock n roll, Elvis Presley. I loved Hendrix and The Beatles of course. I met them (The Beatles) in India.

RRX: Really?

AM: Yeah. I did a short interview with them for my school magazine. 

RRX: That’s amazing!

AM: I didn’t make music back then, unfortunately I was just between 13 and 14 years old. I was a school kid. So that basically was a turning point for me and got me excited about actually trying to make my own music. Soon afterwards, about two years later, I was already playing in bands in India. We used to have club gigs; we’d play every night. So, I got a lot of mileage in live playing.

After I finished University in India, I moved, went to Europe and landed in Switzerland. I also traveled around, to the States, I lived in Los Angeles for a while. I lived in London for a while, and I also lived in Paris for a while. But my home base has always been Switzerland. I like it here, it’s very clean, everything works.

RRX: Living in all those various places must’ve been inspiring.

AM: I’m the type of person I can live anywhere. I’m not attached to a place. I’m attached to the vibes of a place, the people and I’ve always been excited to be a part of that culture. When I was in Los Angeles I was totally into that scene. It was great to be there and have friends. I enjoyed life and I got to meet a lot of musicians in LA. In the late 80’s it was a music mecca. Then I moved to London, and I went straight into the music community. I was living in Camden Town which was basically an artistic neighborhood. I used to jog with Kim Wilde. (laughs) She used to jog and I was on the other side of the road, so we were jogging, you know what I mean? All of these people used to be in the neighborhood. I was always in the arts scene. That’s something which excites me. 

It’s always nice to feel and experience that vibe. I talk to a lot of people. I meet a lot of people and that’s also how I get ideas for songs. So many stories out there. Just let the people talk. That’s basically the short and abridged version of my story, it wasn’t that short (laughs). 

RRX: A lot of cool experiences you’ve got, and I wanted to shift focus because you’ve got the new album out.

AM: Yes, “Talking Loud”, which was made during the pandemic, during lock-down because nothing was going on. It’s a very positive album. Well, you guys have been playing some of the songs.

RRX: Yes, and positivity is definitely one of the feelings that you get from it. It’s very uplifting.

AM: It was kind of contrary to what was going on in a lot of people’s lives during the lockdown but I thought it’s better to make the most out of it and focus on the good things. You could go down a rabbit hole of depression or just uplift yourself. I’m a positive person, I think there are more opportunities than problems. 

RRX: I like that, you’re a glass half full kind of guy. 

AM: To dissect the bad things going on didn’t make any sense to me. When things are going south you could either ride that train of doom or do something good about your life, I choose to be positive. I’m still alive!

RRX: Anything else besides the pandemic that was an inspiration for this release? 

AM: It’s an interesting story. When everything shut down here in Switzerland I had a tour planned for Germany in April, May and June and two tv shows coming up. Everyday cancellations came in. Initially it was really depressing for me to see everything just blown away, it’s gone. I have my studio here in my house and I have a beautiful collection of records. I just sat there and listened to records and then I’m strumming my guitar and this song came to my mind which I wrote a long time back for the reaction to John Lennon’s death. It was the early 80’s, I never recorded that song. I never found the courage or strength to actually do that song. It was almost too close to me, I met him. It’s not just somebody you only see on records, he was sitting next to me, you know? When that happened it just shattered my world. It was a liberating song for me to get over his death. John Lennon may be physically gone but his music is there.

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