Birth of a new style of playing the electric violin: The Nail
It was a couple of years ago.. I was jamming with Krishna, my band mate from Emergence, at his Solitude Farm, Auroville, India. We were working on a new song called 'Love of my Live'. I tried creating something interesting for the outro (end of the song), and played my violin like a guitar, plucking the strings with my nail. This sort of mimicked the guitar melody that Krishna was playing. I had never played anything like this before, and it was exciting to stumble upon this entirely new style. It somewhat resembled the pizzicato* but played with the tip of the nail instead. The sound that came out was a bright and resonant unlike the pizzicato. Happy with the part, we christened this style 'The Nail'.
*Pizzicato (/ˌpɪtsɪˈkɑːtoʊ/; Italian: pizzicato, translated as pinched, and sometimes roughly as plucked) is a playing technique that involves plucking the strings of a string instrument with the fingers, rather than using the bow
Recently, I went into a recording studio with music director Dharan Kumar to record music for the movie Naaigal Jaakirathai, starring Sibi Raj and a German Shepherd as leads! Recording with Dharan is always interesting as we spend a lot of time coming up with experimental sounds and layers on the electric violin. During this process, I started fiddling around with the violin, playing a carnatic riff with The Nail. This caught Dharan's attention and we decided to try this style in the song En Nenjil, that singer Naresh Iyer had just finished recording. What was required was a bluesy melody from the violin. I played some blues over the existing guitar arrangement and added some Carnatic slides to make it more interesting. The sound engineer added a compressor to make the sound resonant and The Nail made its way into a Tamil movie song. Here is a link of the track. The interlude at 6:00 min:sec is what I'm talking about. I followed this up with some Irish fiddle lines in the interlude and the end choruses. En Nenjil is a simple, pleasing melody, sung beautifully by Naresh and I hope you enjoy listening to it! Later on in the video is the theme song for the same movie that I played at 12:10 min:sec