What went down at Nucleya’s Album Launch.

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You can’t help but get romantic when you think about the indie scene. The torch has been passed from the veterans, from Great Independence Rock to Razz Rhino, to Blue Frog, to NH7. Over the years there have been several torchbearers who have been youth icons and influenced entire generations. It seems the scene is stronger than ever now and at its forefront, is India’s Bass Raja, Nucleya.

The scene truly has never witnessed anything quite like the Nucleya phenomenon. This torchbearer has set the whole country ablaze and garnered a massive fan following. This Street Boy has put in years of hard work and perseverance and has finally emerged as the Jungle Raja. So it didn’t surprise me that they had booked the lavish NSCI for his album ‘Raja Baja’s launch. The massive response to it however, did leave me speechless. But then again, if there is someone who is the master at dropping jaws and bass, it’s the motherfucking Nucleya.

Here’s what happened at the biggest album launch the indie scene has ever witnessed :

> The organizers really do know what the audience wants. For throughout the show there was a hilarious voice which would sound right at home in a Hindi wildlife documentary, that addressed the audience, keeping them chirpy with jokes on the acts, Justin Bieber and India’s favourite new DJ, Bobby Deol.

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> Power-packed opening sets from Ritviz, Sick Flip, SA, Sound Avtar, Su Real & Anish Sood served as testaments to the high quality of the gig. There simply was never a dull moment throughout the show!

> The palpable excitement was scaled up with the surprise entry of Tanmay Bhat & Rohan Joshi of AIB right before Nucleya took the stage.

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> Finally the Bass Raja made his royal entrance with a gold crown.

> The entire experience was enriched with amazing visuals by Wolves which consisted of glimpses of the Koocha Monster, Bass Rani, Raja Baja and what seemed like hilarious GIFs of Hema Mailini in a Nagin costume!

> The Koocha Monster of a crowd raved in his cracking set consisting of old favorites, new songs and mixes and his renditions of Bollywood classics like ‘My Name Is Lakhan’.

>  There was a special performance by Avneet Khurmi singing ‘Laung Gawacha’ & ‘Aaja’. And the crowd sure did love this Bass Rani!

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> Since Nucleya loves treating the crowd, he brought in the Gully Gang with Divine who simply blew everyone’s mind with his energetic performance!

> Which reminds me, there is a new Nucleya x Divine song which you need to watch out for! How excited are you?

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> Nucleya closed the set with a rather moving speech about the scene, his place in it and the Nucleya family. It was magical!

So where do we go from here? I mean the past indie scenester wouldn’t have believed something as huge as this would have happened and the present scenester is still trying to get hold of this moment. But we wish Nucleya all the more success and hope he pushes the bar way further from here and so does the scene. I could end this article with some random inspirational crap about music and the scene and the people but eh…fuck that shit.

The opening acts:

Nucleya’s set:

And the epic conclusion:

 

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, Instagram and Twitter.

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30 Amazing Facts About Indian Music

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What is Indian music? Most of us might imagine a guy in kurta pyjama playing a classical instrument or maybe even a lady in a saari singing harmoniously  That’s fair enough. But if I were to say, what about a rock band pumping up the audience with killer guitar solos and masterful riffs? Or how about a metal band head banging with long hair and dark clothes? Or even a DJ, doing his or her magic behind a electronic set up? Do remember, all of them are Indians and are playing original compositions.

The sad truth is that these examples often come last or not at all in the train of thought and it most definitely is not due to the lack of talent or quality around us.

If you aren’t ardent supporters of the independent music scene but still think that it’s totally cool for Indians to play music which is in the western form, be it the language they use or the instruments they play, I want to ask; why don’t you support them? You share music of foreign artists who are internet sensations. You line up to pay for artists from overseas and can’t even go for a free gig at a local club. See, I’m not aiming at anyone. All I’m asking you is what about the Indians who make music

As Indians, I sometimes feel, we have a major inferiority complex. Many of you might think music produced by people from India isn’t that good or maybe it’s ‘good for Indian standards’. That very thought holds you back from being open to any musician what so ever who is trying to make it. But what if I were to tell you Indian music is great? What if I tell you that there are some acts in the circuits that deserve to be on a worldwide platform?
This blog will cater to promote independent musicians and artists across the country but today I’m here to talk about something that has been hovering the internet over the past few months which might interest the few of you who have made it so far.

