ANNIVERSARIES:

! Boz Burrell (Bad Company) 1-Aug ! Chuck D (Public Enemy) 1-Aug ! Coolio 1-Aug ! Joe Elliot (Def Leppard) 1-Aug ! Robert Cray (1953) 1-Aug ! Tiger Varadachariar 1-Aug ! Prema Hariharan (Chennai) 2-Aug ! Sushama Reddy 2-Aug ! Zelma Davis (C+C Music Factory) 2-Aug ! Chhannulal Mishra 3-Aug ! James Hetfield (Metallica) 3-Aug ! Tony Bennett (1926) 3-Aug ! Sharon Prabhakar 4-Aug ! Vellore Ramabhadran 4-Aug ! Vishal Bhardwaj 4-Aug ! Ganesh Jain 5-Aug ! Kumbakonam Rajamanickam Pillai 5-Aug ! Pat Smear (formerly of Foo Fighters) 5-Aug ! Aditya Narayan 6-Aug ! Cyrus Sahukar 6-Aug ! Geri Halliwell (Ginger Spice of Spice Girls) 6-Aug ! Bruce Dickenson (Iron Maiden) 7-Aug ! Cyrus Broacha 7-Aug ! Suresh Wadkar 7-Aug ! JC Chasez ('N Sync) 8-Aug ! Raza Ali Khan 8-Aug ! Shawn Mendes 8-Aug ! Asgari Bai 9-Aug ! Sawan Kumar Tak 9-Aug ! Sulkshana Pandit 9-Aug ! Trichur V.Ramachandran (Chennai) 9-Aug ! Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull) 10-Aug ! Ustad Alladiya Khan 10-Aug ! Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande 10-Aug ! Ramashreya Jha 11-Aug ! T.H.Vinayakram 11-Aug ! V. Doreswamy Iyengar 11-Aug ! Kid Creole 12-Aug ! Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits) 12-Aug ! Pat Metheny 12-Aug ! Nalin Shah 13-Aug ! T.K.Murthy 13-Aug ! Dash Crofts (Seals & Crofts) 14-Aug ! David Crosby (Crosby, Stills & Nash) 14-Aug ! Manohar Iyer 14-Aug ! Michael Graham (Boyzone) 14-Aug ! Sunidhi Chauhan 14-Aug ! Amir Khan 15-Aug ! Bharati Pradhan 15-Aug ! Pandit Prasun Banerjee 15-Aug ! Prof. T.Viswanathan 15-Aug ! R.Durga Prasad 15-Aug ! Srimushnam V.Raja Rao 15-Aug ! Emily Erwin (Dixie Chicks) 16-Aug ! Hemlata 16-Aug ! Kishan Bhutani 16-Aug ! Madonna 16-Aug ! Poochi Srinivasa Iyengar 16-Aug ! Belinda Carlisle 17-Aug ! Donnie Wahlberg (New Kids On The Block) 17-Aug ! Daler Mehndi 18-Aug ! Dennis Elliot (Foreigner) 18-Aug ! Gulzar 18-Aug ! Jon Higgins 18-Aug ! Pt. Vishnu Digambar Paluskar 18-Aug ! T.S.Balakrishna Sastrigal 18-Aug ! Abdul Rashid Khan 19-Aug ! Ginger Baker (Cream) 19-Aug ! Ian Gillan (Deep Purple) 19-Aug ! John Deacon (Queen) 19-Aug ! Ken Gosh 19-Aug ! Demi Lovato 20-Aug ! Fred Durst (Limp Bizkit) 20-Aug ! Naresh(Mahesh Brother) 20-Aug ! Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin) 20-Aug ! Uday Tara Nayar 20-Aug ! Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple) 21-Aug ! Kenny Rogers 21-Aug ! Liam Howlett (Prodigy) 21-Aug ! Melissa Schuman (Dream) 21-Aug ! Sriram Brahmanandam 21-Aug ! Howie Dorough (Backstreet Boys) 22-Aug ! James DeBarge (DeBarge) 22-Aug ! Paul Douchette (Matchbox 20) 22-Aug ! Roland Orzabal (Tears For Fears) 22-Aug ! Tori Amos 22-Aug ! Dean DeLeo (Stone Temple Pilots) 23-Aug ! SkyBlu (LMFAO) 23-Aug ! Basavaraj Rajguru 24-Aug ! Billy Ray Cyrus 25-Aug ! DJ Terminator X (Public Enemy)25-Aug ! Elvis Costello 25-Aug ! Gene Simmons 25-Aug ! Rekha Chinniprakash 25-Aug ! Rob Halford (Judas Priest) 25-Aug ! Vivian Campbell (Def Leppard) 25-Aug ! Adrian Young (No Doubt) 26-Aug ! M.S.Anantaraman 26-Aug ! Shirley Manson (Garbage) 26-Aug ! Rajarathnam Pillai 27-Aug ! Shania Twain 27-Aug ! Tony Kanal (No Doubt) 27-Aug ! Voletti Venkateswarulu 27-Aug ! Chris Copping (Procol Harum) 29-Aug ! Kyle Cook (Matchbox 20) 29-Aug ! Micky Moody (Whitesnake) 30-Aug ! Debbie Gibson 31-Aug ! Rudolf Schenker (Scorpions) 31-Aug

Driven by Passion

Paroma Chatterjee better known as DJ PAROMA is today one of India’s leading female DJs. From a novice in a predominantly male dominated field, she has over the past eight or so years, proven that she can hold her own against the best of the guys out there. Today she is a celebrity DJ who is on the jury of several TV shows including Sa Re Ga Ma Pa and Lil Champs. She was the winner of the WOW Asia Awards 2018 in the best Female DJ category and the official DJ at IPL 2014.

