Unohu

Unohu

Almost everyone comes across a point in their teenage days when they think about starting a band and wowing the masses with the music they’ll create. For most part, this remains a fantasy as people are either daunted by the task as hand, thinking of it as a futile attempt that won’t really pay off. On the other hand there are some people who go through with it, against all odds and actually make their dreams come true. One example of that is Unohu. Started in 2012 by the Karkare brothers, Sarthak and Shashwat, who were in school at that point and later expanding to include Yohann Coutinho, this power trio isn’t just one of the youngest bands in the scene, but is also one of its most accomplished. Winners of the first edition of Bandcubator, finalists in the Converse Rubber Tracks event and performers at the NH7 weekender, Ragasthan and PUMA loves Vinyl music festivals, amongst others, Unohu has certainly come a long way in a short time. With moody music at its center, Unohu’s compositions are packed with a blend of genres, something that is reflected in the diverse range of artists that serve as influences, stylistically speaking. This is perhaps one of the reasons why their recent second EP ‘Babel’ has turned out to be the fine release it is.

The 4 track EP, which rages against the socio-political situation of today, displays what we love about Unohu best, yet offers a different, more mature side in comparison to their debut EP Asunder which clearly reflects the band’s growth over time. With classy riffs, groovy basslines, and energetic drumming aplenty, Babel has great loop potential especially given its short duration, which is about the only gripe since we couldn’t get enough. Sarthak does a commendable job on the vocals as well, with his distinct voice being perfect for the role of the outraged citizen. With Babel being as good as it is, one can only wait in anticipation till this young trio releases their first full length album which is hopefully soon. Till then, Unohu who to keep an eye out for.

We got a chance to talk to the band about a bunch of topics, including their latest EP. Check out our interview with this powerhouse of a trio!

Q) Four years, several shows and accolades and two cracking EPs; what’s the journey been like?

It has been extremely gratifying in every way. We’ve been inundated with the kind of love and support we had never dreamed of. We can expect more from ourselves because we know we’ve been pushing ourselves every step of the way to do more, and its paying off.

Q) There is an old video of your second gig ever at Control Alt Delete III where you guys are 14 & 17 years old. If you had one message for these familiar lads below, what would it be?

Make more mistakes to learn that much more.

Q) Who have been your influences from the indie scene over the years? Do you remember the first indie gig you guys attended?

Skrat have been an indubitable inspiration. Stalwarts such as Blackstratblues have been a pleasure to watch and learn from, because the one thing you learn from them is that you can really pursue whatever you want if you love and enjoy it enough. In their case, it’s visible every time they take over the stage. Other bands closer to our age, such as Spud In The Box, have been equally important, if not more.

Q) Could you tell us a little about each song from your new EP ‘Babel’?

‘Babel’ is a political standpoint. It’s about resisting political onslaughts and carving out a space for yourself as an individual, to know where you stand and belong. In that context, ‘Call My Name’ and ‘Incognito’ are songs about resisting a herd-mentality that obscures and reduces people to numbers and faceless, nameless masses. ‘Waiting For Caesar’ is an assault on a system, created by us, that makes us complacent and complicit in electing leaders who misguide and mislead us. ‘Time’ is simply about accepting the fact that time, as a force, has its own way of dealing with things; that often some things are beyond our control, and that is a fact with which we must reconcile.

Q) Sarthak and Shashwat, you guys are brothers. How is it having a brother as a band-mate? Do you think it affects the songwriting process in some way?

It’s really no different from having friends in a band. The environment is unbiased and rather conducive to let everyone’s opinion be shared and critiqued. We do not play a song live unless we are all conclusively on the same page and content with what we’ve made. The only advantage is that we can practice more, given the fact that we share a room and live together.

Q) You have said that Porcupine Tree has been a big influence. If you had a chance to present one song from your new EP to Steven Wilson, what would it be and why?

We would probably make him listen to ‘Time’. He’d dig the vibe. It’s a dynamic, melodic and melancholic song.

Q) What was it like winning the Bandcubator earlier this year? Could you recall some of the other special highlights of your journey so far?

