Indie music in India is still finding its voice but with the emergence of bands like The Urban EarlyMen, it seems to get getting to the place where it needs to be. The band plays psychedelic rock with a mix of Indian classical, pop and jazz elements. Their sound is refreshingly different which is why they have caught the attention of music enthusiasts all across the country. The Delhi-based band talks to VNe about how things started, what’s next and what surprises they have in store for their fans.
Tell us a little about the band and the band members?
The band was formed in June 2011 with original members – Roshan, Siby, Adityan, Mridul and Abhijit Sanyal. It was conceived as a contemporary alternative rock band but after the first gig and the exit of Abhijit Sanyal, the band started exploring psychedelic styles with new drummer Rohan Arora. Rohan stuck with the band for nearly half of the album and in the year 2014 Jayant replaced Rohan as he had to leave for Hyderabad for further studies. The band has lately been producing alternative rock sounds with heavy influences of psychedelic rock and pop music.
Tell us a little about your sound and the connection to Eastern music.
All the members are quite receptive and progressive as listeners and learners. So we tend to produce what we are innately connected to and that has always been Indian music. Adityan is trained in Carnatic music and Tabla. We also take great pride in our fairly theatrical style of music production. The style is never confused with the expression of our art. Our style has evolved over time, ranging from theatrical psychedelic rock with Indian classical elements to pop music with jazz influences. But our expression hasn’t changed much. It is still the same concept that we are trying to communicate in the album, that is sort of enlightenment and introspection for deeper understanding of the self and our surroundings.
The band has traveled a lot and performed at a variety of venues, do you find any difference in the music tastes of people hailing from different parts of the country?
Yes, obviously demographic differences bring a drastic change in the trend, culture and style. We don’t think there is a need to really highlight the difference in styles because we all know how diverse it is across India. But culturally a particular kind of affinity and dislike does exist. We do think that our music is still very posh in the sense that it has limited listenership. Not many have the knowledge for appreciation. But it is enjoyed by people who know what to take from our performances and our songs.
‘The Urban EarlyMen’ has played a lot in Northeast, what are your thoughts about the music scene of Northeast.
Every time we have played in the Northeast, we have received a lot of love and respect. But the music scene in the Northeast primarily has alternative and metal bands. There are handfuls who are incorporating indigenous instruments and approach in their songwriting.
Tell us your thoughts about the future of indie music in India?
It will be thriving with great artists with extraordinary skills with measly payments from the organizers (if not zero-pay), condescending managers and clients, insufferable sound vendors, incompetent organizers and a few music lovers with vacant lifestyles looking for a source of escape. From this standpoint, that’s our bleak future.
What is in store for the future, a full-fledged album?
A concept album is on its way charging through the tracking sessions all the way to mixing and mastering and merchandising. Can’t wait to share the final product with the world!
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As told to Jadeed Hussain