Please tell us about yourself
Shiv Menon, a one-man band of sorts, is both versatile and original
Armed with his Stevie Ray Vaughan signature Fender Stratocaster guitar is Shiv Menon, a blues rock musician with a school boy charm. Originally from Cochin, Kerala, Menon moved to Hyderabad in 2010, following his calling to be a performing musician. That decision was not because he had no choice.
What did you study? How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and cool career?
A graduate of Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Goa, he had no second thoughts of making music full time. “Did you complete your graduation, people ask me often and I tell them, ‘Yes and with very good score’, he says. He had also interned with Amazon, Hyderabad, and worked for another firm as a web developer, even as he kept his passion for music alive. He got his first music break with a gig at Coco’s Bar and Grill, Banjara Hills, in 2011. There his setlist included covers of Pink Floyd’s ‘Wish you were here’ , country classic ‘Country roads’ and Eric Clapton ‘Tears in heaven’. Before too long, he was playing at Hard Rock Cafe, Stone Waters and opened twice for the Indian blues-rock stalwarts ‘Soulmate’.
His favourite gig however was at Tabula Rasa, Hyderabad, for the ‘Indiepalooza’ music festival in March this year. That was when Menon first did an original set of four songs written by him. At the fest, he was in the company of Sricharan Pakala, Hariyana Iyer and Abhijeet Nath, the Carnatic fusion band Jatayu, Siddharth Bendi and the Indie/country singer Arpit Chourey.
Tell us about your music
He cites John Mayer (his ‘main man’), Pink Floyd, blues legends Albert King, Albert Collins and Stevie Ray Vaughan as major influences. “Whatever has influenced John Mayer has influenced me,’’ he elaborates.
Reaching out beyond hi blues-oriented music, Shiv can easily switch to playing old Bollywood covers of R D Burman, Rafi and also recent Top 40 English songs, in certain venues. “I get paid to entertain people,” he reiterates, with no apologies. Neither does he shy away from doing gigs all by himself , if the budget doesn’t permit the entire band. On a solo show, he comes with his elaborate guitar pedals and accessories like Beatbuddy – a virtual drum machine, octaver and looper pedals which fills in for a real bass player and rhythm guitars. He also plays acoustic sets even though he lusts for the powerful electric counterpart. ‘A one-man band’, he chuckles, describing himself.Shiv Menon
How has the experience been as a musician?
Menon is tenacious and full of grit, having faced the challenges that dog indie musicians in the city. He claims opportunities in the city have opened up vastly, unlike back when he started out. Now he is in such demand that he performs at some venue or the other almost all days of the week.
Along the way, he has acquired a loyal conglomeration of fans and followers who show up regularly for his shows.
On Sundays, you will find him performing at Hard Rock Café, Hyderabad with whom he has a contract. Other venues at which he plays include Dirty Martini, Tabula Rasa, Repete Brewery and Kitchen, Prost Brew pub and Air Live.
Shiv Menon is also working on his original singles and hopes to release in December this year. His dream gig is to play to a crowd of 50,000 irrespective of the venue.