She has done several official Bollywood remixes for Sony Music, T Series and Zee Music  and performed gigs all over the country and across the world including the US, Australia, Asia and Middle East. Recently she was appointed Brand Ambassador for two renowned brands, V-Moda and UDG Gear (representing India on their worldwide website amongst the top djs of the world) which is a source of great pride for her.

DJ Paroma has come a long way from starting off as a cabin crew member with an airline, a few stints in other fields, before deciding to go with her passion for music and ending up as India’s top most female DJs. For her, “Music is a human expression in the medium of time using the structures of sounds or tones and silence".

Here she talks to RagatoRock about her career, her struggles, her belief in herself, on the road to eventual success.

How did you start your Musical journey? 
Well, I am someone who sure dreams but I never have a concrete plan for the future. I take each day as it comes. The pressure then to make a right career choice after giving up on three different fields before, led me to choose something that I found close to my heart, which was music! DJing was not with an intention of keeping it as a hobby. I wanted to make a living out of something I really liked and that gave me the space to be creative. That is how I gave myself a deadline to explore in this industry and by God's grace, it all worked wonders.

What inspired you to become a DJ?  

Since I loved music so much and I was at a juncture in life where I needed to make some decisions that would keep my heart happy and not just run after money, I said to myself ‘DJing’ must happen since I wanted to get into something associated with music.

How did you acquire your DJ skills?
I fancied the profession of a DJ ever since I started partying, which was very early in life. I figured that I had the energy and passion on my side. And I just did not want to be only the dolled-up chick behind the console. I wanted it to be a package showcasing my talent along and be a performer, not just a DJ.
 To upgrade my skill, I took an intensive four- month course from an institute in Mumbai, under Bob Omulo, who was a stellar mentor. After a month since I finished the course, I was hired as an assistant DJ by a four-star property close to where I lived. Within 8 months into the job, I got my first freelancing gig on Christmas eve in Chennai in 2011 and from there, there was no looking back.
 

what kind of music do you play? Techno, EDM, Drums and Bas, House, etc.
As a DJ, I believe that a DJ who loves music must be keen on listening to different kinds of music and must try and experiment and educate the crowd with different genres. But since I perform only as a guest DJ and have very limited time to dish out what my crowd would love the most, coming from a country like India we all know what Bollywood can do to you and that’s exactly why I chose to specialise in the same. I love playing Bollywood; however, I also do play at gigs where I play Hip Hop, commercial and EDM.

What kind of DJ do you want to be?
Successful DJing is all about bumps on seats. The audience is an essential half of DJing. If you want any kind of success, you take this to heart and never lose sight of it.

What does it take to be a DJ? 
There are no certifications or license requirements to become a DJ. All you need is zeal, hard work self-motivation and lots of love and respect towards your job.

What kind of difficulties you have faced and how you overcame from that?   
In a career spanning about eight years, I have overcome many challenges. My early days were full of struggles, and this low phase continued until I actually got in the flow. DJing was a male-dominated field then. Many people tried to discourage me at the beginning of my career:

“People told me that this profession couldn’t take me anywhere and it is not socially acceptable for a woman to play music at nightclubs. I took it up because I didn’t find anything wrong with it.”

Soon I realized that I need to ignore the naysayers, as they were taking a toll on my work and this was affecting my peace of mind. Besides, there were security issues connected to being a female DJ at a nightclub—to be considered. But I remained committed to this endeavor. I think half the challenges you can disregard if you are focused on where exactly you want to be, and if you know your capabilities and worth.

You are a Glamorous DJ how come you have not added modeling & acting to you career graph?  
It’s there on my checklist and hopefully in coming days. But I also believe every glamorous woman shouldn't focus only on careers like modeling and acting. I get highly inspired by women who are glamorous and still choose to rock their own respective professions apart from these.

Do you compose Music? do you have any original Music?
I am working on my first single now after studying the industry carefully. It is absolutely my dream to have my own single and that will happen very soon.

What is your latest project?
My remix of ‘Ami Pagol Hoye Jabo’ by Deep Jandu that I thoroughly enjoyed playing during the Puja at Kolkata.  Its a very unique track that has a blend of Punjabi and Bengali lyrics together.

Do you think DJs are Music Composers?
A DJ traditionally plays existing tracks that are already established, at gigs. There are a lot of skills associated with DJing. Beat Matching, track selection, interaction with crowd etc. Nowadays, the gap between the two is getting narrower and if you want to be a good DJ, then you need to release tracks and EPs. This is to gain more exposure and build up your fan base.

