They play melodies of modern India

They play melodies of modern India

When Bruce Lee Mani and Rajeev Rajagopal joined hands during their college days to form TAAQ (Thermal and a Quarter), little did they realise the impact that they would have on the music scene. "It was a fun thing to do back then, and we had won a few competitions. Though we weren't serious, there was nothing that we wanted to do more than this," says Bruce. Fast forward 21 years, TAAQ continues to have fans among people of all ages, and is undoubtedly one of the most popular rock bands Bengaluru has produced.

Over the years, TAAQ has produced albums like 'Themalandaquarter.com', 'Plan-B' and 'Jupiter Caf', and even opened its own music school, TAAQademy, which now has two branches in Bengaluru. However, it wasn't a cakewalk for the musicians to reach this stage.

Holding corporate jobs for over 10 years post-college, at one point in time, they had to decide between their profession and passion. "I was in the semi-conductor business, and it's not that I didn't like my job. But going to the next level meant having to choose between music and corporate life," says Rajeev. So, they decided to follow their hearts.
With the school, the band not only aims to get the community closer, but also shape the ecosystem. "We are pleased to see many of our younger musicians doing much better than their peers in other fields," says Rajeev, and Bruce adds, "Our intention is not to turn you into a rock star or help you make a career in music, but to bring music into your lives. At many concerts, we see that the audience consists of our students and teachers. And we just love it."

TAAQ is also heartened to see the booming number of venues and opportunities in music. "There are venues catering to jazz, funk and blues. Yes, there are a lot of opportunities, but that doesn't make it any easier. It's still a lot of hard work, and you have to find smart ways of working. Every musician has to be an entrepreneur and wear various hats. Every musician needs discipline and focus, as also marketing and business skills."
The TAAQademy recently joined hands with Machani Group to be part of the first curated living space for entrepreneurs in south Bengaluru. A part of this collaboration was a special musical event called Sounds of Success that featured entrepreneurs with a flair for music.

Their eighth album, 'A World Gone Mad', is one of the many collaborations that TAAQ has been a part of. They wish to work with the likes of Dave Matthews Band and Steely Dan. "Whenever we travel, we try to catch some big acts. This way, we motivate ourselves to practise harder and play more, and bring in whatever we have learned to our school. Last year, we toured Ireland and saw Steely Dan live in Dublin; it was a great experience," says Bruce.

The band believes that it presents "a realistic slice of modern India" on stage. "Be it in Seattle, Hong Kong or London, people think India is all about Bollywood or classical music. When we present our music, the locals there connect to our country better. After all, we don't break coconuts on stage or narrate a fairy tale with a song-and-dance sequence," jokes Rajeev. "We play in English but tell Indian stories," says Bruce.

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