Kya aap bollywood ke dhikchik gaano se thakk chuke hai?
Kya aapke dost house parties mein aapke indie music ke suggestions ko ignore karke wahi ghisepite EDM ke gaano par trip karte hai?
Kya aap apne youtube ke pichde hue suggestions ke daldal mein phas chukein hai?
Kya aap samajhte hai ki firang bands hi cool music ke devtaa hain?
Kya aapko abhi bhi #swadeshi music par bharosaa hai?
Agar ismein se kisi bhi sawaal ka javaab aapne haan diyaa hai, toh Padhariye.
We are your over-excited friend from the other side; the explorers and navigators of the Indian Indie Music Scene bringing you the freshest exotic spices from these uncharted territories - ansuna, andekha, khatarnaak swadeshi maal.
We are the fortnightly dhamaka in your inbox.
We discover. We curate. We share. And you get the bragging rights.
So why are we doing this?
Indian Indie music scene abhi bohot faad ho rahaa hai. And we can’t believe that more people aren’t already raving about it! Jab humein ek hosh-udaa-dene-wala band/gaana milta hai, toh saare mohalle mein jaa kar chillaane ka mann karta hai.:D
Par kyunki ek aap hai jo humaari bhavanao ko samajhte hai, aapke liye pesh hai FanGirl, a fortnightly newsletter jo aap tak pohochaega taaza maal, artist interviews, live gig ke scoops, mixtapes, album launches aur dher sari bakchodi. Filhaal, Isko padhiye, hysteria kariye aur failaiye (kyunki raita failega tabhi toh scene banega!)
Aao, Fangirling karein.
Iss kaatilana garmi ko itne din survive karne ke liye aapko badhaai ho. Climate change ko chah kar bhi ab aap ignore nahin kar sakte, aur waise ab woh aapke bas ki rahi bhi nahin. Chaliye Filhaal, aapko melt hone ka ek aur reason dete hue, we present our first section.
Kisi indie band ke video par 3 mahine mein 100,000+ views hona badi cool baat hai, par jaante ho zyaada cool kya hai? Stealth mode! Easy Wanderlings have been operating secretively, masking their identities all along the way, letting only their music do the talking. Yeh lo unka Facebook page, agar koi band member ka naam ya chehra mile toh let us know ASAP, and we’ll send you a gulab jamun ka dibba!
Ab gaana sunte hain.
Take your beloved to the terrace or drive down to a quiet spot, play the song, aur chup chaap share that one cigarette. Actually buy a pack, kyunki gaana repeat pe chalne ki guarantee hai. Single junta tension na lein, apne double bed pe starfish bann ke aise gaane sunne ka mazaa kahin aur kahaan!
"Bhai, The Circus ki nayi album aayi hai. Aur kaafi faad hai!"
“Par kya hai yeh Circus? ”
Operating from Dilli, The Circus is a rock band which has been experimenting and evolving its music for almost a decade now. And With Love puts forth a kadak statement that they aren't stopping anytime soon.
Nine Inch Nails ke bhakt, the Circus, started off by creating covers of NIN and Nirvana tracks. Beginning with a predominantly post-rock intent, over time they have started incorporating hints of post punk revival into their music. What this experimentation has resulted in is a unique lovechild called With Love. The new album packages seven songs that talk about everything from broken relationships, to suicide, to Game of Thrones (sahi mein!). Musically speaking, each song stands out as an outstanding decoupled listen. The intros, the echoing vocals and the hard-hitting riffs are vaguely resonant of early Interpol and Karnivool’s Themata.
The album commences with resounding war drums leading to a very hum-worthy ‘Not Yet Dinosaurs’. Thereafter, follow uncanny tracks such as ‘Discourse! Discourse!’ and ‘Lions and Wolves’. These opening tracks walk over, unlatch those rusted windows of your mind, and prepare the bheja for a good round of forlorn catharsis. Iske baad songs such as ‘I’m Bored’ and ‘I Don’t Care Anymore for You’ are real cheeky ones loaded with guilty pleasure that will kick the frustrations out those windows into oblivion.
Toh conclusively, the album calls for some serious acknowledgment. The album is available online for 84 bucks. (Chauraasi mein saat gaane, bro. Itne mein aajkal saat Classic Milds bhi nahi milti.)