Do you have any project in your pipeline?
I am working on a remix of my latest fav track ‘Ghungroo’. It’s more in a funk style that I am so excited to release. I haven’t heard anyone make one of that genres for this track. I love the track originally and I would love to see people dance on it.

What do you think of DJs replacing Bands? Are bands for the history books?  
I think a DJ can offer nearly limitless variety, flexibility, from classics to current. They can play exactly the music you have imagined. The higher production quality of recorded music, with every instrument and vocal balanced in the studio, makes it sounds great at any volume level.  This allows the DJ to adjust levels as necessary throughout the event. However, some bands are very talented and have great interaction with the crowd.

Anyone who really helped you when you were a nobody?
Yes, it was my family especially my mom along with my close friends who believed in my dreams and allowed me to fulfill it.

Piece of advice for DJ’s carving their way in this industry. 
Every DJ need to be patient at all times and cannot lose patience in the beginning. Just hold on, as your hard work and determination will pay off soon someday.

Your favorite Top 5 DJ's and favorite 5 tracks?
Armin Van Buuren, Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike, Tiesto, KSHMR and Eric Prydz.
How do you sleep - Sam Smith, I don’t care - Ed Sheeran, Señorita - Camilla Cabello, Mann Bharrya - B Praak, Ghungroo - War

 

Ranjit Barot's Musical Legacy

Ranjit Barot hardly needs an introduction. Internationally acclaimed as a drummer and musician, he has played with some of top most jazz musicians in the world including John McLaughlin, Don Cherry, Pt. Ravi Shankar, Louiz Banks and A. R. Rahman, to name just a few. His work with John McLaughlin on the 2008 album Floating Point received a Grammy nomination in the best Contemporary Jazz Album category.

Drums and percussion has been in his blood from a very young age and he was greatly influenced by such greats as Ustad  Alla Rakha, Ustad Zakir Hussain, jazz legend Billy Cobham, Elvin Jones, Carnatic legend Palghat Raghu and friend and teacher Sridhar Parthasarthy among many others.

A multifaceted musical talent, Ranjit Barot is an established music composer- director, producer, arranger and lyricist with numerous feature films and sound tracks to his credit and a great singer to boot. He has been a fixture on most of A. R. Rahman’s projects and live tours.

Here he talks to Raga to Rock about his life and musical journey through the years.

You are rated among the Top 100 Jazz drummers in the world....How did you make it?
I don’t know about top 100, but yes, through my work with John McLaughlin I’m now visible in the highest of jazz circles worldwide. This happened through a certain amount of serendipity. My elder brother and mentor, the great Zakir Hussain, made the connection and the rest unfolded like it should’ve. It involved deep introspection, hard work and a commitment to maintaining the highest standards of drumming and musicianship.

What do you think of the Drum machine and electronic music?
I love them both. They have a valid place in modern music production and one must not look at them as ‘replacements’ for the real thing. They’re another entity altogether, bringing with them their strengths as well as their inability to be human.

You have been making Music in various capacities from being a Musician, Lyricist, Composer, Sound designer, Singer, Curator, etc. Who is the real Ranjit Barot?
There is only the one Ranjit Barot, who is involved in all facets of music creation. I see no boundaries nor barriers. One must flow like water. Cliché but true. This is important for one’s growth as a musician as well as a human being. Also, very necessary for survival.

Also could you share Artists/People who played a part in your Musical journey?  
There may be too many to mention here but I’ll try. Firstly, my mother and my first guru, the legendary dancer Sitara Devi. Without her being a major part of my life, I might not have amounted to anything. Then I’d have to say Ustaad Allarakha, my first rhythm guru and spiritual guide. Then a little known, but a giant of a musician and composer, Soli Dastoor. Louiz Banks was a big part of my growth too. Last but in no way the least, the amazing AR Rahman. He exposed me to so much magic as well. As I mentioned, there are too many to mention here. I owe so much to so many people.

Favorite 5 songs each Hindi & English?
That would be impossible to list. So much incredible music has happened.

Can the son of the legendary Sitara Devi dance?
Not at all. I saved my family from that embarrassment a long time ago. In fact, one of the things I told my wife before (or maybe after, I can’t remember) is that I’d be happy to do anything except dance. That’s something she shouldn’t expect from me and I’ve been true to my word.

Tell us of your projects in the pipeline? 
I have an indie project entitled Musafir, a culmination of my musical journey thus far. I have an upcoming tour with John McLaughlin this October and I’ve formed a new band called UnCommon with my two brothers from Paris, Etienne Mbappé and Christophe Cravero m. And lastly, my band with my daughter Mallika Barot, which is called Superphonic. We’ll have an EP our later this year.

Any specific plans for the future in terms of collaborations, festivals, teaching music, grooming young artists...
This is an ongoing process. Empowering students and other musicians, curating festivals, trying to unearth the vast musical heritage that our beloved country possesses.
 

RANJIT BAROT-GURU GYAN

You  presented  your daughter as an Artist  at a Music Trade show, what would you like her to achieve in the Music world?
Firstly, I’d like her to be happy, as a person and human being. Which I’m happy to say she is. Then you channel all the blessings you’ve received into a positive sound and a positive attitude towards life. Be of service to others and society at large. I’m happy to say that she is on her way to being all of this.

