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Review: Madness JAMS: Lifafa & Tienas

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When we were asked at to attend another gig property, we were amused at first but not surprised.

Even as the independent music scene in India grows, particularly in the metros, there is a spurt of companies/initiatives wanting to cash in.

The old favorites such as house gig properties like Sofar Sounds, Lvng, House Concerts & BeatMap are also cashing in by doing brand collaborations which not just helps them break even but also pays the artists that are playing in these non-conformist venues.


Madness JAMS is a new Indian property created as a result of the partnership between the international alcohol brand- Jameson and the renowned co-working space network WeWork. This music property provides artists, music enthusiasts, and partner brands intimate music sessions in co-working spaces across India, and online music content of international standards. Its a first in India, collaboratively curated, produced and marketed with established and Indie artists and partner brands.

We attended the latest Madness JAMS on 13th July at WeWork BKC, Mumbai which promised to deliver a heady mix of music.


Madness JAMS aims to curate and create international standard audiovisual representations of independent music talent in India. Madness JAMS is presented by Madness, a digital entertainment company specialising in creative content solutions.

The gig on 13th July 2019 was Madness JAMS’ third initiative which was based on the EDM/Rap genre theme. Their previous gigs have included acoustic indie-artists like Kamakshi Khanna & Ladies Compartment, and electro-funk duo Madboy Mink alongside the F16s.

Their themes are inclusive in the genres and ensure that while you might come for the headlining act, you might discover another indie artist that you probably might not have heard of.

I wouldn’t lie, I was excited for the gig just because it consisted of two things I personally like – spacious co-working spaces & two artists I hadn’t had the chance to catch live.

Contemporary electronic music production has served to score the memories of a generation here in India, but with one element strangely absent – voice and vernacular. To change that scenario is Lifafa which is an alias for Suryakant Sawhney who has spent five years exploring uncharted terrain: electronic music that not only speaks in sonics, but also of words and meaning. Via an unique perspective with an ongoing exploration of Hindi and Urdu, a constant refinement of his own production techniques, and his instinctive take on melody and cadence, his music is spiritual and sensual, familiar and alien and has caught the attention of audiences not just in urban, Anglicised India, but in less obvious corners of this country, and beyond.

Undefined and yet familiar, it presents a compelling insight into what the future of music from this region could be. And it is exciting. As the headliner, he enthralled the crowds which consisted of the usual indie-music fans and also a younger audience; which I was surprised to discover. Everyone in the room was paying attention to his brand of music; which demanded attention and interest; a skill few indie-artists possess.

Many of the people in the audience knew the lyrics and were dancing to the tunes, something I would never imagine happening at a coworking space. WeWork served as a perfect venue, with adequate security, facilities and yes, lots and lots of space for the bar, the food counter and even a place to sit- I was ecstatic!


The Mumbai-based MC Tanmay Saxena, known popularly as Tienas or Bobby Boucher, is a breath of fresh air in the city’s hip-hop community – bringing to the forefront a Nujabes-inspired sonic aesthetic that hasn’t been seen before in a region dominated by ‘gully rap’. The name ‘Tienas’ is a wordplay on his initials “T n’ S,” much inspired by his idol and inspiration, Eminem who also used his initials “M n’ M” which stand for Marshall Mathers.

Tienas was joined in by other Azadi Records artists on the stage – the music label that represents most Indie-Indian Rap artists here in India. Tienas opened in a typical MC fashion and he was perfect because he held your attention through not just the beats but the words; which was refreshing, to say the least. He represented a voice of the new Indian millennials; talking about issues that plague us in Indian cities about the world and the futility of it all.

The Madness JAMS is an experience I would recommend; not just for their spin on the independent music gigs but also for the crowd it attracts and the partnerships that make sense; something that is missing in other music properties.

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