Music knows no boundaries and it’s becoming increasingly clear that in India, the independent music wave has surpassed its usual suspects.
Besides the metro cities of Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru, many cosmopolitan hubs are seeing an upsurge of an independent music scene, filled with festivals, concerts, and even original music.
The city known for its nawabs is also home to music enthusiasts who live for original music spanning genres such as Hip-hop, Blues, Acoustic, Regional, World Music and Rock.
The city boasts of three underground music scenes including the Reggae “Bass Sanskriti”, the unconventional “Infinite Cartwheels”, Frequency and the all-encompassing Tree Huggers Clubs’ Cassette Sessions.
Besides hosting music festivals such as the NH7 Weekender Express, the city has hosted Electronic music concerts such as Reset series by the Unmute agency that have kept the feet thumping in the state of Telangana.
Hyderabad is home to Electronic music producer Murthovic and bands such as Marcus Find a Gun, Speakeasy Brownie, and The Tapes.
Shillong is known as “The Rock capital of India” but the city is not just limited to Metal and Classic Rock but has embraced genres such as Pop and Hip-Hop. Small cafes like Dylan’s Cafe, Cloud 9 and Mellow Mood hold regular gigs that feature local talent besides the city itself being home to many musicians and audience which has a great taste.
Bands such as Soulmate, Plague Throat, and DossersUrge thrive amidst concerts such as Callous Amass and Serene Atrocity.
Home to aging Elvis Presley imitators and home to music festivals that pay a tribute to legends such as Bob Marley and Bob Dylan, Shillong is the destination to not just great musicians, but also people with good taste in music.
Ahmedabad is a city that is infamous for its liquor ban, the culture of moral policing and conservative take on non-traditional live music. So its inclusion on this list is surprising but despite the odds, the city is thriving with its need to reach out to independent music.
Sofar Sounds, which is an international organization promoting intimate concerts in people’s homes or other unconventional venues, has found a place in the city’s hearts in spite of regulations put by the authorities at a local level.
Another group called Fangirl Live is creating a niche of “Garama Garam House concerts” amidst their intention of promoting Indian indie artists. From golf clubs to car accessories showroom, the entity has hosted many indie artists from all over the country.
The city is host to a record label BlueTree which is run by Uddipan Sarmah, the frontman of the band “aswekeepsearching” based out of Pune.
While the taste in music is developing in the city, the sound is reverberating amidst the unreceptive large audiences.
Chandigarh is well known for its parties and the clubbing culture but it has quickly become a stage for independent musicians.
Shying away from the Bollywood and Punjabi music industry acts such as The Red Brick House, The Yellow Cab, Karvaan and Haqiqat, Ragaan and U and me have created a niche for themselves. Artists such as Dub Sharma and Mihir Raina have come out with EPs and most artists are using independent platforms like boxout.fm and oklisten to reach out the audience that just wants to listen.
Chennai has quickly carved a spot in this spot with bands like The F16s, The Vavval Brothers, The Broadway Addicts, Nobody, and Wayside.
The Broadway Addicts have released an album called “No Act” on Bandcamp and the Vavval Brothers have taken the unconventional route to producing music in short films.
A startup called Trooze is also trying to act as a catalyst to the independent music scene by being a social network for the artists. The startup is reaching out to people who are willing to listen to new music and not limit themselves to few venues like Bay 146 and Unwind Centre.
Not just that, Chennai is home to many music festivals such as The GO: MADras festival which is an electronic music festival that happens every year by the beach and The Mainstage Festival amongst others such as the Isai Festival.
(Picture credits: GO: MADras festival facebook page)