Abhi Velaga is a one-man-band: The computer science senior plays instruments, contributes vocals and produces all of his own songs.
Velaga has been releasing rock music since 2015 under the name Indulgent. He said he dives into his own thoughts and emotions to write his song lyrics.
The Daily Texan: When COVID-19 first broke out, where were you stuck and are you still there now?
Abhi Velaga: My parents were trying to get me to come back, (but) I decided it would be better for my mental health to just camp out in Austin because I have two housemates. (I also) have all my gear here. I have my drum kit, my recording stuff, my amps, my guitars and film photography equipment as well. It's all in my room, so I can't take it all back. So this is kind of my studio in a way.
DT: How has quarantine shaped your music?
AV: Writing-wise, it's been one of the best things for me, musically and artistically, to have so much time to just sit down and focus. I've been trying to be conscious about my songwriting and what style I take, because normally, I would kind of play what naturally flows out and write songs, and that works. But now when I do that, I write the same kind of material over and over. I could actually have this time where I could really think, ‘Let me try and actually play something different, let me (play) my guitar differently.’ … Once you put hours into it, then you can really feel like you have fine control over what you're writing.
DT: What album best describes your quarantine and why?
AV: I would have to say (any) Code Orange (album). They're this hardcore band, but they are one of my favorite bands of all time. They have a lot of dystopian but kind of dark songs, but not in the traditional metal (band) way. … I really relate to how it feels. I think they've really leaned into this whole quarantine thing.
DT: How does your music make you feel?
AV: Over the course of a long period of time, I always tend to have such big highs and such low lows. All my music is meant to come from a bleaker darker emotion. And it's kind of me writing from a (place) of, ‘I'm at this peak, which is awesome, but I know there's nowhere to go but downhill for a bit after this.’ I've never seen a peak be sustained in my life basically. I don't have a theme, consciously, to begin with. The theme is whatever it turns out to be, which sounds like a bad idea sometimes, but it works out because I'll write this music at a certain period of time and the theme will be whatever emotional state I was in.
DT: What song describes you now in this moment?
AV: I’m in a Code Orange phase so I’m gonna go with “Spy” by Code Orange. That's really (a) pretty hardcore song, but it kind of relates to the quarantine as wel l … The way I took quarantine was … I'm just going to find a way to come out of this as a better person in some way … Whatever it is, I'm going to come out of this somewhat improved in some way. And when I hear that song, it really makes me think about, ‘What is your number one focus right now?’ and then just grinding at it with brutal savageness. No thoughts about hesitation, just keep grinding.