How difficult was it for you to succeed in the Music business? what would be your advice o budding musicians?
Difficulties are only difficulties if you acknowledge them as such. It’s a journey....you do work which convinces some people and not others. Don’t take rejection to heart but look at it as trying to find new words to say the same thing. Some people respond to a different kind of language and one has just find the right things to say to the right people.

Any piece of advice for upcoming Drummers today?  Your secret  for success?
Stop looking at how many likes you have on YouTube/ FB, whatever. Play for the joy of playing. It’ll add years to your life. That doesn’t mean you don’t stay relevant, don’t practice, etc. You have to be at the top of your game to survive these days. But eventually you have to be you. Not an imitation.

The future of music across genres Classical, Film, Jazz, Rock in India... Your thoughts and views
Music is alive and strong. It’s not going anywhere. I’m not filled with gloom or despair. All sorts of music is happening. You have to find your place on this merry go round and make sure you don’t fall off the horse.

 

RANJIT BAROT- RETRO JOURNEY

How did drums happen to you at a young age?
Drums found me at the age of 14. There was a talent show in school and they needed a drummer. I volunteered and have never looked back.

 You have been a part of Pt. Ravi Shankar's ensemble, could you share an experience?
T was sublime to share the stage with Panditji. His aura, his smile, I remember it to this day. I became a part of this ensemble as part of the 1980 Jazz Yatra.

'Floating Point' with John Mc Laughlin made you a Grammy nominee, how did that come about?
I got to ‘jam’ with him at the Abbaji concert held on every February the 3rd. This is hosted by Ustaad Zakir Hussain and in the evening, after we had played together, Johnji asked me to collaborate with him.

You have worked with music Directors from  Kalyanji Anandj, Lakshmikant Pyeralal, RD Burman,  Ismail Durbar to  AR Rehman  could you share what it was working with each one.
 It was exciting to be in the presence of such stalwarts. Again, all the time I spent doing these recordings with these greats was a huge learning experience. Like for instance, even as far back as the 70s-early 80s, RD recognised the value of spontaneity that comes out of a ‘jam’. At every sitting at his house, where singers and arrangers met to break down a tune, I noticed he had mics placed all around the room so the discussions were recorded into his nifty cassette player for review and gathering ideas later. No one else at the time had that foresight.

But not just musically, also the humanity that these masters possessed had a deep impact on me. Especially Pyarelalji. He walked into the studio everyday and made sure he greeted all of us before getting to the business at hand. That’s 100 musicians on some days, between the rhythm, string, electronic and brass sections. Amazing! Other times, when I would get to his recording late at night after my long day working for the advertising industry, the entire orchestra and singers would have done their parts and left. But he would go home and come back no matter how late and sit alone while I tracked, because that was the way he showed value for my time.

You have been Curating and Composing for huge events like  the Commonwealth Games, Serendipity Arts Festival, etc how do you manage it?
I don’t even think the thought of being ‘spread too thin’ crosses my mind for a minute. I live and breathe music, life and humanity. What else is there to do?

The Trance Effect

As the song goes,
"Its alright, no more pretending.
Just ride without no worries
 Its alright, don’t hide.....
Just free yourself and let it dance...."
Trance Effect, the Indie Pop Rock band from Nagaland takes us on a nostalgic journey through their music.They want to use their music to spread the message of positivity and overcome the hard times that people,specially the younger generation are going through with their music.Music really can heal the soul. We meet up with Trance Effect to know more about the members and their music

Give the readers a brief introduction of the members and how it all started.
We are a band from Nagaland. On Vocals, we have our dynamic and compelling performer Iuli Yeptho. Sosang Lkr on Drums, a quiet but an expressive player who never fail to capture the right beat at the right time. Temsujungba on guitars, the bigger than life character and an outstanding showman.Tako Chang on Guitars, his unique approach to music sets him apart, drawing more into melodies and catchy riffs. Imnamaong Imchen on Bass Guitars, with his experience for performing life music and minimal playing adds just the right amount of colour to make the audience groove into the music.It was in fact our bassist who came up with the idea of the band. He was keen on making music in a band and sounding like no other,but honestly it’s because we came together  to make music that all of us enjoy- I guess you could call that our secret ingredient.


Can you name the Biggest influences of the band. What inspired you guys?
We are influenced and inspired every time when we see a great live performance. It was the love to perform live music and create music that drew us into forming the band, it motivates us into putting in the hours until we get the music straight. We grew up watching our local artists and bands perform, they’ve had quite an impact to all of us.

How would you guys describe the bands sound? How are you guys different from other bands in the country?
Well,we would describe our sound as somewhat of a melodic approach to the Indie genre of music. We're all from different musical background and genre but the love to create beautiful melodic music brought us together.

The bands Name 'Trance Effect' how did it come about? What is the story behind the bands name?
Well, we wanted a name that would set a difference to the music scene in the country, that's why the name Trance Effect, which is a more melodic off shoot from Techno or House music is what drives our music even though we don’t have a DJ in the band. So, we named the band Trance Effect.

