Vinod Patney and Naren Thota of Itra speak about their latest single, music production and their journey of evolving into professional musicians from a college band.

Naren Thota (left) and Vinod Patney (Right) of Itra at a homestay in Chikkamgaluru
Features Music Friday, August 20, 2021 - 19:10

Yeh jo sapno sa lagta hai humne wo paa lia hai yahin (We have achieved what once felt dreamy right here), croons Vinod Patney, one of the faces of musical duo Itra, in the music video of their recent song. 'Sukoon' is the ninth single by Itra. If one had to describe the music video, the things that notably stand out are the picturesque visuals of Chikkamagaluru, acoustic music and the soulful yet simple lyrics that strike a chord with people. The song, which premiered on August 8, is one of those play-on-loop indie songs that you look for when in need of some comfort.

The duo—Naren Thota and Vinod—say that they wrote and produced the song in 48 hours. “We just packed all our belongings, including instruments and equipment required, and went on this road trip to Chikkamagaluru,” says Vinod. Naren quips, “We were hoping that since we were going on a road trip, the music would be pumped up. However, when we reached the homestay, it was much calmer and the mood is reflected in our latest single.”

In an interview with TNM, the musical duo give more insight into their latest single 'Sukoon', speak about their journey from being in a college band to producing music professionally and their philosophy behind making music.

When quizzed about their opinion on the reception of the song, Naren says that they feel really happy to see their song being appreciated by the audience. “We have within a week crossed over 10,000 views which is a milestone for us,” notes Naren. Vinod adds that people sharing the song, creating Reels or Stories on Instagram with the music makes them feel exhilarated. “The genre of the song 'Sukoon' is different from the songs which we earlier produced; we stepped out of our comfort zone. The fact that people are sharing the song, making Reels, is a validation of the efforts we put in. It is a very happy moment to see the song do well,” the singer-songwriter says.

The dreams the duo talk about in their latest song, is to make music professionally. Vinod and Naren before starting Itra were batchmates and bandmates. The two met around 2015 at Christ University in Bengaluru while completing their Master’s in Business Administration.

“I was excited to learn that someone who lived in the dorm room beside mine was passionate about producing music since I was very fond of songwriting and wanted to learn music production,” says Vinod about his first time meeting Naren in their dorm. Naren, sharing his perspective on the incident, says, “My then-roommate was from Delhi and so was Vinod, that is how I first got introduced to him [Vinod].”

Vinod and Naren had a band in college, participated in competitive events, and won accolades as well. "We even wrote and composed original songs for college plays," adds Vinod. Their shared passion to be musicians prompted them to begin Itra in 2018. However, it was not all smooth sailing.

“Our duo was named as Pull in the initial days and the first song we uploaded in 2018 was listed under an artist’s discography who went by the same name. We then decided to change our name into something which was unique to us in the music industry,” says Naren. While scouting for new names, the duo decided on Itra.

'Itra' comes from the Urdu word for 'fragrance'; the duo says that they wanted the scent of their music to envelope as many people as they could and thus went for the name. That it is unique in the music industry was a benefit, Naren says.

The duo further faced challenges in showcasing their music as they had limited knowledge about composing music in a polished fashion, uploading it on many platforms like Spotify etc. Naren says that as independent artistes, they have to be a 'Jack of all trades' in order to flourish. “While starting out as an artiste, one needs to not only know how to compose music, write verses but also need understand how to visualise and ensure that the song is of good quality. It is imperative to have knowledge of it,” says Naren.

Vinod adds that independent artistes have to face challenges after having made the music too. “The music also has to reach an adequate amount of people. Moreover, we need to ensure that we have the right set up and equipment to produce a good song. Once the track is released, we need to meet publishers, reach out to people. We started out being clueless about whom to reach, so our music is heard by a diverse audience,” he says. “It is almost like running a business."

"One of the ways in which we can reach a wider and diverse audience is through live shows," the musicians observe, "however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our plans of playing live across the city were dampened." They hope that the situation becomes conducive again for them to play music live across venues.

Talking about their plans, the duo says that they will keep experimenting with their music. “We have different genres of music, each song of ours has a distinct sound. One is pop, another is acoustic, yet they have similarities [in concern with themes, visuals]. We are hoping to continue this experimentation with our music while following the common thread,” Naren says.

Watch their latest single 'Sukoon' here:

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