Get the album here : https://www.instamojo.com/studiofuzz/the-circus-with-love/
The Circus Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/circusthe
You can follow The Circus here: https://www.facebook.com/circusthe/
The Circus = Arsh Sharma (guitar, vocals), Abhinav Chaudhary (bass), Abhishek Bhatia (vocals) and Anshul Lall (drums).
Ritwik De is the man behind four (yes, four!) bands in Delhi, all of which we absolutely love. He blew us away with a ukulele piece on distortion (for The Yellow Bucket opening for Lucy Rose – they ended up being the best show of the night) and has given us one of the most beautiful guitar solos you will hear this year.
All that, a recording studio and a DIY festival later, he’s the one we are raving about this week. We were lucky enough to have pierced through the million fangirl messages this guy must be receiving (a fact he denies) to get an interview.
You’re part of four insane bands (Zokova, MindFlew, TankBund, The Yellow Bucket). How do you come up with names?
It’s very random. Frankly I don’t give it that much thought.
TankBund for example is named after a tank in Hyderabad – the name just fits the kind of music we do, that’s it.
MindFlew was previously called The Angry Mob (that was my first band in school in 2006). We changed it to MindFlew since the previous name didn’t fit the vibe after we started experimenting with our sound. MindFlew works now coz we do more ambient.
Zokova because my father made me an email address (my first yahoo email) with ‘ritzokov’ as the ID. So when I was naming my project, I thought I’ll extend it and call it Zokova. It sounds like nothing, maybe Russian. But it fits the vibe, again.
Four bands. Or are there more?
There’s one more, this weird electronica, solo project, dance album kind of thing called Anal-Log that I’m working on. I’ve been using my cell phone for this. I’ve recorded some interesting people on the streets on my phone and made songs out of it. There was this chanawala, he’s also a chowkidar who sells chana as a part time thing. He keeps singing ‘chana jor garam’ in a very interesting way, and I’ve made it into a song. Also recorded some Rajasthani folk singers for another song.
Ritwik runs GharKaStudios – a recording studio in Delhi since 2013. The studio has recently gotten a makeover with professional recording equipment and a booth to record drums. In his own words, it’s now a proper studio as compared to what he would call a home-setup before.
What was the motivation behind forming GharKaStudios (GKS)?
A number of reasons actually. First one being – when I was 5 or 6, my father once played a few chords on a guitar and told me to sing something that we would record on a cassette player. At the end of it, I could hear myself on it. It actually got recorded and I could speed it up, slow it down and there was this huge feeling of ‘how is this happening!’. Later, I started messing with GarageBand when it came out, I’d put different loops together on it and it was all very exciting. Then I started experimenting with recording on a computer with minimal equipment, without knowing anything about sound engineering, but just experimenting a lot with whatever I could get my hands on. After years of it, I decided to record and produce my band’s (MindFlew) first album myself. Then things started settling. I got into audio technology, read a lot and heard a lot of music. Then GKS happened, with the main purpose of recording and producing my own bands. The second reason - out of the few times I’ve been to recording studios to record my bands, I’ve always felt the pressure. And when you have the option of recording yourself, its always more relaxing /fun for you and your bandmates.
You also tinker around with older equipment.
A lot, actually. I have this very old cassette deck from the ‘80s that’s got 2 microphone inputs through which I often run my keyboards, you get a nice, sad sound through it. I also have a tape machine from the 60s which works sometimes, I keep messing around with that as well. The older ones are actually more fascinating. The fact that so many great albums were recorded on a four-track recorder like that is just exciting to me. Even otherwise, you can do so many things with hardware that you can’t with software.
Can you simplify that jargon for us?
Its simple - instead of playing say FIFA on your gaming console, you go out and play football in real, sweat it out, come back and apply all the gyan you learnt on the field into your video game, and emulate those things there. Working on hardware vs. software is like that. The physical thing is more dangerous, there is scope for stuff breaking down, its risky, but its exciting and insightful.
What artists have you recorded at GKS other than your own bands?
The first one was Aditi Veena (D I T T Y), also Amartya Ghosh, and most recently this wonderful folksy singer-songwriter from Arunachal Pradesh called Taba Chake. I’m also recording this band called Philosophy of Life, which is a heavy prog rock band.
You really like playing with sounds.
Very much. I had made a song a while back, which is entirely out of kitchen utensils and bottles and stuff. It was a dance song.
