October 16 2013

Artist-in-Residence: Sid Khosla

New York-Standard Sounds

Sid Khosla, lead singer of Goldspot and the fourth artist in the Warby Parker x Standard Sounds Artist-in-Residence Program, has a particular fondness for the Hudson River. Probably because he lives on its banks just across from The Standard, High Line. When he came over to our side, he was delighted to find the accommodations quite suitable for the composition of music. So much so, he set up his entire recording apparatus in-room (as best he could anyway). "There was an ease about the whole process ... you can just roll out of bed and get to work," Khosla, the Indian-rooted artist told us. Judging by these new songs, our guest rooms should be recording far more music.

Photos: Alden Wallace

Where ya from?
Born in Connecticut, lived all over, spent time in India, and ended up in New Jersey. I live with my wife and daughter in Hoboken.

How did you feel when you found out about the Artist in Residency?
Randall Poster, the music supervisor selected me and it was really, really exciting. He’s a pretty legendary music guy so it was definitely a thrill and an honor.

Had you heard of Randall before that?
I was pretty familiar because my career has really been pushed by music supervisors like him who put my music in film and TV.

How do you feel about your music becoming re-appropriated as such?
If it’s used in the right way, it’s amazing. Most musicians write a song with a certain idea and intent and if it’s used in the right way it can take on a whole new life and meaning. TV has been a great way for my career to survive. In the past, it was pretty taboo to lend your music out like that, but that isn’t true anymore. TV and film have become the new record companies in a way. They’re breaking new artists all the time.

Let’s talk about your stay at The Standard, High Line. Was this your first stay with us?
Yes, I had heard of it, but never been inside.

So how did it go?
Normally when I write I have access to my home recording studio and I use my equipment throughout the process, laying down different elements and then layering and playing with them. (As opposed to just sitting with an acoustic guitar and a note pad). Anyway, so I am gonna be there for four days and I decided to just bring all my equipment. I turned my entire room into a recording studio.

Lyric writing at The Standard Plaza

A recording studio with a view!
I could actually see my apartment in Hoboken from the room. It’s a very strange thing to be able to see your own home from a hotel.

Did the surroundings inspire?
Most people have a perception that artists just sit around all day and write, but we have obligations and distractions and it’s much easier said than to done to actually get away and write. This to me is a vacation. So the stay was a completely inspiring experience. With nothing else to distract me, you can just roll out of bed and get to work. Wake up first thing and just go to it, or wake up in the middle of the night. There was an ease about the whole process.

I have a very special relationship with that hotel now, knowing I wrote these songs there:

You’ve been very generous donating the profits from you song “If the Hudson Overflows” to Sandy relief.
My wife and I saw the devastation from that storm firsthand and it just seemed like the right thing to do. I actually had written that song a year before as a love song to my wife. When Sandy hit, it just made sense as the Hudson literally overflowed and I decided it was the right thing to do. I don’t like to draw too much attention to it. It just seemed like the best way for me to help. It came from the heart.

Tell us about your musical influences. Do you draw formally on the Eastern vs. Western chord structures and instrumentation? How does that mixture come about?
Well, my parents came to the US from India in the late ‘70s and I grew up listening to Indian music – these old albums from the ‘50s and ‘60s. They brought their culture with them and listening to these songs was part of it. I learned to sing basically covering this music and sang mostly Indian music right up until high school when I started my band. Obviously, I was influenced by Western music as well – The Ramones, The Cure, The Beatles – and what comes out now is just a natural hybrid. It’s not like it’s “fusion music,” it just happens organically.

Goldspot's new album, Aerogramme is now available on iTunes.

About the Residency:
Legendary film music supervisor Randall Poster (who soundtracked, just to name a few, Kids, Rushmore, Velvet Goldmine, 200 Cigarettes, The Thomas Crowne Affair, Boys Don’t Cry, Zoolander, The Royal Tenenbaums, Somethings Gotta Give, The Aviator, The Squid and the Whale, Lost, The Darjeeling Limited, The Hangover, Moonrise Kingdom, Boardwalk Empire, Spring Breakers, and Skyfall) and the mastermind behind Standard Sounds in the East Village, Annie Ohayon, have selected six artists to spend a week at each of the properties and compose two original songs a piece. The artists, whose work will be packaged in a limited-edition LP just in time for Xmas, include Sophie Auster, Nikki Lane, Teddy Thompson, Cillie Barnes, Goldspot’s Sidd Kholsa, and one other, very special surprise.

On all things Warby Parker x The Standard