Winning Bandcubator was an unanticipated success. It was overwhelming and really took us by surprise, given the extravagant rewards we won. But in no sense would we like to belittle the achievement, because we really learned a lot along the way and met some amazing bands and new people. Some other interesting highlights would include the time we played Ragasthan and the Weekender in 2014. It was a real high for us and really cemented us as a band. What we prize most throughout the journey is how we’ve changed as people and all that we’ve learned because of having started out young.

Q) You have an EP launch tour ahead of yourself. Could you describe your expectations from the coming future in a Unohu song lyric?

“Are we waiting for the night?

Until forever, we’re losing the light

Are we waiting for the night?

Oh forever, till the light”

This is from one of our new songs titled ‘Forever’.

Cheers to Unohu for that great interview! Do like their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter and subscribe to their YouTube channel for the latest updates regarding the band. You can also check out their debut EP ‘Asunder’ below:

Thank you for reading! If you want to talk about a band you love, or a band you think everyone should know about, please leave a comment or send in your mails to indiebullhorn@gmail.com. You can also mail us if you have any articles you’d like to send. To see more cool stuff like interviews, album reviews, release updates and lots more, stay tuned. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Mumbai’s Finest

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Hip Hop culture is something that polarises a lot of people, with everyone having varied perceptions about it. One thing that can be said for sure is that the genre and anything associated with it has never really welcomed with open arms in India, until quite recently. Maybe it was part and parcel of choosing that life; poetic in a way since the suffering and rejection imposed upon hip hop and rap has always served to make it shine even brighter, with the irrepressible spirit of its purveyors refusing to be overshadowed by dire times. While the emergence of the Internet and social media might have diluted the struggle that  still exists to an extent today, there have been some key acts that have fought tooth and nail to bring the scene to where it is now. One of those is Mumbai’s Finest.
Started in 2006, the first rap crew from the city currently comprising of Ace aka Mumbai, Kinga Rhymes, Ninja aka Shinobi, D Hood and I’n’Stine have galvanised rappers from around the scene with their continued success over the years. Coming from a time when there was no real independent scene, even more so when it came to the genres in discussion, these guys have seen it all. Having won numerous awards for their music Mumbai’s Finest has gone from strength to strength performing with some big names in the rap music industry including Chamillionaire, Flo-Rida and Bohemia, amongst others, along the way. With a style of rap that is as socially aware as it is catchy, the crew is doing a great job of representing the immense talent that India undoubtedly has. With raps like these, you already know that these pioneers are destined for even greater things.

We got to speak with MF about their journey, the scene and future plans. Check it out!

Q) You guys are the pioneers of the hip-hop scene in India. Which were the things from this culture that influenced you the most in a time when there was no solid scene?

The hip hop culture as a whole. Hip hop is knowledge and it is limitless . We were fascinated by rap ever since the first time we heard it. Every rapper has a story to tell and you can never get enough. We used to want to be like our favourite rappers till we realized that we made something out of ourselves and now we are the favourite rappers people want to be like. We created a scene by doing what we do no matter what people said. We took the fall. Right now, it is too easy for the younger generation as you have the Internet and also rap is a phenomenon in India. We are blessed to survive and still do what we love.

Q) Why was it important to be associated with your home city, Mumbai? How do you think the hip hop culture has changed the city or vice versa?

Mumbai is the city that taught us everything. If you have seen what we have seen, the experiences of growing up and seeing people making everything out of nothing, the gallis, the chawls, the slang, the lifestyle, you would fall in love with it too. We are proud to be a part of Mumbai and we shall rep it till our death. Our music is about being a normal Mumbai boy and still being the best in the game. It is about making people proud of Mumbai. Mumbai is truly the city of dreams. Hip hop has changed drastically with the new wave of rappers like Naezy, Emiway etc. Back then you could count rappers on your fingers. Now almost every 3rd person that you meet is a rapper. It is good that rap is spreading but overall we lack quality. The message needs to be clear and people need to be themselves and not copy or get influenced.

Q) With the growing market in the hip-hop scene, do you expect international artists to perform in India? If so, which are the artists according to you the Indian artist would like to see?