For an upcoming TankBund song, I laid out an old headphone cable across the room and attached a clip-on guitar pickup at one end. You really get a nice upright bass sound from it, and that was our first layering of the bass for it. All of it is my attempt of making something people haven’t heard. You can’t do that with conventional ways.
A word of advice to artists going for recording their stuff?
I really think artists should record albums rather than singles. Why the Beatles are the Beatles and why Radiohead is Radiohead, is because they invest time and thought into recording an album. Albums are journeys from the first song to the last. People can connect more to an album, decipher more about the artist and emote more towards the music in the way the artist meant it to be.
Ritwik is also one of the two people behind DIY Day – a day long festival in Delhi that promotes multiple forms of independent art, all done the DIY way.
How did DIY Day start?
Me and Subhadra (The Yellow Bucket, TankBund) had gotten really tired of how things were in the events space, atleast in Delhi. Gigs had become really random. Sometimes we were on our way to a gig and it got cancelled. Audiences made it seem like we were a background score to their evening. We realized the need to create a space where (ideally) audiences would come and listen to music the way the artist conceived it to be. Where they would notice subtle nuances, maybe hear some lyrics and actually go back with something in their head.
What is a DIY Day like?
While ideating, Subhadra had this wonderful idea about including other forms of independent art into the concert, and we went with it. We approached entrepreneurs who were doing their own things, from food to painting to anything that fit the bill. It ended up becoming this huge mela celebrating independent art.
You successfully managed crowdfunding it.
We did not have enough capital ourselves, and we did not want to go with sponsors, because that’s the point of DIY. It was less of an ego thing, more of an experiment. We have always been doing things on our own (recording albums), so we thought why don’t we experiment getting funds on our own. That brought up crowdfunding. Some friends were starting out with a crowdfunding website called ‘HotStart’. They were pretty new as well (3-4 campaigns old). It was wonderful how everyone was doing something new here. They really liked the idea. We managed raising 60,000 for the concert. The process of seeing how much we were getting funded each day was very exciting for us.
How has the audience response been for the three editions of DIY Day?
People have been amazing. They were silent and were there to only listen to the artists. It was crazy.
From Delhi Sultanate crowdfunding his sound system, to Ctrl Alt Delete doing it for the past 9 years, it seems that crowdfunding has arrived in the indie scene. It has started making sense for people trying to do quality events.
Most definitely. What the guys at Ctrl Alt Delete are doing is phenomenal. They have been raising money on a regular basis and are becoming an entity to reckon with. We at DIY Day are also aiming to make our campaigns more regular and more exciting every year. If we are transparent and if people connect with us, they will definitely contribute. But yeah, crowdfunding is the way forward.
Some quick questions now.
One underrated and one overrated band from the scene.
Underrated – Advaita. I mean they are huge, but they should be doing international shows and should have been even bigger by now.
Overrated – I don’t think there’s such a thing. Everybody makes music how they feel is right and there is no overrated-ness about it. Although I have been seeing festivals showcasing only a certain set of artists playing the same slots every year, probably their own artists, which I think is unfair. That to me is overrated. These festivals need to also look at underrated bands and not make some artists overrated.
One person in the scene you would unabashedly fangirl for?
It could be Subbu (Subhadra). You know we’re dating.
That doesn’t count!
Come on man! Umm, it would be Warren Mendonsa then (BlackstratBlues). He’s phenomenal. I’d totally love watching him live.
Favorite festival you played in.
Ziro. I had a muscle tear, but our set (TankBund) was at sunset and the sky was purple. It was surreal. Also, The Lost Party this year.
Favorite venues in the country.
The Humming Tree in Bangalore and The Piano Man Jazz Club in Delhi. Both of them have great infrastructures and are doing a lot for the scene.
One song from the Indian scene you can’t get over.
I really enjoyed the new 'Run! It’s the Kid' album.
Hum toh indie music junkies hai hi, par jante hai ki hum sab ke baap kon hai? Billu Bhaiya. Puri duniya ka wisdom aur gussa apni pan ki dukaan mein liye baithe hai.
Bas, plug in, play and jai mata di!
