The Industry can be a better place only when we communicate with each other.....
On the threshold of the 2nd annual All About Music conference we caught up with Tarsame Mittal the organizer who is also the founder of one of the most successful Artist Management companies with a roster of Artists like Arijit Singh, Amit Trivedi, Hariharan, Rekha Bharadwaj to name a few. Here he speaks to Pradeep Joseph about his passion AAM and Music Plus-the online portal he has recently ventured into.
How did Music Plus-the online portal come about? The media business is difficult to make money from…
Music Plus, I have been thinking of for a long time but I was not willing to lose money but when my creativity overtook my financial decisions I decided to leap into them. When would I probably make money from them…maybe never. I really don’t think it will ever make money. Till the time it can help the Music Industry, I will have the satisfaction that I am doing something, I am happy about it.
We don’t take money from anyone, we are an advertisement free platform even if somebody is willing to pay me we are not willing to accept it. Firstly we want to create content that people actually want to read that content, so when we reach that stage we will go to advertisers. We currently have staff strength of 12 members so you can imagine our expenses.
What about the IPs All About Music-The Music Conference and BMP- Bollywood Music Project? These are also difficult to make money from…
We lose money in AAM and BMP also we don’t think we can make money before 3-5 years.
Are you willing to lose that kind of money?
I am trying my best not to lose money. As everything is a habit, people don’t like to pay in India. I know how much hate I get when I don’t give free passes, everyone expects a free pass or registration. Nobody respects the fact that somebody is doing it; there is an effort behind it.
There is nothing wrong it’s a 'culture'. It’s a cultural problem and I don’t like it that’s why I don’t give free passes generally, unless somebody threatens me or puts me in a situation that I have no option, that I give free passes.
Last year at AAM we didn’t give any free passes so you won’t find anyone saying Mujhe pass free me mila. I tell anyone if you are my friend support it by buying passes for it. If you want to learn and network pay around Rs.10-15,000/-. I will still be losing if everybody buys a pass; I have to recover from sponsors.
Why did you want to start AAM?
I will be brutally honest as I can, we are doing fairly well in our Artist Management business and I was stagnant in terms of education I was not able to study enough, of course you can self-educate yourself with the internet but I didn’t think that was interesting enough or that was so exciting. It is not exactly for me, I am a people’s person. I like to meet people share Ideas, experiences learn from as many people as I meet.
I created AAM as a great platform to educate myself. As I came from a poor background I couldn’t spend money on my education so let’s spend money on my education now.
The best part is I travelled and attended lots of conferences abroad. I was always curious why don’t we do it in India, what’s the problem. For the Music Industry to become a better place is only when we communicate to each other.
It starts from the Content creators – The Artists. They have to be extremely educated, know about Publishing, Copyrights, Legal, and Financial it will be easier for everyone to deal with each other. Also why should there be so much ambiguity.
People should be able to connect to each other, learn from each other and I thought that Conferences is the best way to solve all problems. It will be the best way to help each and everyone in the business and also help me. Just like it will help everyone to learn it will also help me to learn. Simple that’s the only reason.
You are paying a big price to educate yourself?
We lost around 35 lakhs last year, I can say that number actually 40 lakhs if I take into account salaries, rent and expenses on the team that works on AAM that’s a cash flow loss. It’s a lot of money and at times I feel depressed that I should have invested the money and be a little safer in life but at the same time I think it is ok.
I am happy on what I have done I feel proud about AAM like nothing else.
They are senior Industry veterans who have also done similar work who would have been millionaires today if they did not invest in their passion?
I feel fortunate that I don’t have big dreams cause when you have big dreams you will push yourself for it. For me I have come from bankruptcy so I won’t mind losing. I only want my family to live well and that’s the only dream I have. I want them to be secure.
If I can make it profitable great but I am not desperate to be rich or super successful.
