Image Credit – Peter Cat Recording Co.
I began my career as a music journalist with a gig review of Peter Cat Recording Co. something that is best left buried in the tumultuous sands of time. It is my dying wish that no one ever finds it. To say that it was flattering to the band would be an understatement. When I first caught PCRC in BlueFROG Mumbai I was taken by a contagious compulsion to let go. Anyone who has followed frontman Suryakant Sawhney’s work over the years, will tell you of the distinct flavour his visual aesthetic leaves on your tongue. You can’t really taste his music without imagining it.
Image Credit – Ron Bezbaruah
Pune-based musician, Gowri Jayakumar, is a woman who wears many hats, switching effortlessly from one avatar to the next one. From being in a pop/jazz/folk band, Run Pussy Run, to starting a platform meets record label focused on minority voices in India, she’s constantly innovating and reinventing herself.
“I feel like this is the first time I’m going to stick to something”, she says, when we talk about her foray into the world of electronic music under the moniker Pulpy Shilpy, whose 4 track EP, ‘Slough’, is a dark and brooding dance record that has received praise from both critics and listeners.
“Even If There’s A High Risk & I Die Poor In A Ditch, I Have To Do It” Dena Zarrin On Identity & Straddling Two Worlds
At the core of Dena Zarrin’s personality, and the music she writes as Madanii, is a sense of identity. Zarrin’s life as the daughter of Iranian immigrants in Germany informs a lot of her musical output, existing in that space between western and eastern cultural and aesthetic values, straddling the two worlds. Music had always been a part of her, but she’d gotten involved with the industry, the business side of things. “I somehow lost my way in all that. I just felt physically and mentally ill—I realised I have to do music. Even if there’s a high risk and I die poor in a ditch, I have to do it. I started the project [Madanii] around three years ago, when Trump was president of the US, a lot was going on,” she says over a Skype call. “I just felt there weren’t many second generation migrant children in music here; there weren’t many people speaking up. I felt the need to be a voice somehow and bring my cultural heritage to the forefront.”
Image taken from Antariksha Sanchar: Transmissions in Space designed by Quicksand Design Studio
“Art is a way to understand myself and the world around us. I feel I am only at the beginning of a beautiful journey. I have always considered myself as a student of art: a process that is continuous and hopefully lifelong,” says Avinash Kumar (Thiruda), a game designer, researcher, artist and one of the co-founders of Quicksand (an interdisciplinary consultancy). …
Garam Anday: The Feminist Pakistani Band That’s Coming For Patriarchy Armed With Rage, Irreverence, & Sticks
Pakistan has found its first overtly feminist band in the tongue-in-cheek and irreverently named Garam Anday. For vocalist Anam Abbas, the name of the band really works because “it points to female angst and some degree of juvenile delinquency which I fully embrace in life and art.”
Neal Sekhri’s energy bounces off the wall: he fidgets, moves at a fast-pace and talks in an endless stream of thought. You see how this translates behind the decks as one-half of MadStarBase when he isn’t DJing, he doubles as the hype-man. Sekhri knows how to get the crowd on his side, to get them ready to party. Anant Ahuja is the counterweight to this energy. Ahuja is soft-spoken, bordering on shy. He’s laid back and pragmatic. His words are measured and never reveals more than what he wants. He’s the other half of MadStarBase – the New Delhi-based hip-hop duo.
“I dont think my journey as an ethnomusicology scholar has begun yet. It’s an interesting field of study, with its own setbacks. I believe neither I have nor can I immortalise anything. I feel more and more inclined towards the ‘making’ side of things than the studying of the making or makers within a culture,” says Rajan Shrestha a Kathamandu-based interdisciplinary artist whose work revolves around music, photography and videography.
Image taken at The Shift by Shubham Gupta
If you listen to ‘alternative’ electronic music in New Delhi, only a few venues in the city indulge your taste. After the clubs shut (1am, mostly) the after-parties start. The same several dozen people frequent both these places. Eager to trade names alongside lighters, they stay awake until the soft focus of pre-dawn. While most of the city sleeps, this particular group of people will share cigarettes while taking ownership of a scuffed up nook, a hardened piece of pavement. This is where conversations around ways to better the industry happen. They’re mostly repetitive and trite with people glowing in the shared confidence of the music that pulsates from another room. The romantic inside us wants to believe that all great ideas happen here, in these moments that seem to last forever. In reality, the conversations are just seeds being planted. It takes laborious, tedious work for one of these seeds to be fruitful. One of those seeds was Coven Code.
Image credit – Polina Schapova
For years, Gaurav Malaker and Sahil Vasudeva had been trying to figure out a way to work together. It was easier said than done; Malaker is BLOT!, and has been DJing and producing dancy electronic music for centuries (at least in terms of Indian independent music’s still-young timeline). Vasudeva, on the other hand, is a classically trained pianist, albeit one who’s constantly looking to push the form into the modern era, messing around with styles and formats and bringing those sounds into unpredictable spaces. “Nothing concrete came about,” says Malaker. “We’re from two distinct schools of music. Actually, I wouldn’t even call mine a school of music! We didn’t want to make this a fusion farce sort of thing, so it didn’t materialise.”