For the Love of Music

Iris C F Gomes

Music is this man’s life: that is the first impression you get of Aurvile Rodrigues who has his own recording studio called Audio Masters connected to his house. At the age of four he took to the drums and has been playing since then. He plays the bass guitar apart from the drums but his chief preoccupation is his recording studio. Aurvile sings too, and has sung many Konkani duets with his wife Trisca of DnT fame.

He reminisces about his younger years studying in Kuwait. Aurvile’s father was employed with a radio station in Kuwait and as a boy Aurvile would help his father and this played no small role in prompting his desire to work as a sound engineer. He says, ‘There I learned to put spools…in the old days they had spools for recording. Now everything is computerised. I always had this thing about going to the studio and sitting down with the announcers.’

After the 1990 invasion of Kuwait by Iraq, Aurvile came back to Goa with his family and has been playing professionally in bands ever since. Even while in Kuwait he was part of a school band playing at church fetes, parties and so on. He says jocularly, ‘It was just to pass the time. We students used to get together and the school band would happen. We would get a gig like once in three months. We didn’t have a proper drum set. We used a broken drum set.’

Aurvile cites as his musical inspirations the singer Richard Marx and percussionists Dave Weckl, Steve Gadd and Simon Phillips. ‘Among the Indians I used to follow Assumption Nunes who played for a band called India,’ he says. His elder brother Lawry, who had his own band in Kuwait, played an instrumental role in motivating Aurvile and introducing him to other well established musicians in Goa.

He is prominent for his presence as drummer for the bands Sky High and Bad Blood which he joined in 1996 and 1994, respectively. It was Bad Blood’s Nixon Soares who appreciated Aurvile’s skilled beats while he was a member of Aquatech and asked him to join Bad Blood. After Aquatech split up for good, Aurvile joined Blasio Pinto to be part of Sky High. ‘As of now we are the oldest band with the original members,’ says Aurvile of Sky High.

To the question of rock bands (since Bad Blood is a rock band) and heavy metal bands being accused of promulgating satanic music, he responds, ‘There are heavy metal gospel bands. I wouldn’t say that they promote satanic music although there are some anti- Christ bands and songs. Where there is bad there is good too.’ He plays for the gospel band Faith on occasion, as well as at Catholic religious retreats. He says, ‘I’ve played at Potta (Kerala) for the International Youth Convention held in July, twice with Glen (La’Rive). Somehow after that I didn’t get a chance to play there. Last year he had asked us to play again but we left for London around the same time.’

Bad Blood was booked to play at the Goan Festival at London in 2014. Since they had time between two major gigs, they approached local pubs and asked if they could play there. They played in around five pubs. Initially, they were looked upon with distaste for being Indian, but their fine playing won over their audience, who eventually admitted their quality of performance was superior than most, saying, ‘We didn’t know Indians could play rock so well.’ Aurvile says, ‘When we revealed we were from Goa, they were like, “Oh Goa! That explains it all”!’ Now the band has an open invitation to play at those pubs if they go back to the UK.

Bad Blood is planning to release an album of original songs of which two have been recorded and four are still in the process of being recorded. The maiden album which will comprise of eight songs is to be released by the end of this year.

Aurvile began working for Whitney Recording, Margao, in 1995 and stayed with the recording studio till 2008. Audio Masters went into action in 2009 and to the studio’s credit, all the dubbing by the actors of Nachom-ia Kumpasar, other than Palomi Ghosh and Vijay Maurya, was done here. ‘There are sound engineering courses but I have learnt through experience with friends who are sound engineers, working for a studio in Bombay (Mumbai) and my own ear. It has to be inside you for it to come out,’ says Aurvile, stressing that it is not something an individual would pick as an occupation unless he reserves a passion for it. It is not a conventional, nine to five job. He says, ‘Sometimes I’ve worked 36 hours straight!’

Plenty of well- known tiatrists such as Francis de Tuem, Lawry Travasso, Prince Jacob, Anthony San, etc. have recorded their songs at Audio Masters. Other Goan musicians and singers include Norman Cardozo, Lorna Cordeiro, Chris Perry and the late Emiliano da Cruz. ‘Emiliano da Cruz has had me featured on MTV too. MTV wanted to do a programme with Emiliano da Cruz. He told them he would do the show only if they recorded at my studio.’

Aurvile has twenty years of experience behind him, presumably making him one of the oldest sound engineers in Goa. His future plans are to do something for Goa. He is presently working on songs that will draw the youth of Goa closer to their mother tongue. He says, ‘I managed to change the scene somewhat when I remixed the song Meera Meera.’ The song went on to become a hit but much effort is still required towards furthering the cause of Konkani music and recognition for Konkani musicians on a national level such as was denied to other Goan musicians of high calibre in the past.