'In the era of EDM, live music doesn't pay much'

Imagine blues being twisted and turned with excessive guitar sounds and heavy bass. The result represents what Blue Munch Factory, a band founded by Mihir Raina, stands for.

Born and raised in Chandigarh, the 22-year-old artiste collaborates with multiple musicians as band members, and says that finding permanent members is one of the most difficult aspects of creating a band. Someone who has spent his childhood listening to 60s rock music, Raina formed Blue Munch Factory in Chennai at Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music in 2015 and has now been playing in restaurants and cafes in the city like Depot 29 and The Piano Man Jazz Club. 

In a conversation with Metrolife, he talks about his band and how he manages to survive in the current competitive scenario of independent musicians in Delhi.

Excerpts:

Why did you choose to work with blues?
Growing up listening to rock music, I realised that there was a heavy influence of blues on most bands. This made me go deeper into exploring various traditional blues artistes and it somehow connected to me. I love exploring sounds and effects, and wanted to blend this old art form with a bit of sonic expression, a rock-oriented backbone, and an energy which could be felt by people anywhere in the world.

How difficult was it to gain recognition?
Back in Chandigarh, it was difficult to find gigs or people interested in music. I came across a page called Chandigarh Rock Community where I got a chance to connect with a bunch of individuals with the same vision of promoting live music. Together, we organised a few events and shows where local bands got a chance to play and develop a music scene. It started with free shows and evolved to a point where we started making money out of it.

You have collaborated with various musicians throughout. Is this a struggle?
Travelling to different cities to play with people you like is expensive and most venues don’t want to pay the travelling expenses. Also, finding permanent members is one of the most difficult aspects of creating a band. You could
easily have gigs with
different musicians every time, but the band’s sound
will be defined only by the same bunch of musicians playing together for long hours, their familiarity with each
other and the music.

Do you enjoy playing at restaurants and cafes?
Not too much, but occasional shows are always a great hang. The environment is more intimate and
performing for a restaurant’s audience becomes more of
a conversation than a
performance.

Have these performances helped you survive?
In the era of EDM music and knob culture, live music and overdriven guitars don’t pay that much. So, I teach music and give private lessons. I’ve also worked with an organisation called ‘Music Basti’ for a year in which we taught music to underprivileged children across the city. I also work with a radio channel which supports my love for gear
acquisition and three meals
a day.

What’s next?
This year, I am planning to release a music video and an Extended Play (EP) as Blue Munch Factory. Under my stage name ‘Lacuna’, I'm also coming out with my debut EP ‘Sinking Straight’ in June. With this, I plan to start my career as a DJ as well.

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