As you might have observed I’ve been calling it ‘Indian Music’, not alternative, not indie, not genre specific but Indian. This six episode masterpiece, ‘Standing By’ produced by Only Much Louder(OML) and Red Bull India, aims at redefining it’s meaning. It is a vast digital archive of everything that has happened in the independent western Indian music over the past century. It covers everything from jazz, rock, metal to dance and electronic music. It has something for everyone. To get you a teeny bit psyched about the our history and maybe get you interested in the booming independent scene, here are thirty awesome points (which we got from this very documentary) everyone should know :

 

1. Western music has been here longer than Bollywood when travelling musicians were called by the elite to do shows in India. The music travelled in railway towns via gramophones.

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2. A Nepali man changed his name from Pushkar Bahadur to George Banks and his son is the legendary Louis Banks.

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3. When Dave Brubeck chose a piano to play when he came down in 1958, he was surprised to see a bunch of Indian men carrying the huge instrument over their heads. Coolies were the most primitive form of roadies in India.

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4. Many earlier musicians were heavily influenced by the western music offered by the Asia wide radio of Ceylon, now called Sri Lanka.

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5. During the British explosion many of the Indian youth grew fond of The Beatles, because when Harrison started experimenting with Indian music and maharishis, it was heavily covered in the newspaper.

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6. The 1970 screening of the Woodstock documentary had local bands playing in the theatre before the show. It later culminated to ‘Sneha Yatra’ in 1971 in which had 4000 hippies gathered in Lonavala to enjoy rock music and discuss poetry, politics and more all under the haze of fresh Maharashtra weed.

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7. One of the earliest lady groups in India was a quartet called The Ladybirds.

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8. Dilip Balakrishnan was the front man of The Great Bear (later changed their name to High) and was considered to be one of the unique voices of his time. He put melodies into The Lord Of The Ring soundtracks and was considered by the people who knew him a legend in making. He sadly passed away at a rather tender age due to cancer.

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9. Instrument quality back in the day were terrible. In fact, things were so bad that The Fentones from Shillong had a ‘Tea Chest Bass’ which essentially was a tea chest box that you would block from all sides, have a small hole in the middle, a stick in a corner and tie a string. On adjusting the string you would get a bass sound.

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10. There were many youth magazines back then like the Junior Statesmen (JS) and Dateline Delhi which promoted local indie artists. We also had one of our earliest fanzines called ‘Blue Rhythm’ started by couple of Jazz enthusiasts in 1952.

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11. There were many beat contests over the years for bands to participate in. ‘Simla Beat Contest’ was one of the more organized ones which was sponsored by ‘Simla’, a brand of cigarettes.

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12.  Park Street of Calcutta was one of the most vibrant streets of the country. The street was filled with musicians having jam sessions, cabaret, stand up, magicians, drag acts and much more.

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13.  Bhaskar Menon was responsible of getting the freshest music to India. He was the man behind Gramophone Company which later changed its name to the legendary HMV records. He also has a picture with Paul McCartney of The Beatles.

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14. When a band was doing a cover of Led Zeppelin in Slip Disk club in October ’72, they were a bit confused with the sudden gala surrounding two white guys who had entered the club during their set. As it turned out it was Robert Plant and Jimmy Page. They joined the band for a jam.

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15. Earlier, there was a serious lack of musical instruments. Bands ended up buying all the instruments that foreigners and hippies left behind. People claim that some of the instruments were used by the likes of ‘The Who’.

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16. Two Bombay bands, Mirage and Rock Machine, were scheduled to play at St. Xavier’s college. But one of the college’s faculty members objected to the gig being held in the college, so a student decided to move it to Rang Bhavan next door. But when the bands got to Rang Bhavan, this guy was no where to be found. Farhad Wadia of Mirage and Mark Selvig of Rock Machine decided to sell tickets for the gig and called it ‘Independence Rock’. Wadia kept running it for three decades and for many I-Rock is considered to be the cult festival.

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17. Rang Bhavan was a legendary venue and people still consider it to be unparalleled. The Police played in Rang Bhavan. This was sadly shut down by the government owing to the ‘disturbance’ it caused in the neighbourhood.