Definitely. We expect a lot of people to recognize what we do and take us seriously. We are waiting to see a brother from the scene get signed to a major label outside. The competition is not within us , it is international. If people realize and stop with the Internet beefs and BS, quality music can be made. It is too much of nonsense and less of lyrics/bars now. A lot of international artists have performed in India previously as well. Ace has performed with Chamillionaire, Flo Rida, Gangis Khan, Unknown Mizery etc already. We would love to see Pusha T, J Cole, Jay Z, Nas performing in India.

Q) You guys have been independent artists since the beginning. How do you think the overall scene has changed and the place of hip-hop in it?

We used to make songs using the headphone mic using Acoustica Mix Craft 2 , then we progressed to a home studio, then to a proper studio and then to learning how to do everything by ourselves. We do everything from the recording, lyrics, mixing, mastering, composing, arranging, video, social media, PR, planning and execution by ourselves. We control our own content and can release our songs whenever we like.  We sell music, merch and perform our own songs now. We know how the business aspect works now and no one can fool us in the game right now. So we really do not need a label. Ace manages everything and we have been indie in the truest form. We were offered deals but we did not find it feasible enough. Hip hop in the indie market is definitely more respected now. Other genres and big indie acts are recognizing us and they know now that we are for real. Indian hip hop is about to take over soon. More power to Indian Hip Hop.

Q) You guys collaborate with a lot of producers. What advice would you like to give to upcoming producers?

We love collaborations and would like give a shoutout to Su Real, RJV, Kru 172, Crazy Vibe, Ricci, Cash Kardz, Bluesanova, RPF and all the producers that we have worked with. We would definitely like to work with more producers and are open to collaborations. Advice for young producers would be to find a niche in their production style and to be themselves. Do not try and copy the latest trends, instead create something of your own. Buy samples, libraries legit and always keep on experimenting and sampling. Sampling is the soul of hip hop. Try and learn as many production softwares as you can.

Q) From numerous collaborations to numerous awards; what are some of the fondest memories in your journey so far?

Life has been a roller coaster and we have have seen many ups and downs. From a time where we were laughed at to now when we are laughing at the same people, it’s been a rags to riches story. I think no one is more Bombay/Mumbai than us because we define rap in the city. We made a platform for all the Mumbai rappers and feel honoured when the young ones show us love. We love it when people chant our lyrics, when our supporters message and interact with us. We love it when people send us photos of them wearing our merch. We are humble and happy to still be able to do this. We are connected to the people and the small things still matter to us. We look back and feel heroic . The award, the album and all the attention is no big deal, our time is yet to come. The best is yet to come. Mumbai’s Finest is gonna take over the world. 

Q) If you could describe your album ‘Mumbai Till I Die’ in a Mumbai Finest lyric, what would it be?

aur chahe jo bhi ho, dekho picture abhi baaki ,
I be rap shahrukh khan, shuruvaat se hi fauji ,
aaj bhi chokra hoon gali ka, mumbai , malad, malwani ka ,
aur yeh hausla hai vahisa, na kab feeka, na kab beeka ,
tu toh bakra hai bali ka, jo tu banta mein vahi ba, 
mera asal hai tareeka, jo tu nakal karke sikha!

-Ace’s lyrics from What you Talkin About – Mumbai Till Die  

Q) What’s the future like for Mumbai’s Finest?

We are working on a lot of new music . Ninja and Kinga Rhymes have their solo albums dropping soon. We will be releasing the video for ‘What you Talking About’ and ‘Desi Rap’ soon and a new and different project called ‘Full of Life’ will be out soon too. We have also started a new venture which is a platform where we executive produce for artists that we feel have potential. We help with a vision, financial resources and career management. We have a lot of shows lined up so stay connected with us for updates.

Cheers to Mumbai’s Finest for that insightful interview! Do like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter and Instagram and subscribe to their YouTube channel for the latest updates!

Also do check out the Hip Hop Homeland series by 101 India. It’s beautifully made and gives great insight into the underground Hip Hop scene in the country:

You can check out MF’s album ‘Mumbai Till I Die’ via the following links:

Thank you for reading! If you want to talk about a band you love, or a band you think everyone should know about, please leave a comment or send in your mails to indiebullhorn@gmail.com. You can also mail us if you have any articles you’d like to send. To see more cool stuff like interviews, album reviews, release updates and lots more, stay tuned. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.