(Tarsame Mittal interview Part-I)
Late last year music journalist and author Verus Ferreira released his second book The Great Rock Music Quiz Book with Bollywood composer Lesle Lewis giving his stamp of approval. The book that takes you into the green room of 16 bands.It is now available in the overseas market on www.amazon.com.
In a short interview we chat up with Verus Ferreira to know more about his book.
What was it like giving this kind of quiz book direction?
I can tell you didn't want it to be too difficult and neither too easy. There’s a lot to talk about in the book. Music lovers can enhance their knowledge of music as it happened… age to age, through the 16 chapters all well-documented, including musicians who’ve departed and left a deep impact on us (In Memory of). The questions are not too difficult, and if you have followed these bands on a regular basis, it would be an easy trip. There are song lyrics to complete, questions on famous album covers, trivia on when bands performed in India, so it’s not too difficult, though I have added a few difficult questions in a few chapters. It could be that when you read a question, it might be on the tip of your tongue, but you really can’t remember the answer, so it all boils down to a bit of enhancing your knowledge about rock bands. You can also lay myths and facts about music and artistes at rest. There is also a chapter on Quotes from the Rockers, very light hearted and something to reflect on. Then you also have Code of Conduct that tells you how to dress and how to behave at an open air concert or at an auditorium. We also take a look at the funny side of music artists in the last chapter that makes a Mickey of the artists featured in the book.
In terms of research, how long did it take you to compile the entire book?
After I had done my first book ‘The Great Music Quiz Book’ in 2013, I immersed myself in promoting it. I got a lot of feedback with many who liked it, asking me when the next book would be released. I thought about is seriously and some later went back to my book file and found that there were many questions and answers that didn’t make it to the first book and those were mainly in the rock genre. There were over 40 – 50 of them. It was then that I thought of bringing out a book on rock music. This was sometime in mid 2015. I collated the list of my favourite rock artists and believe me the list was endless. From over 35 – 40 bands, I had to shortlist it to 16 of my all time favourites. I began work in earnest and by early 2016 I began the work of collating the Q & As, getting the images and other such details. I sourced out material from the music albums, DVDs, LP records and music books of the bands in my collection. Most of the information in the book is from all these sources. I also put down the little I knew on these artists and added whatever I knew to make the book what I feel it should have. I have checked and cross checked facts before I used it and so the book is up to date. I completed the book in April 2017 and approached Story Mirror, who liked the concept and decided to sign me on and publish my book. All this took me around two years to complete, conceptualising the book to publishing it with Story Mirror in December 2017.
- Were the artists you took up to include as chapters essentially ones you have followed and had a deep knowledge about? Or was the choice of artists more dictated by what was popular?
All the bands featured here are my favourites. The Scorpions, Guns N’ Roses, Queen and of course Pink Floyd the toppers. All the bands featured in the book were bands I grew up listening to and followed closely. Infact I interviewed all the members of Iron Maiden when they visited Mumbai and performed here in 2008. Similarly I also attended the concerts of artists like The Scorpions, Roger Waters, Guns N’ Roses, Gilby Clarke, Coldplay. Infact the cover picture of Slash was shot by me at his concert in Mumbai in 2015.
In the case of some newer artists, did you feel like you had to explore their history on a different level and learned something new about them through the process of compiling the questions?