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18. In the 80’s, a concert was held to help the victims of Bhopal Gas Tragedy called ‘Aid Bhopal Concert’ in Brabone Stadium with a crowd of ten thousand and featuring artists like Remo Fernandez, Gary Lawyer and Rock Machine.

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19. Lou Majaw of Shillong held many Bob Dylan tributes. He increased the value of lyrics and brought discipline in the lifestyle of the musicians of the now rock capital of India, Shillong. He was known for wearing mismatched socks and skin tight shorts.

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20. Meghalaya Aids Control Society held a band competition called the Meghalaya Icon. The winning bands went to various villages in Meghalaya and spreads AIDS awareness. They sang for various people like truck drivers and workers of red-light area and simultaneously educated them.

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21. In 1989 Rajiv Gandhi sent various bands and artists to the Soviet to change India’s image. Artists like Louis Banks, Leslie Louis, Gary Lawyer and Rock Machine were sent on private planes where caviar was served.

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22. Rock Machine was going to be called Rock n Roll Machine but the promoter of their first event didn’t have enough money to have a poster with the whole name painted. They settled for this name which later became Rock Machine. Years later they changed in into ‘Indus Creed’ and won the MTV Video Music Award(Asian Viewer’s choice) for ‘Pretty Child’.

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23. In 1993, a young Amit Saigal from Allahabad was working the night shift in his father’s printing press when he decided to print 2500 copies of a fanzine called RockStreet Journal. This was the first publication dedicated solely to Indian rock. He then went on doing The Great Indian Rock festival (GIR) in Delhi and also made it’s compilation album of original compositions. Fondly called as ‘Papa Rock’ he is considered by many a legend and is sorely missed after his untimely death in 2012.

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24. In 1997 a man called Bhopal Navale of Bangalore held a freedom jam to celebrate the country’s 50th year of freedom. They promoted it by travelling in an open Jeep, playing at particular stops and distributing the pamphlets before the cops came. The crowd count transformed from 500 to 5000 over the course of few years until finally it was shut by the cops.

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25.In 1999, IIM grad students set up a website called ‘GigPad’ as a part of a business plan for their entrepreneurship course. These forum threads covered topics from gig reviews to lookouts for band members. It made people meet each other and kick started a tangible sense of community online.

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26. The synthesizer was fairly used in western Indian music. But a recording engineer by the name of Charanjeet Singh recorded a whole album with this instrument in 1982 calling it ‘Ten Ragas To A Disco Beat’. It is considered to be India’s first album in electronic music by many.

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27.The Submerge night at Rock Bottom encouraged DJs to play whatever they liked and discouraged audiences from any request. It was the brain child of Nikhil Chinapa, DJ Pearl and Hermit Sethi. At the heights of their popularity, they managed to get Armin Van Burren for the first time in India when he was just ranked the world’s No.1 DJ.

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28. Manipur’s Postmark  recorded India’s earliest metal album in 1989. The band Brahma released their album ‘The World Beyond’ in the I-Rock of 1998. Expecting to sell 2000 copies, they sold 27000-29000 copies over the course of three days for twenty bucks. The band Krytops, produced their entire album for eleven grand and embarked on a self-funded tour of Europe.

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29. The Sunburn festival in Goa started in 2007. By the time it was 2009-2010 it was ranked the 9th best music festival in the world.

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30. In the pre internet era, fans barely got their hands on new music from the world. They heavily relied on relatives, friends or got ripped off for a copy of a copy of a copy. There were some places like AudioCastle in Santacruz, Mumbai and National Market in Bangalore which used to sell entire discographies of bands for 80 bucks.

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The series is really a great watch for both music lovers and people who want to know more about the scene. Even if you do not belong to either category, I urge you to watch it as it might change your mind about a few things regarding Indian music.

 

 

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. You can also mail us at indiebullhorn@gmail.com if you have any requests or suggestions. To see more cool stuff like interviews, album reviews, release updates and lots more, stay tuned. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

Fully Funtastic Amit Saigal

Amit Saigal

“If you really do what you want to do, or get inspired to do, then you don’t think about ‘mass appeal’ or success or failure. You just follow a mad urge and do your thing.”

– Amit Saigal

Who is Amit Saigal? Why should you know anything about him? I really think that the world has always had some gems. Some heroes. They come out of nowhere, hiding behind the obscurity of normalcy and end up changing the very fabric of things that intrigued them. They set an example and embolden the rest of us.

