Sounding the challenges

World Music Day
Last Updated 20 June 2014, 13:26 IST

There is not a soul in this world that has never been moved by a piece of music. But the process that the song takes from its conception to recording to performance involves several pit stops along the way.

And while the country’s independent music scene might be working towards the right direction, there are still limitations that need to be overcome – from the audience’s unwillingness to pay for live music to venues refusing to invest in a decent sound system.

 On World Music Day, Metrolife speaks to musicians, promoters and managers from Bangalore about their perspectives.

“The current scene is two-faced – you have technology that is enabling much more creativity and possibilities in terms of music production, performance and outreach while on the other hand, it has become a challenge to make sure your style of music stands out and strikes a balance between being modern and not too complicated.

The challenge right now is to build yourself because there are talented musicians everywhere. Then again, that’s a journey in itself,” says Achal Khanolkar of producer duo ‘Twokid Wickid’.

Creating music that strikes a chord isn’t the easiest thing and the short attention span of audiences make it even harder for musicians.

“The current scene is promising yet demanding because as a performer, you have to constantly strive to keep the audience interested, especially while performing electronic music,” notes Faheemul Hasan aka ‘Avilente’, who is part of electronica duo ‘Klypp’.

But he feels that listeners need to get exposed to music that isn’t very conventional. “When it comes to experimental music, there’s hardly a scene because the audiences aren’t mature enough to quietly take in something that’s out of the borders of definition,” he adds.

It isn’t easy to run a music venue either and Guru Somayaji, programme director at CounterCulture, admits that the process isn’t straightforward.

“Striking a balance between how much an event costs and the venue’s potential revenue is still skewed.

It isn’t difficult but challenging to keep the event accessible to people across the spectrum while being competitive in pricing and offering a good experience.

The logistics are also tricky because if I were to bring down a good act from Delhi, flight costs itself might be way over the budget.

That’s where venues need to start creating touring opportunities, partnering up and finding sponsors to consistently provide that experience,” he explains.

Gaurav Vaz, who plays bass for folk rock band ‘The Raghu Dixit Project’ and manages the band, adds that there needs to be a culture that encourages the creative arts like in the West. “This is a big problem that can easily be fixed.

In UK, entertainment is a big revenue grosser for the economy and lots of grants and schemes promote the arts. But here, I’m a folk band that’s restricted to earning from live shows for which I have to be popular and cash in on that popularity.”

Speaking on the ‘industry’ status that the scene awaits, Gaurav says that the experience of a live gig needs to be worth picking it over another form of entertainment.

“If someone can spend Rs 500 to go to an AC hall with comfortable seats and watch
a movie while eating popcorn, would they rather spend it on a gig where the sound might suck or the band isn’t well prepared?

Everyone in the scene needs to come together, stop romanticising the notion of music and make it a viable profession with enough opportunities for musicians to take it up full-time,” he concludes.

(Published 20 June 2014, 13:26 IST)

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