In keeping with the theme of VIVID magazine’s issue number seven—doing more with less—we asked musician Pete Hicks to reflect on this topic, sharing from his experiences in the band Aradhna:
Since all the band members lived in different locations, we toured in a very interesting style: we would basically fly into a big city, get in a van and tour around for two weeks to areas within 500 miles or whatever. So we travelled really light. We had the sitar, an acoustic guitar, bass, a small bass amp and tablas, and the four of us would travel around that way.
With that kind of limited instrumentation, it was really interesting to go into each concert. We ended up focusing on the interplay between the instruments and the vocals, and it would almost be an unspoken goal to attempt something new in each concert to keep it interesting for ourselves—to just enjoy the interplay. I think that was a huge strength in a lot of ways.
There was a time we started touring with more instruments, more members, and though that was definitely its own experience—it was a different presentation—there was something really wonderful when it was just the four of us. As a quartet we were so limited with our tools that we had to engage ourselves all the more to keep it interesting. I think, for the audience, since they didn’t have to play the songs or hear the songs every day I don’t think they might have minded or cared as much as we did. But for us, to take that limited instrumentation and learn how to dance with each other with those elements…
There were a few songs that felt hard to develop live with a smaller layout, but for the most part I don’t remember many times when we would go through a song completely rote. There would be little things—conversations between the bass, tabla, sitar, guitar and of course vocally—we’d never done before and sometimes never do again. And it was always like, “yeah, that’s great!”
It was very much a reminder of the limitless creation aspect of who God is—He even created the world to be constantly creating, which we get to be a part of. Sometimes we can get really distracted by all the different tools we could use to create, and they can slow you down in the end. I think what I’m learning even in life is: you take what you have, you use it and you use it to the best of your ability to glorify God. And if you use them well, you get more tools.