About the journey so far,how has the experience been?Tell us about you favourite gigs and festivals?
We'll,so far we've had a few gigs and played at festivals like Orange Festival in Dambuk, The Drift Music Festival in Guwahati but yes every gigs would be considered as the best because of all the different venues and different crowds. It helps us to make a beautiful story of our musical journey.

Tell us a little bit about your single ' Stop Pretending' what inspired the song? 
The song was written by our vocalist and it talks about the struggles and hardships a person faces in life. It talks about trying to Stop Pretending to be something one is not and to have a positive view on life. Well if you guys haven’t listened to the song then you can just stream it from all the steaming platforms like Apple Music, JioSaavn, YouTube etc 

Any upcoming release,if yes give an insight on what's next for Trance Effect?
We're working on our EP right now and yes Hopefully, we may have it completed by the end of this year and also a music video along with it. 

Lastly, any message to the readers and your followers.We’d just like to say be who you are, be original and just spread love. With our Dedut EP coming out you are going to see a different side of us. So, let’s go on a musical journey together. Thank you for your support, we love you.

Spitfire :Ink set on Fire

In the world of the written and spoken word, a name like 'Rumi' resonates a certain quality of depth and wordplay. In a contemporary context, 'Spitfire' aspires to be as great. The word 'Spit' is slang for the power of the spoken word. The word 'Fire' empowers the words to provoke or destroy anything that stands in his path. His weapons for peace and war are his words. Now imagine a word spoken, visible, soaked in the gasoline of depth and meaning, and then set it on fire. Spitfire embodies Ink set on Fire. Nitin Mishra is the real name of 'Spitfire', the young rapper from small-town Madhya Pradesh. The “Asli Hip Hop” hook from the Gully Boy that you’ve been tapping your foot to was created by him.

Swaddled in his grandmother’s frosting coated love since childhood, Nitin Mishra was not taught to stand up to hood bullies violently, which is probably why he took to the might of the word so easily. Growing up in small-town India, Nitin grew up completely unaware that hip-hop was not a dance form. This was only until he met his accomplice and brother Ayush Khare, who pushed Nitin to experient with the genre. Together they formed the duo, ‘RAPresent’ with Ayush as ‘Wordsmith’ and Nitin Mishra as ‘Spitfire'.

Scribbling lyrics about teachers and organizing casual rap battles in school not only seeded Sptifire’s initial inspiration, but also got him kicked out of school in the 11th grade. A darkness in disguise, Spitfire hung onto the one thing he had: a desire to express his thoughts on notebooks that weren’t just meant for examination answer sheets. Inspired by the likes of rapper-poets like Bohemia, who deftly spoke to the world in a language comfortable to them, Spitfire overcame his self-consiousness about his English and started working on rhymes for all the Hindi and urdu poems he had scribbled over years in his notebooks. Thus began Spitfire’s journey into underground hip-hop in India.

Spitfire has come a long way from surfacing the dust roads of an early teenage to showcasing his flawless poetry on the big screen, and has proudly been representing the heartland of India: Madhya Pradesh, or ‘Midzone’ as he fondly likes to call it. His lyrical fluency and way with words became apparent with his contribution to Gully Boy, for which he wrote most of the protagonist, Murad’s rap battles. His single for the feature, ‘Asli Hip-Hop’ was used to introduce a Bollywood dependent audience to the real value of Spitfire’s beloved genre.

His debut EP “Paathshala” is about how Spitfire saved Nitin Mishra. The EP speaks of an old wealth of knowledge based on experiential learning that guides us to who we are. Art and expression had once saved Nitin, so he has now found the strength to give back and spit words soaked in truth. You can feel his frustrations and his release juxtaposed in every word, in every song.

Fueling ink with ignited angst, Spitfire is a humble voice of surety as he rolls (read ‘spits’) out poetry in purity of truth and intent. His debut EP ‘Paathshala’ is a testament to this vision and creative dexterity. An EP with a profound lyrical quality of poetry that is timeless, is why Spitfire is fondly known to those around him as Little Ghalib: a poet whose words penetrate through you, surpassing time and trend.

Sherrin V connects with 'The Circuit'

Sherrin Varghese has played many roles in a career spanning almost 20 years - Singer, musician, actor & host. It all began with The Rubber Band, the first band he played with, before he was  picked and packaged along with four other guys, going down in history as India's first boy band, A Band of Boys. The Boys hit the big time with their 2002 debut album, Yeh bhi woh bhi, performing numerous gigs all over India and venues around the world. In 2004 they did their first film Kis Kis Ko. Since then the band members pursued their individual careers but still got  together to release four more albums over the years.More of an indie musician, Sherrin too charted his own path, curating his own brand of Electro Pop, Commercial EDM / BDM, Dubstep, Tech House, Techno & his own genre which he calls Bollytronica. He has acted in a few films and numerous TV shows and also done lot of music and shows in the South where he has a huge fan following. He has recently launched his online show called 'Circuit' where he hosts various artists to chat and create music. Raga to Rock caught up with this multi talented artist to talk about his new show.

