The twist in the original

The twist in the original

Contemporary act

The twist in the original

Timeless melodies, peppy Bollywood numbers and experimental tunes peppered with a pinch of rock and roll – this is the signature sound of city-based contemporary band  ‘Oxygen On The Rocks’.

     The band confesses that breathing various musical flavours and exhaling tunes keep them on their feet. The original brains behind this interesting concoction were vocalist Souvik and lead guitarist Anish, who were trying to develop a genre called ‘Bangla rock’ when they were in Kolkata.

     Souvik recalls, “We called ourselves only ‘Oxygen’ at first. We were all from the suburbs of Kolkata. Three kinds of flavours in music were popular at that time — ‘Rabindra Sangeet’ — which was considered as mainstream music, Hindi numbers and bands that played Western music like punk or rock. We were trying out something interesting and wanted to develop ‘Bangla rock’ — Bengali music presented in a tight, sonic, rock ensemble. Things went on well but we later had to break up because we found greener pastures and moved away. The last show we all did together in Kolkata was in 2005.”

He moved to the city in 2008 and began composing and working on music on his own. After Anish moved to Bengaluru in 2014, the band once again joined hands with different members from the city and called themselves ‘Oxygen On The Rocks’. With Kuntal on bass, Prosenjit on percussions and Dipayan on drums; the 5-piece- sonic act has been engaging the Bengaluru audience to some Hindi numbers infused with solid rock and roll. The band always works on increasing their involvement with the audience. Souvik says that whether they are playing for a crowd of 6 or 600, he always allows room for the audience to get involved in their music. “Apart from passion, it’s also entertainment and showbiz. The crowd wants to be entertained ultimately. We are focussed stage performers apart from just stage artistes. We also do not perform for free as we feel that such things just ruin the indie-scene somewhere.” 

About the scene in the city today, he adds, “Youngsters here currently are inclined to metal, rock or funk. I don’t see any movement of original, regional music in the indie-scene except for ‘The Raghu Dixit Project’. It isn’t like that in Kolkata. Many bands have arrested regional music and are coming up with interesting mixes and albums. The music is much more rich. There was also a bit of a cultural disconnect when we first moved here.”

“Availing permissions to perform beyond 11 was a problem. We couldn’t even practise at home as neighbours would ask us not to make noise after 8.30 pm. We didn’t face problems like these in Kolkata,” he says.

     The band hope to take up music full time in future. “We are looking forward to the day we can make music our profession. This is what reflects ourselves and this is where we belong. We are all only acting happy at our workplaces.”

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