The only new artist among the grand daddies of rock is Coldplay. While I was working on the book, I got to know that Coldplay was part of a mega event Global Citizen which was to be held in November 2016. I love Coldplay and knew that they are one of the world’s biggest bands. I didn’t know much about them, except of course their catchy songs and colourful music videos. I did a bit of research on the band and managed to make a whole chapter on the band. I decided to feature them, targeting the newer EDM generation of fans who would pick up the book to know more about Coldplay and in turn also get to know the grand daddies of rock music that they probably missed out and which I am sure they might have been heard down the years. I also attended the Global Citizen event and the final act was Coldplay. I shot a couple of pictures that found their way in the book, including a rare image with AR Rehman and Chris Martin. The book also has a chapter on Open Secret – a Gospel band. How does it fit in the book? Well years ago, a friend of mine was holding a one hour presentation called Rock and Ruin, that showcased the bad side of rock music, from backward masking, to lyrics in rock songs and the visuals shown in music videos. I was the first to interview him for a magazine and believe it or not, three other publications took the story. He also later gave me the entire presentation in audio and video. This was way back in the mid 90s. The response was very good. In my book I offer readers a chance to listen to gospel music. I am not suggesting that you need to stop listening to rock music, I still listen to rock music, but I am offering you a choice to listen to the same rock music, with only the lyrics that speak on the glory of God.
Obviously being a quizmaster has its peeves - I imagine some people think you're just showing off your knowledge if you're trying to bring up interesting facts and stories about a particular artist?
Not at all. I am only sharing the knowledge I have gained over the last 26 years with rock music lovers who like the same music as I do. Instead of looking up a Wikipedia and learning about the band, in this book I offer you the same thing, but in a question and answer format where you will learn about the band in an interesting and fun way, where you can also test your knowledge of songs with your friends, by probably singing a line from the book and asking your friends to name the song. Isn’t that interesting? As for me, I not only learned more about each artist, things that I never knew, but I am also enhancing the knowledge of the reader to get to know his favourite artist/s much better and in an interactive way.
Was there any particular artist you had a lot of fun researching when you compiled their particular chapter of questions in the book?
Guns N’ Roses, The Scorpions and The Rolling Stones were the most entertaining for me, with the latter having some really quirky songs and album covers. The Scorpions have some really obscene album covers that never really made it to the shelves, one of which I have used in the book.
What do you think is the appeal of the book in the age of online quizzes and instant information?
I am not competing with online quizzes and neither are they my competitors. They are in a different format. The millennials would prefer participating in a quiz where they meet face to face, unlike an online quiz. It’s like reality shows, they happen in real time and not online. There is a certain charm when quiz contests were held in schools and on TV back in the nineties, the competitive team spirit, the points grading system and the prizes were a major
attraction. It is still widely prevalent and loved even today in many schools and colleges and even in corporate houses to break the ice with staff. It also makes for a perfect gift, at a very reasonable price. Can you gift an online quiz? Imagine just chilling out with friends over a beer, listening to your favourite band, taking the book in your hand and bombarding your friends with questions on the antics of Pink Floyd, the lyrics of Eagles, or the escapades of Mick Jagger. Online quizzes definitely do not give you such a thrill.
Published by: Story Mirror. Pages: 204. Price: Rs 225/-
Nestled in Soul Space Arena, a mall located by the bustling Outer Ring Road, Brew and Barbeque, recently has been reimagined as one of Bangalore’s biggest microbrewery. The Brew and Barbeque has been inspired by the bars in Texas, designed to allow customers a first–hand experience of high-quality dining and a large variety of exotic drinks.Mr Prasanna Kumar, CEO & Managing Partner, The Brew & Barbeque says, “We are proud to say that we are one of the biggest microbrewery pubs in Bangalore. Our attention to detail reflects in the décor which is designed to give a Texan bar feel. At B&B, we have an array of authentic handcrafted brews, and re-enforcing our commitment to providing the best to our customers, we have now launched the complete bar and hand-crafted food menu which will satiate the beverage and food cravings of the city’s connoisseurs and give them a memorable experience.”
Specialties: The mini-concert section at Brew and Barbeque is meant for live music and concerts, this area has a dedicated seating capacity of 100 people, to rave their favourite bands and live performances. Besides serving world class ales, the microbrewery is known for bringing renowned DJs like the king of Bollywood DJ Hussaine, DJ Avijith, DJ Pooja Seth and many more who set the dance floors ablaze with music. Brew and Barbeque offers exquisite food, drinks and music in an ambience that is resplendent with luxury.