What is your show The Circuit" all about ... and its USP?
The show is called "The Circuit" & this is a live streaming chat show with musical performances by noteworthy musicians hosted by me. 
It has a couple of USP's, firstly that it is a live show in the truest sense, cos we are streaming live. Which means there is zero post-production and the entire live switching, editing, lower thirds, show flow, encoding, streaming etc., are all done live. Since it's a live show the audience watching can participate, give comments & suggestions & they are are all attended to, responded to in real time, which raises the presence & kicks in the reward algorithms of the internet a lot. 

Secondly this is a show with only performances by artists with original compositions of either the artist themselves or perhaps a song which they have originally sung or performed for someone else's composition, arrangement or production only. The performances & interaction of these artists with me, most of whom are peers and colleagues along with the live engagement leaves the audience in an immersive feeling of participation in the now & that's  what I feel is the USP of the show. 

How did your show name 'The Circuit' come about? not any influence of Munnabhai MBBS....  
The name came about cos I'm a singer & music producer with heavy Engineering & tech influences and the insides of my studio looks like a Printed Circuit Board and when the time came to build an IP, I couldn't think of a better name, cos it literally is my circuit of people who are being put out there and they are handpicked based on merit only. Also it spins into pop culture references such as Pop Circuit, Rock Circuit, Indie Circuit, Bolly Circuit, Short Circuit, Off Circuit etc.

How did the show come about? 
This was originally conceived as a 24 minute episodic content of 7 songs where each episode would have an original composition of mine, produced by writers, musicians, arrangers & producers who are better than me & the initial 20 minutes of each of these episodes would be interviews by the several artists, lyricists, musicians, music producers, sound, recording & mix engineers who have helped, write, put together, arrange, record, capture, produce, mix & deliver a master to these songs. The last 4 minutes of each of these episodes would be a live performance by an in house live band of the same song. I pitched the same to Harman Professional Solutions of whom I am an endorser and they wonderfully supported & came on board as the chief sponsor & provided all the record, capture & playback gear for the same. Several other partners have joined in, namely Musikshack who came on board as the instrument partner, Desi Tortillas & Sagar -The family Treat as our snack & food partner. 

While putting this together I realised that just putting these 7 songs just like that on the internet would not create a ripple loud enough hence decided to produce the current live streaming episodes of guests performing their songs with interviews as a prequel to build up the property to a sizeable number of episodes and then drop these 7 episodes with my songs as the hero content of the season finale

Who are the Artists featured...and the best part of each one of them...?
These are all artists who I have a personal connect with and most of them are from my Indi-Pop batch from the 90's and just the welcoming nature with which they have agreed to grace us with their presence has been the best part about each of them. We've had multi-intrumentalist, Sidd Coutto, ace guitarist Chandresh Kudwa, Indie baritone benchmark act, Anand Bhaskar Collective, ultra talented Raman Mahadevan, mademoiselle Shibani Kashyap so far & several other beautiful artists lined up for Season 1.  

How do you produce it..Budgets, sponosors?
Producing this has been a lifetime of my studying, learning & understanding of all my engineering, conceiving, conjuring & production skills coming together. They have all been tapped into & put together to produce what I believe has the potential to be a very unique & interesting show. This series has the backing of a highly efficient & talented crew comprising of an Executive Producer team, "iDreamzzs", who does the live switching/editing, streaming, encoding etc, along with my live sound engineer Sigmind Quadros, who does the live mix, ensures top notch audio quality to the stream & makes sure that the tech riders of each of these artists are met with all the gear and instruments provided by our partners. Also 2 young musicians & producers Nischal Chaubey & Adrian Fernandez who don the roles of tech assistants are the hands and legs of this show without whom the show would just not work. Just the research, trial & error & execution required for such a show has been so rewarding that we all thrive in the knowledge share & the DIY nature of it. Our main sponsor is Harman Professional solutions

The difficulties being a producer?
Everything about the show has been a huge learning curve. I had to take a call on whether to use the sponsorship monies towards hiring the right equipment & a professional crew needed to pull this off or to buy the gear and learn how to do a #LiveConcertStream with a skeletal crew myself as the former had no direct advantage except the launch of 7 songs for me.
I consciously chose the latter which meant researching, learning & figuring how to do everything right from lighting, camera work, switching, encoding, streaming on my own and then figuring a crew which would learn to do this with me & work through the trial & error. We finally bought all the equipment including lights, stands, chroma, cameras, switcher, encoder etc., & fixed my studio space into a shooting floor with all the audio video treatment needed. Then we created a design, look, feel, tone & the content needed to produce a show of this nature with this crew along with paid consultations from experts around the world who do such shows. I spent 3 months scouring the internet figuring compatibility, requesting demos, commissioning & buying the right equipment with zero tolerance error cos the budget restrictions meant that I couldn't afford to buy the wrong gear. The hard work paid off & I have put together a unique show which could become a way of life with me henceforth & right now I could give a master class in streaming anything!
My influences for the same are PhotoJoseph, Snarky Puppy, Sofar Sounds, Cercle & locally our very own Coke studio. All in all it's been a very rewarding experience and the very fact that in 9 episodes with 3 of them being completely trial & error ones, we have managed to pull off what generally takes an entire television network and channel to figure, I'd say we are in a good space right now with the merits far outweighing the difficulties!