We all can agree that the scene is still at its incipient stage, even though it is moving fast. I can’t even conceptualize what it was like in the early 90’s. I’ve had a lot of exposure over the years for me to even start this blog and try to ‘contribute’ to the scene. I’ve been inspired by various people, stories, shows and obviously music. But again, I can’t even imagine what it must’ve been like in the 90’s. So let me be the Dumbledore  to your Harry. Let’s go to our ‘Indie Pensieve’. I take a small tube named ‘Amit Saigal’ along with many named ‘Farahad Wadia’, ‘Louie Banks’ and more. Go dip your head. Now you see that you’re in Allahabad. It’s late at night and you somehow are in a printing press factory. You see a young boy working the night shift at his father’s printing press. You see a sparkle in his eye as he types out four leaflets, recognizably about music, and sticks them together. The title was Rock Street Journal. The boy is excited as he ends up printing 2500 copies of this issue. The scene changes as it morphs into the same boy trying to give these copies to his friends in Delhi and trying to spread it as much as he can. It’s the first proper release at some place called LSR. A relatively young band called ‘Parikrama’ is on stage and is telling the audience to buy the magazine. There’s something inherently charming about the boy as he sits on white plastic chairs trying to sell music magazine in a time when sports and lifestyle magazines aren’t working. The scene changes as we see the boy receiving letters from people across the country asking him to write more.

Time passes by and now the boy has turned into a man. He’s successfully running his magazine from Delhi. There’s a charm to him which is heavily magnetic. People seem to love him. Montages of people hanging out in his house, jamming, having a good time. He seems to be the facilitator of this good vibe. Blank. You see nothing. Now suddenly a boisterous guitar noise along with thousands of people screeching through the hot Delhi air fill your ears. It’s a show like no other. It has a banner with the words ‘The Great Indian Rock festival’ (GIR). The man has grown, wiser and better. The days of him being rejected by every distributor when he has trying to sell his magazine are gone. But there’s still  fervour in his eyes which ,in fact, has grown ever since. Scene after scene it’s him facilitating meetings and seminars. Bands are meeting other bands, musicians meeting other musicians and he’s the man behind all of this. Cut to another unknown boy. He has a guitar on his back. He’s clearly different from the crowd and is conscious that they’re seeing him and his guitar. But he doesn’t care today, because he just bought this CD. He plays it. He can’t believe that the sound coming out of his stereo is made by some Indian band. His eyes light up. He forgot the name of the CD he bought so he checks it. It reads ‘GIR Compilation’. We cut to our main guy trying to print these CDs, trying to get his magazines to work. He keeps encouraging bands to write original music. He brings in foreign metal bands. He’s putting his trust into some bands called ‘Scribe’, ‘Bhayanak Maut’, ‘Demonic Resurrection’  and ‘Undying Inc’ and sending them abroad. He’s proud of what he’s done, but not as proud as the scene he’s participating in.

You get back and all you want to know is how did one man do all this. See, even Dumbledore didn’t know some of the answers to the question Harry asked. So even I can’t answer them. I don’t know how Amit Saigal did all of this. I don’t know how he was inspired to work for a ‘scene’ where there wasn’t even a scene. I don’t know how he single handedly made a cult magazine which was the first publication devoted to independent rock. I don’t know how he got bands like Enslaved, Satyricon and Meshuggah to India, to play at GIR. I don’t know how he thought of making a compilation GIR album which gave an incentive to musicians and bands all across the country to make original music. All I know is, he did it. All I know is, many veterans credit him to be the single most important thing that happened to Indian music. All I know is, after his untimely death in 2012, people and fans all across the indie circuit sorely miss him. All I know is, if I’m going to contribute in any form to the scene it’s because of him. All I know is, you should know about him too. For he truly was, fully funtastic.

 

 

Here’s the link to Rock Street Journal’s Facebook page.

Here’s the link to Rock Street Journal online.

 

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. You can also mail us at indiebullhorn@gmail.com if you have any requests or suggestions. To see more cool stuff like interviews, album reviews, release updates and lots more, stay tuned. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Picture credits to Joey Katare.

Contact Joey at joey.kat97@gmail.com