Meet by chance, hits by passion

Meet by chance, hits by passion

In harmony: An indie band, Argenil, and its aspirations

 Argenil’s Anil Prasad and Rohit Gandhi.

When producer/percussionist Rohit Gandhi and guitarist/DJ Anil Prasad got together by chance during their college days to perform at a competition, little did they know that their love for music would take them places. Over the last few years, the two, who went on to form the band Argenil, have been garnering much appreciation from music lovers across the country.

“Rohit has been playing the Octapad since he was 10, with his mother, a trained Octapad player. When we were studying in Christ College, he wanted someone to play bass guitar for his band for a competition. He pushed me into it, and we actually won the show and started taking our music seriously,” recalls Anil. The name of the group also emerged during this time. “It’s a combination of both our names,” he laughs.

Argenil merges its love for performance, production, trap and hip-hop to present some catchy and soulful tunes. Some of their older compositions like Tha-di-ki-na-thom and Bengaluru have been big hits on social media, with the videos being a refreshing take on the people and culture of the city. “Rohit has a lot of knowledge about ragas, and I have a background in guitar. So we present a mix of both since there are many scales on the guitar on which you can get Indian ragas,” says Anil. “We call our genre Hindustani trap where Hindustani means Indian, not just classical music,” he adds.

With influences from artistes such as Big Gigantic, Goldfish, TroyBoi, Kygo, Apache Indian, FKJ, Agam, Parvaaz, AR Rahman and Shankar Mahadevan, Anil and Rohit believe in merging classic and contemporary, and their live show is more than just a DJ set.

Between the two of them, they can play guitar, bass, drums, tabla and saxophone, and often feature other artistes on stage including flute players, singers and rappers.

“Right now, everyone wants to party and DJing is a huge part of the live music scene. We too started off with DJing and one day, we thought why not play instruments on stage since we actually can? Slowly, we started adding instruments to our set,” explains Anil. Their live set currently has five instruments, but they are planning to increase it to nine soon.  

For their debut EP, which came out recently, the duo has collaborated with renowned artistes such as Apache Indian and Yatez. The five-track EP, titled ‘She Did It’, is a reflection of their personal journeys and features the tracks ‘Sleazeball’, ‘Help’, ‘Dholna’, ‘Marianna’ and ‘She Did It’. “Like everyone, we have been through some tough times, and for me personally, convincing my family about my love for music was a huge struggle. I had three jobs when I finished engineering but decided to pursue my love for music even as they wondered ‘What is my son doing?’,” says Anil in jest.

‘She Did It’ covers everything from reggae to trap to dubstep to folk to hip-hop.

Instruments like nadaswaram, violins, flutes, tabla, ravanhatta and thavil have been used to present South Indian music in an invigorating manner.

“We are in the process of creating something new every day and reaching many people,” says Anil.

Busy with a 10-city tour, the two artistes have even been signed by the US-based music management firm Sunset Entertainment, which has worked with artistes like Craig David, Ashanti, Jamie Foxx, Timbaland, Shakira, Pussycat Dolls, P Diddy, and Nelly Furtado, to name a few.

While one of their dreams is to play at the world’s biggest music festivals, ‘Tomorrowland’ and ‘Coachella’, they turned another dream of theirs — to open their own studio — into reality recently.

“It is every producer’s dream to sit in his or her own studio and work, and we never thought it would happen this fast. But I guess that’s the best thing about our job. We get to do what we love and showcase it to so many people,” he sums up.