Parth Desai M.M. ’19 Draws on Berklee Valencia Skills, Taps Alumni to Develop Music Production Career
A graduate of the Master of Music in music production, technology, and innovation (MPTI) program, Parth composes, produces, arranges, and programs music for numerous web shows. His most recent project is Tuition, a popular nonfiction Indian web series.
But composing soundtracks for web series was not Parth’s original career goal. He enrolled in the MPTI program with the plan to become an electronic music producer. He diligently studied electronic music production, video production, and analog synthesis. Parth also expanded his network, discovered new music and music-making methods, and learned how to approach a professional career in electronic music.
“One of the things that I took away from this program was the fact that I was pushed by [former associate professor] Ben Cantil, who taught me electronic music production and sound design [and] to experiment,” Parth says.
After graduation, Parth got a job as a video editor, but found that he didn’t love the work. In his free time, he pursued his true passion—electronic music; he produced sample music packs for the IDM and glitch-hop artist Mr. Bill.
He soon took up the opportunity to compose the score for Tuition at Oho Gujarati, one of India's biggest production houses. “It was a lot more fun than the job that I was doing,” Parth explained. “Plus, it provided me the opportunity to pursue music full-time.”
The project was a major challenge for Parth, requiring him to use all of his skills in electronic music production, sound design, and hybrid recording. He also relied on soft skills, such as communication, organization, and delegation, to help him remain in sync with the director’s vision and complete the score in a month and a half.
Parth formed a team of music professionals, starting with his brother, Aalap Desai, a music producer. “It is great to collaborate with someone who not only understands your musical sensibilities, but also with whom you can communicate whatever you have in your heart and mind freely,” Parth says. He also recruited two fellow Berklee Valencia alumni, Lisa Yihwan Lim M.M. ’19 and Kanishk Seth M.M. ’21.
Despite being scattered across the world—Parth is based in Ahmedabad, India; Aalap in Newark, California; and their singers, musicians, and engineers in Mumbai, Seoul, Florida, and Ahmedabad—the team pulled together a score perfectly fit for the coming-of-age tale.
Lim, a graduate of the Master of Music in contemporary performance (production concentration) program, played cello on “Dheera Dheera (Heartbreak),” which is sung by Parth, and “Jhini Jhini (Love at First Sight),” which is sung by Aalap. Seth, a graduate of the MPTI program, engineered the vocals on “Laali (Acceptance),” and his mother, the renowned Indian singer Kavita Seth, performs on the track with Aalap. Grammy-winning mixer/engineer Buck Snow, who mixed and mastered the soundtrack, flutist Burak Besir, songwriter Bhargav Purohit, and singer Jigardan Gadhavi (Jigrra) rounded out Parth’s global music team.
The soundtrack they created for the series was Indian in nature, contemporary, and in line with the vision of Oho Gujarati cofounder and filmmaker Abhishek Jain and director Pratik Parmar. Parth says that it was a challenge to engage performers from around the world to record live music remotely, but that it all came together in collaborative sessions with Aalap, the lyricist, and the director. He remembers this as a hectic yet fun time as he and his brother put together the final sound mix. There were many late nights producing scratch tracks and refining the songs over time.
Parth learned how to communicate with the director and filmmaker to adhere to their vision while balancing the director’s musical tastes with his own. He also learned how to work faster, delegating a number of tasks in order to complete the project on time.
Parth has carried these lessons with him to several new projects: a thriller series for Oho Gujarati; a theater production of The Night Diary with the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, North Carolina, and California’s EnActe Arts; and the arts festival Abhivyakti: the City Arts Project.
Parth’s goal is to transport listeners of his music to another world as they experience the music he composes and produces. He aspires to create this impact with high-quality work, not only in the Gujarati region but in the entertainment industry as a whole.
“I want to make sure that whatever work I do is on par with the national level’s standards,” Parth says.