The alternative streak

The man behind the first online community radio station dedicated to promoting electronic & alternative music made and produced in India.

 DJ MoCity

For those who grew up in India in the 80s and 90s, independent Indian music brings back a surge of memories. Today, the scene may not be the same, but there still exists a rising wave of musicians who are making great music. Providing a platform for them is Boxout.fm, the first online community radio station dedicated to promoting electronic and alternative music made and produced in India.

Founded by Mohammed Abood (popularly known as DJ MoCity), along with fellow musician Dualist Inquiry, Boxout.fm completed a year in April 2018.

However, the idea behind it came to him about 10 years back, says MoCity, who hails from Iraq and moved to India in the 90s. “I was always keen on getting music lovers together, and in 2008, when social media was in its initial stages, I put together a community on Facebook where the members could keep each other informed of the events and happenings in music,” he says. This helped him meet many like-minded people.

Music wasn’t always on the DJ’s mind. “My father was the general manager of Iraqi Airways and I wanted to become a pilot. I studied in Delhi University and also lived in Mumbai for a few years,” he recalls.

In 2012, personal work took him back to his roots, Iraq, where he stayed for a year, and then to Dubai, where he lived for three years. “I was living in a bubble in India, and when I moved to Iraq, I realised how different things were over there from here. It’s a scary place, much scarier than it is portrayed in the media,” he shudders. In Dubai, he co-founded The ‘264 Cru’, a podcast that gained immense popularity. “It helped me understand that people have a voice,” he says.

On his return to India, DJ MoCity started working on the concept of Boxout.fm, along with fellow musician Dualist Inquiry, and in 2017, the station was launched. “It has radio shows, but these are different from the usual corporate shows you hear. There are no advertisements and each hour is curated by an individual. We aren’t selling any algorithm or computerised product,” he says.

Boxout also hosts offline events (like the Boxout Wednesdays in Delhi) and has a record label, Boxout.fm Recordings or BFMR that releases music by new talent. “Our website has a feature where the listener can submit a track or a podcast. Thanks to this, many people sent their works to us with a lot of it being unfinished and in need of mentorship. We started helping musicians out; that’s how our record label started.”

Today, Boxout.fm has reached over four million people on Facebook, in addition to two million streams on MixCloud. Looking back at the journey, DJ MoCity is overwhelmed by the response. “The numbers are great and the growth has been gradual, yet amazing. But I don’t want to assess anything immediately just by the numbers,” he says.

Ask him for advice for the budding musicians and he says “originality is the key to success.” “It’s important to have inspirations, but it’s also equally important to have your own sound as that’s what sets you apart. Sound as original as you can.”

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The alternative streak

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