How has been the response to the show..Views, Interactions..etc.
The response to the show is amazing. All our partners are very happy with the visibility and the interaction is top notch. Subscriptions have gone up on my channel and the comments keep us going and the best part about the internet is that anything you plant there, grows!

Plans for season 2?
Season 2 will see us going into product placements and endorsements and an upgrade into the content where I'll be calling singers, musicians, & artists to  guest & collaborate with me on an original composition of mine which they will perform live with me & the in house band. This I believe will be the turning point of this property and if all goes well I see myself producing original Indie content and becoming a force to reckon with in the music field as a composer, producer & artiste.
I would love to be filling in the Joe Rogan, Jimmy Fallon space in our country with an extension of "The Circuit", currently on Thurdays to an alternative "Celebrity Circuit" on Wednesdays and also "Circuitry" featuring DJ's & Live Electronica artists on Fridays. Given that I have had first hand experience of working with Shekhar Suman on Movers & Shakers ( Sony Entertainment Television) for the same, I hope & pray all that experience comes in handy!

What are your future plans...songs ..album ,shows,etc..
This whole program has been conceived to release one original song, every week, constituting albums of work & eventually boosting the Live stage gigs which I'm prolific for. I met Prasoon Joshi on a flight who remarked that in India one has to constantly churn to be relevant. It is true for himself, Javed Sahab, even Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy & A.R. Rahman. Therefore I believe I have produced a platform which lets one churn at the economic & efficient best of oneself. I look forward to associating and acquiring more business partners onto this IP. Here on it is all up to the almighty. Praise the Lord!

InDoor Gharana - Hoping to Live

InDoor Gharana is a Hindustani Electro Fusion Band consisting of  3 members, Deepak (Composer/Guitars), Neehar (Composer/Keyboards) and Nitasha (Singer & Songwriter).Their music is an eclectic mix of being experimental, electronic, fusion, lounge, trance and folk. The core of the band's ideal lies in the fusion of diverse and distinct cultures, sounds, ideologies and lyrical representations. InDoor Gharana are the winners of the Songdew-Raga to Rock contest for the most liked Fusion Band held recently.  Raga to Rock decided to check out the band and talk about their Music.

Q. What is the story of your coming together as a Band?
It started with a song - “Hoping to live”. Neehar and Deepak, already knew each other and were working together on some wonderful projects at Chennai. Nitasha wanted to learn more about Music Technology and that is when she met Deepak at an institute, where he was faculty. She sang one of her original compositions, Tore Bina and the ball got rolling.
Meanwhile Deepak came up with a few guitar riffs and progressions which were recorded. To that Neehar added programmed beats, chords and textural elements. Both, Deepak and Neehar really liked the way the track had a central theme of ”Hope”. But there was a Hindustani section in the middle which needed to be worked on. Both felt, Nitasha could add something to that section. Having already sent the track to her, there was a curiosity over what would come by. When we all met, she had composed a perfect part to suit the section. When she sang, we just knew this is it.
This one was an effortless, spontaneous collaboration between the three. Our music wasn't a representation of one person's ability, rather a unique amalgamation of the three individuals ability and we knew at that point we needed to do more songs together.

Q. How did the band name InDoor Gharana come about?
We wanted the name to represent our musical ideologies and uniqueness as a band. To be a bridge between classical and quirky. The name InDoor Gharana is wordplay and our modest homage to the gharana system of Hindustani music.

Q. Any special InDoor Gharana achievements?
It would have to be the release of our album, “InDoor Gharana”. The release was a culmination of years of hard work that we put into the making of each song. Each composition beats to the rhythm of our hearts and dances to the bliss of our souls. It brought forth so many emotions as we realized this dream. A dream we saw collectively, of bringing our music from inside the four walls to the limitless expanse of our audiences. To over 30 million households through the SongDew network. We feel fortunate, overwhelmed and deeply humbled by all the love and responses we have received for our music. Some genuine blessings, appreciation and encouragement for the work we do. To connect with our audiences in this way is extra special.

Q. Could you share some InDoor Gharana highlights:
1. Featured in Top 20 indie music releases of 2018 on Songdew
2. Over 10K+ hits in just a few days of our debut album release 'InDoor Gharana'
3. Our Album has time and again topped the list of Friday Hits and have been listed as the top 5 songs on Songdew.
4. Even before our release, our music was chosen by one of the most imminent brands of the country - FabIndia for their Fab Cafes, those are spread across the country.
5. We received unprecedented support for our campaign on thunderclap, in favour of our Album. Our target was to reach a humble 100 supports and we had a social reach of more than three lakhs!
6. Our single, “Aye Badara” garnered more than half a lakh views on youtube with in 2-3 days of its release.
7. And we performed on Chennai Live 104.8 FM, with RJ Tausif on "Artist Special". 
(https://youtu.be/icE8KXyY-tI)

Q. What have been your struggles?
To balance different aspects of our work schedules and ensure we took out the time to jam and make music which we are passionate about. Not knowing what’s the right time to bring the album out. The confusions about the other aspects - which record label, monetary considerations... Involving the right video team and working out schedules around the shoot of the videos. The “if’s” and “but’s" about which track is perfect for a music video. To persevere, overcome the obstacles and complete the process as it pans out across years is overwhelmingly fulfilling.