Pichle NH7 Weekender mein hui Mogwai ki performance ne humaari zindagi badal di. It was no different than being bang in the middle of the ocean as the tides of their music washed upon us and happily took us away! Agar aapko lagta hai ki apne room mein baithe woofers/woh-mehenge-wale-headphones par post-rock tunes ko sunna gazab experience hai, toh wait till you watch some of these mashallah bands live. Billu Bhaiya ki farmaish par humne aapke liye bade hi excited ho kar yeh work-out/work playlist banaayi hai. Naam hai ‘And we burn with it’ (Thank you Zokova!), kyunki calories ho ya keyboard par type karti hui ungliyan, sab kuch fanaa ho iss long play ke saath.
As We Keep Searching - Catalogues
Shuru karenge humaare personal favorite, dry state mein ugey huye ek wild rose se. As we keep searching for the absolute must-listen song from their discography, we have only somehow managed to pick just one. Bohot na-insafi hai! Par iske alaava B-303 bhi kaafi tagda (aur popular) gaana hai inka.
Zokova - And we burn with it
Delhi indie scene ke #sharmajikebete Ritwik De ke post-rock project Zokova ka gaana. Iske riffs aapke sir ko ek pattern par hilta hua set kar ke itne pyaar se transition karenge, ki it will almost bring a smile on your face. Beech ke guitar solo ke liye aur brownie points!
Ioish - It only made sense
Ioish (damn that name’s good, what does it mean?) a New Delhi based, super-tight act featuring two members of The Circus (Jinka Album “With Love” humne bohot hi shiddat se upar review kiya hai) with supercool flying stingrays on their latest EP cover.
Bro, Stingrays kya hote hai?! - Here you go.
Until We Last - To space and back
Indian Post-rock band Until We Last ki Earthgazing naamak EP se liya gaya yeh gaana, is a part of the series of songs that have been inspired by their travels across Karnataka, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu. “But then, when we came back to the city, we realized they [cities] are destroying everything.” Such feeeeels.
Space Behind Yellow The Room- Teach Him To Dance
SBTYR ke bohot hi yummy naye album se yeh gaana jo unpredictability ko next level par le jaata hai. Cool down karein iske saath. Aur khud ko innnii saaaarriii mehnat karne ke liye ganne ke juice se reward karein. Kasam Taher Shah ki, aapko Heaven on Earth mil jaayega. Ta!
Scene Kya Hai?
“Kalaa desh ke kone kone mein hai, par kalakar apne kone mein seemit hai” - Kavish Seth
Started purely with the purpose to promote the independent music scene and artists in every gaav, kasba and sheher of India, to take it out of the big cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore, Zubaan is a first of its kind initiative adding a saundha flavor to this somewhat elite industry. Apne Geet, Apne Zubaan ki tagline le kar, contemporary indie music ke glitz aur glamor se durr, Zubaan humein humare hi sheher mein rehne wale uss independent artist se roobaroo karvaata hai, jisko hum shayad jaante hai par maante nahin. Aur kyon na ho! Indie music sirf bade sheheron aur angrezi mein nahin, hindi, bhojpuri aur pahadi mein bhi toh bann rahaa hogaa. Zubaan inn #swadeshi gaano ko collaboration aur concerts ke zariye ek manch de raha hai! You can watch the video of their tour in Kausani here and that of Varanasi, here.
Goosebumps huye na? Humein bhi! Their collaborations are now bearing fruit in the form of recordings that we just can't wait to hear and share. Inka Facebook Page like karein aur apne gaav ya sheher mein inhe bulayein. Take our word for it, you don't want to miss this!
Dil mein hui thi khalbali,
Nahi socha tha yeh din bhi aayega,
aaj deni pad rahi hai shradhanjali.
We all know the F16s. We all know they make terrific music. But alas, lekin, shit, fuck my life, the band had announced some news. News that deeply saddens us, kills us within, maar diya bilkul. They are now on an indefinite hiatus. (insert hatasha). Only consolation - last album comes out this August. #triggerpunkte
Yeh dekho, fangirling samaai nahin aur itnaa lamba khat likh diya! This is our attempt to spread the magic of indian indie music with this newsletter, if you liked it and happen to know a behtareen indie band you’d like us to cover toh humein khat zaroor likhein - firstname.lastname@example.org
Iss email par aap feedback bhi bhej sakte hai.
Aapke khat ka intezaar rahega <3
Until next time, #swadeshisuno aur sunao \m/