From guitar to canvas, onstage performance to teaching Rayner juggles all these comfortably. You & I catches up with him.
Coming from a family of musicians, do you think you were destined to be a musician too? How has your journey been so far? Where do you see yourself heading?
I’m lucky to come from a family of musicians. Was I destined! You can either blame it on genetics or the fact that I grew up listening to good music, or my natural tendency to become a musician.
However, my parents encouraged me. For a few years, I moved to the UK and learned more about sound and acoustics, and that helped me gain a wider perspective. It also gave me an opportunity to meet and play with some of the musicians overseas.
After coming back, I played with a few local bands and am currently teaching guitar and vocals at my own music school.
The way forward would be to develop the school. And I would like to perform professionally but my personal favourite is still to be a part of my current band, the NILE. An artist can only find satisfaction when his art is appreciated.
Who is your biggest critic in your family?
aYou’re looking at him -- I’m my biggest critic. I think I’m a perfectionist, and my friends say I always have to get it right; so the struggle is within myself.
How did painting happen? How do you manage music and painting?
Painting happened by chance. Last year I went through a major spinal surgery and was forced to stay home. Getting bedridden was frustrating but it made me introspect about life and its finalities.
I took to canvas to channel my energies and, surprisingly, realised I was good at it. With time it got better and by now the interest has turned into a passion. I created art whenever I got inspired and felt like sharing my emotions and feelings.
Music and painting go hand in hand for me. I feel blessed that I could convert two of my passions into a career. I’ve recently sold some of my art and it is very encouraging when people understand and appreciate your talents.
Tell us more about your music school? What is your favourite genre?
It was a career move. It definitely works to my advantage and at the same time I can teach and encourage others to learn guitar and vocals.
The school primarily focuses on teaching the guitar, alongside opening the world of music to its students. The guitar has been used in all genres – be it Bollywood, 1960s music and rock. I teach my students to appreciate various genres and encourage them to find their niche. Teaching can only happen when one enjoys what one is learning.
My favourite genre of music has always been rock. But given that my band primarily plays retro and classics, I’ve learnt to adapted to these styles. Also, we have to learn to appreciate newer forms of music to keep up with the times -- that’s what a good music teacher would do.
What are the challenges you face in the music industry, and also personally and how are you going to overcome them.
The Indian music scene is majorly driven by Bollywood. Being an Anglo-Indian, the language is something that I struggle with. Also, my heart strings are attached to rock, English retro and classics. The current industry has very limited opportunities for artists like us.
Given the market’s craze for digital music, live bands and individual performers are not a very common source of entertainment for people. This impacts on the remuneration and the opportunities to perform locally. Especially, in Hyderabad there is definitely a need for more opportunities for artists like us.
The good news is that people are becoming more aware of live music and have a better appreciation of performers like us.
Many people think playing live is a cool job. What is the toughest part of it?
Playing live in front of an audience is an exhilarating experience. Every time you go on stage it feels like you are one with the crowd. You feel energised by the encouragement you get from the audience. That’s the cool part.
The tough part is the preparation that goes into putting a show together. Practising the songs, the line-up, ensuring all the instruments are tuned and ready, checking out the sound system and amplification ... There are a lot of small things that go into the final performance. Even it may sound tough, once you are on stage it all seems worth it.