Q. Your aspirations as a band.
The love and support that we have received from our audiences is overwhelming and it makes us work sincerely, focused towards growing in our craft and staying true to our music. That is all we want to continue doing, keep making our music and reaching out to our audiences.

Q. Could you tell us more about the process through which the songs came about?
There was not a particular flow of events that we followed through the songs. Each song took us on a journey and unfurled layer by layer. All we did was to keep following our creative instincts and build on that. At times the composition came in first (Tore Bina, Aye Badara), at times it was the groove that started it all, (Amaani Shukraani). At times the literature spoke to us, (Aye Sakhi). Each song has a story to tell. “Hoping to live” was recorded at three different places. It was like three composers composing sections of a song. “Tore Bina” was soulful and we experimented with lounge. “Aaye Badra” was a beautiful ode to the rains. “Jogi” tells a journey of a,’Jogi’. We are happy to have collaborated with Abhay Jodhpurkar singing the male sections for that song. Also we never tried to follow a Charnam - Antara traditional structures. We believed the flow is more important and should be intuitive in nature. So we never over-planned. Every song was done in a flow which felt right at the moment to our musical sensibilities.

Q. What do you do when you are not making music?
Deepak: I am quite passionate about the field of teaching and training. I feel that teaching is one of the noblest things one can do to stay humble as an artist. Imparting knowledge only makes you & the industry better. Being a part of A R Rahman's School "KM Music Conservatory", I had to stay updated as a teacher and now its just part of my lifestyle. I feel happy to contribute whether its by imparting knowledge or making substantial or minor contributions, to me everything counts.
Neehar: I am drawn towards sketching and painting. I enjoy the process of creativity finding a tangible outcome. Any art form has a structure or a symmetry. Sometimes it's well defined and sometimes blurred and abstract. I look for an imagery, a sense of connect. Does it remind me of a place a person or nature? Does it remind me of a past I have never lived? Art has to transform and impact and when it does, you know it’s working. It’s creation out of displaced, magical blocks. For me personally there are no rules. It’s just the blend that needs to feel right. The senses don't lie. So I wait till the time mind goes beyond logic and intellect and feels right. A zone where reasoning is absent.
Nitasha: I am a mother of a toddler, a yoga teacher, a training consultant and a psychologist, so that’s quite a few hats to juggle through. I am blessed to have the unconditional support of my family, my husband, Dr. Vikram Sharma and our son, Anaadya, even though he is just over 2 years. They both are extremely encouraging and understanding of my pursuits. That helps me to focus on different aspects of my life. At a deeper level I believe in harmonizing these different facets of my life. I truly believe in the pure potentiality that we all are predisposed to. To recognize and realize that potential, for my self and consequently helping others to do that is what I aim for.

Q. Piece of advice to artists and band carving their way in this industry.
Be authentic, leverage your strengths and create a unique niche. Amidst all this, be patient and perseverent.

Q. Details of any debut EP/Album release
Debut Album Name – InDoor Gharana
Record Label – Songdew
Link – https://songdew.com/albums/indoor-gharana/151
Music Video Amaani Shukrani – https://youtu.be/3uEkOrKO7DA
Music Video Tore Bina – https://youtu.be/4YVi3ZkmBdw
First Single – Kesariya Baalam
Music Video – https://youtu.be/-azSt-tl2E8
Second Single – Aye Badara
Music Video – https://youtu.be/L30bPPmxEOg

 

 

Interviews

Venues

Best Jazz Venue in India

Those of you who have been around from the 1960's through the 1990's will remember the vibrant live music scene in almost every starred hotel in India. Those were the days when you walked into a nightclub like 'Rendezvous' at The Taj Mahal hotel and 'Supper Club' at the Oberoi Sheraton in Mumbai to see curtains going up on a band that was the prime focus of these outlets. Every seat in these restaurants allowed an unobstructed view of the band that performed every night on resident contracts. Today all this has disappeared thanks to some ridiculously high entertainment taxes on live music. Today, non off these hotels have complete bands playing save for a few that feature small duos or solo singers. The Lodhi in New Delhi, recently listed among the world's best hotels, decided to step in and rewind to the good old days. They got Goa's premier jazz quartet 'Jazz Junction' to move to Delhi on a resident contract and the decision has paid off in terms of footfalls generated by the band. Jazz Junction featuring singer Daniella Rodrigues, pianist Tony Dias,
bassist Colin D'Cruz and drummer Angelo Colasco began playing at The Lodhi in June 2018. Four months into the contract the band generated a sizeable following, with quite a few high profile guests choosing to celebrate their special occasion at the Elan bar where the band performs. Against all odds the rewind option proved to be a huge success and hopefully other properties around the country takes the cue to trigger a whole new revival  of live music.