Hitesh Rikki Madan is a well-known guitar player and his association with band Euphoria holds an important place in his music career. “I became a part of Euphoria in 1996 when I was just 17 years old. The 14 years with Euphoria were my playground and growing years. I was constantly learning on the job and during the initial years my entire focus was on getting better on my instrument, the guitar,” he told Opoyi in an interview.

However, he branched out with his solo work under HRM (Hitesh Rikki Madan).

“My love and dedication towards music led me to build my own recording studio in 2003 and since then a lot of Euphoria songs were recorded there as well including songs from the album Mehfuz.  In 2005, I founded Aria The Music School to bring formal learning of music in West Delhi. Then there came a point when I felt it was important for me to explore a world of possibilities and look beyond just fulfilling the duties of being a guitar player in Euphoria.

“I had much to prove to myself, much to explore and much more to offer and that was reason enough for me to leave the band and start again from scratch.

“In founding Eka with Euphoria’s Benny (Benjamin Benny Pinto) and Lokesh (Madan) from my erstwhile band Canzona,  I saw avenues to become a vocalist and a frontman, and it gives me immense happiness that Eka went on to do exceedingly well, becoming one of the most sought after bands in the live circuit,” he said

He has just released his third solo single ‘Gal Sunn Zara that could be best described as a Punjabi rock ballad, featuring Shivaani Sen (Mrs South India) in the video and Delhi-based singer Sanjeeta Bhattacharya on vocals.

Talking about why Euphoria holds an important place in Indian music scene, he says that it was was not just the first band to do rock-and-roll in Hindi, but also a pioneer in so many ways! 

“The concept of a band that creates, writes and performs its own music in the language of the masses was still very new in the Indian market, which was dominated by the music director, lyricist, singer approach in the film music industry.

“After disco, now guitar-based music was making its way to the Indian audiences. It symbolised modernism among the masses, making music from the west more relatable, in a way, combining elements from the heart of India- not just in the use of  Indian folk music instruments but also in combining our roots with the urban Indian culture in the music videos,” he said

Added Madan, “And of course propelling the entire emotion was the presence of MTV and Channel V.  It’s a classic case of the right things happening at the right time.”

When the indian music industry is seeing the trend of remix nowadays, Madan says he doesn’t want songs of this popular 90s band to be remade.

“….why would any creative musician want to recreate such music that has already been created before? I think the endeavor should be to do something newer and that has never been experienced before. Music as an expression should not be confined to what is already heard, especially for the creators, there is so much more excitement in the unknown, the unexplored,” he said

“I would not really be as excited to hear recycled and remixed music of the older songs of Euphoria or for that matter any artist than to hear fresh original music which I have never heard before.  Let’s look ahead and let the imagination go beyond knowledge,” added Madan.

Talking about his latest release Gal Sunn Zara,  he says that like all his other originals, it’s guitar-centric.

“I’ve also played the ukulele in this soulful number. The way I have composed and arranged it has made it a unique sounding Punjabi song. Sanjeeta Bhattacharya, well-acclaimed singer from Delhi, has lent her sultry voice to the track. A mellow start, with a lilting melody it builds up to a high energy with some fantastic drums by Kunal Netrapal and beautiful keyboards by Anindo Bose.

“The video has been directed by Mumbai-based fashion photographer and director Vishesh Verma and features Shivaani Sen (Mrs South India 1st Runner Up),” he said.

He also says that just like him, the lockdown months gave many musicians ample time to work on original music, “which is why we saw so many new releases in the new year.”

“ Everything gets done remotely nowadays, which is fantastic for those who are driven to put out content and make a mark” he sums up.