'I don't believe in free music'

'I don't believe in free music'

Dreaming Big

'I don't believe in free music'

After a seven-year stint as a music journalist, Laiq Qureshi’s interest in writing began to fade. Following his instinct, he quit his job and did the most irrational thing a guy his age could do — spent it all on new equipment! In a chat with Metrolife, the musician-cum-promoter spoke about the consequences of that decision.

“I encashed my cheque and used it with my savings to buy speakers, a microKORG synthesiser and a few others things. Expectedly, I got broke and lived on about Rs 1,500 a month for one-and-a-half years,” recalls Laiq. “I was just producing music but nothing was coming of it because I didn’t know anyone to do anything about it. At the same time, I was meeting a lot of musicians and we started coming up with ideas — not to produce music — but to start a label and promote our kind of music,” he notes.

Soon enough, his dreams of becoming a promoter preceded that of being a musician and he started a record label called ‘Inroom Records’ as well as ‘Urban Beat Project’, an artiste collective. “We don’t want to promote a certain kind of music but collaborations instead. Classroom collaborations aren’t our cup of tea — we want to talk to the artiste and drive their sound to a certain level,” he explains. A few noteworthy names he has brought down are ‘Dub FX’, ‘Mr Woodnote’ and LiL Rhys among others.

It wasn’t long before he launched ‘Rhythm Method’ a folktronic band. After a lot of experimentation, the lineup of Siddharth Basrur on vocals, Ustad Dilshad Khan on sarangi and himself on electronics finally stuck. “Conceptually, ‘Rhythm Method’ has existed for the last five years. In my head, it’s been there forever. But I no longer want to call it my property because I’m sick and tired of playing alone,” confesses Laiq.

On the chemistry between the members, he shares, “Collaboration is something that comes very naturally to all three of us. On stage and in the studio, Siddharth’s energy compensates for my lack of it, while Dilshad just always knows what to do. For me, it’s an effort to stay focussed — I lose focus for even a second and the whole set falls apart.”
The band is presently working on their next album, for which they intend to stay cooped in their studio and make new content.

Bangalore, for him, isn’t the best place to perform. “I hate the fact that you have to shut music at 11 pm and that you can’t dance. I’ve had to cancel three tours because of that. I also feel that people here don’t want to pay for watching a live act, which is a downer because personally, I don’t believe in free music at all. If you really want to support music, you have to come for live shows and support the artistes. An artiste has to survive and we’ve all made very tough decisions to be doing this. If I depended only on ‘Rhythm
Method’, I don’t think I’d make any money,” he wraps up.

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