A look at Man-Akin and A Few Words With Aham Saxena

If you have read our Steelrush article, you might be aware of the brilliant musician who hails from Bhopal, Aham Saxena. After Through The Night EP with Steelrush, Aham has launched his solo progressive rock initiative "Man-Akin" with single "The Rift" now out on Youtube, Bandcamp and music on demand services.

A first listen to the single sounds pretty great. It is progressive rock with a little bit of 80s hard rock as well as some space rock feel to it. It's about five minute long, starts with a heavy guitar riffs based intro and then soothe into some melodic pieces. It is also packed with amazing guitar solos right from the beginning. Overall the song is pretty guitar heavy with riffs being the main focus, that's apparently also why it is known as "The Rift".

Man-Akin as a project looks promising with "The Rift" coming out as a great start to Aham's solo journey. The single has been getting some great radio coverage with channels like Scotland Rocks Radio, MMH Radio(UK) and World of Prog(UK) already have been playing the song.

Aham Saxena - Man-Akin - Steelrush

I got the opportunity to ask a few questions to Aham.

When did the thought of starting a solo project come to you, and how was the journey from that thought to finally releasing your first single?
I had these song ideas kept aside since around 2016 as I was working on SteelRush then. The thought of this project was always there but it did not solidify until this year when the lockdown happened and SteelRush's Spain tour got cancelled.  It allowed me some extra time to work on those unfinished project files. I heard the old demos and started recording them in my home studio. There wasn't much to re-write on "The Rift", I had written this one in a single sitting back then. I remember I laid a drum track and hit the record button and played whatever came to my mind first - riff after riff, in fact the demo on my computer's called "The Riff", even while giving it an official name I just changed the last letter.  But a great journey none the less, I'm loving the response and being exposed to a new audience is indeed thrilling.

Why progressive rock, what are your influences?
Honestly, I didn’t really give it a thought when I was working on The Rift. In fact, I was confused on how to classify these songs, and as far as I see it's the 'progressive' genre where there're no real limitations on how to write something, you've all the freedom - which was my idea of writing these songs, going freestyle, no boundaries. 
About the influences, I’d say everything that I’ve ever heard! But since I've decided to classify Man-Akin as a progressive act so I'd say Genesis was the band! Albums like Genesis and Invisible Touch became my gateway into the genre. Remember playing these albums on my way to college every day, it was a one-and-a-half-hour journey one way, a prog album was the way to go! I love how these albums are both prog and yet very accessible for a non-prog listener. Some of the other 'Prog' influences I'd say are obviously - Rush, IQ & the not so technical stuff from Dream Theater.  

How was your experience recording and now promoting your work during the pandemic? Would it have made a difference if you had done this before covid 19 started?
Recording for Man-Akin has been a great experience. There were a few struggles as the lockdown was on its peak and I couldn't even order a fresh set of strings for my guitar as everything was shut. Guilty, those are pretty old and rusty guitar strings in the recording! In case you're interested in the technical part, I mic'd my 15W Marshall practice amp with two mics (AT2020 condenser and the good old Shure SM57) and used my Squier Strat. The bass and keyboards were recorded directly into the audio interface/Midi, and I programmed the drums with some samples I borrowed from a few friends. 
As far as the promotion goes, it has been a great first week. I've gained more and more respect for the online radios, that's the platform which has really helped me to get to my target audience. In fact I've recently learned that there are radios which play instrumentals on their shows (something I thought was very difficult while promoting SteelRush; AOR/Rock radios were more particular about songs having vocals and shorter lengths etc.). Like I said, I love the freedom that the prog world allows! I think the only difference in normal circumstances would be that I would get to play LIVE, but then again, if it weren’t for the pandemic Man-Akin would still be a “work in progress”! The only other thing I'm a bit disappointed about is that I can’t get physical CDs for Man-Akin yet, I absolutely loved putting out CDs for SteelRush, it was a very rewarding experience.

How has Bhopal, your hometown influenced you in your journey? Would you like to describe your younger days as a musician from the city?
Growing up in Bhopal definitely had a role in shaping up my interests in music.
Initially Bhopal had a very small music scene and as a kid I found only a handful of like-minded people there so one really was pushed to find and discover music on their own (Big credit goes to YouTube!).
It's actually almost surreal to look back and realize how kids from the city found brilliant and the rarest of music on their own just because they were eager to explore and thanks to all of that, now I see a lot of musicians from Bhopal doing really well for themselves! I think there is a good potential for the scene to grow there.
Bhopal did have some limitations of course when it came to doing music professionally, so I decided to move to Mumbai in 2017.

Would you like to convey any message for our readers? 
Well, I'd like to say these are difficult times and the live music scene has suffered, so support your favourite local artists and buy their music and merch! And if you can't for some reason, share their music with your friends. So please go and buy SteelRush and Man-Akin's music now, or share it. Also, wear a mask, wash your hands, stay home & stay safe!

You can listen to the rift on Youtube at the following link:


Covering talent coming out from Bhopal is one of the a few things I've been trying to do via this blog. The city we all have grew in definitely leaves a great mark upon what we achieve. I wish all the best to Aham for Man-Akin. 
Please share this post with everyone you know so that Man-Akin and Aham get the recognition they deserve. Please let me know what you think about the band, the music and the article in the comments section.
If you are aware of any such person or group from the city who is out there, making us proud and would like me to cover here on Bhopal Beat. Do let me know.
There are exciting new plans for the blog and lots of things coming up. So stay tuned. Thank you for reading.

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Rains of Bhopal is an online magazine about the beautiful city of Bhopal. Bhopalis know how amazing the life of Bhopal is. Everyday we find a new way to have fun in our lives. We visit places, go to parties or just dance in the rain. Rains of Bhopal's key objective is to show case this amazing life and culture into one online presence.