‘We are anti-genre Nazis’, says Erfan, founder of Alchemy.
Alchemy took shape on the night of 7th April, 2012. It is possibly the only group of promoters/event managers in the Northeast to host 100 gigs in a span of 4 years.
‘We weren’t counting.’ It was only when a friend asked them about the number, did they realize that they have completed 100 gigs. ‘The ride goes up and down, around and around, thrills and chills and a whole lot of feels. It’s been wonderful, and the only way is up!’
The FRESH Start
When Alchemy formed, there was only psy trance and Bollywood parties happening in Guwahati. But Erfan and his partner-in-crime Vishal whom he met during the summer of 2011 in Delhi, wanted to introduce people to new music.
‘I wanted to bring something new, something fresh. When I was in Delhi, Dualist Inquiry had just launched his debut album. He wasn’t the biggest thing back then but surely was FRESH!’ shares Erfan. So, they hosted Dualist Inquiry at Racquets and Billiards Club in Guwahati under the label of Spirit Underground. ‘That night was one for the books, it was off the hook!’
Soon after that, they launched Alchemy and hosted Kris Coreya and Sohail Arora’s, now disbanded Bay Beat Collective for Guwahati’s first drum and bass party. ‘It was nothing short of awesome.’
They were highly appreciated for organizing events in their signature path-breaking style, and introducing people to new sounds. It hasn’t been easy to do what they do but they have continued to widen horizons, and expose people to new stuff. ‘There have been various hurdles that we had to jump over, and it doesn’t stop. New things keep popping up and we have to deal with things one at a time or sometimes 10 things at once and keep moving on.’
Since its inception, Alchemy has taken a unique approach towards organizing events. ‘It’s fun to challenge ourselves to do new things. Predictability counters the evolutionary process of music (or anything for that matter) or to put it simply – is counterproductive.’
Space for Local Talent in Northeast India
They feel that a lot more needs to be done for creating a space for the local talent in Northeast India. ‘Northeast is a gold mine, I have told the same thing to others. There are so many bands, singers, rappers, electronic music producers and Dj’s who are brilliant but there isn’t enough being done for them. Now with big festivals happening, I certainly hope that the programmers take notice of such artistes and give them a platform. I also urge people to go to smaller shows and gigs, and pay for the entry when the local artistes are performing. Sponsors should support the promoters and event organizers to promote local talents too.’ Erfan feels that the collective effort of local media houses and event organizers can promote and encourage local talent.
According to Erfan, some of the best independent acts that they have hosted so far are Su Real, Nucleya, Anil Chawla, Madboy/Mink, RITMO, The Ska Vengers, Peter Cat Recording CO., Delhi Sultanate & Begum X, EZ Riser, and Sickflip among others. Apart from musicians, they have successfully hosted a few well known stand-up acts like Kenny Sebastian and Azeem Banatwala.
Currently they are working on a wish-list to host Nicholson & Fuzzy Logic Live, Prateek Kuhad & Ankit Tewari Live and Thalavattam Live. ‘These have been in our list for quite some time but we have not been able to make it happen due to some reason or the other. Each act will open up people to a new spectrum of sound and performance.’
Their top 3 venues in the Northeast are –
- Terra Mayaa tops the list for the obvious reasons; we hosted 80% of our artistes at Terra Mayaa.
- Cloud 9 Shillong for good programming on Fridays and Saturdays.
- Upstairs Dimapur – You have to be there to understand the vibe. You walk out of the car, walk into an apartment building where people actually live! And head to its top floor to discover the place calls ‘Upstairs’. It’s confusing, but it’s brilliant.
On 6th May, 2017, Alchemy is completing 101 gigs. They are celebrating this occasion in a grand manner at Club XS, The Place To Be. ‘We’ll be sticking to the core of starting “Alchemy” in the first place and introduce people to new or rather fresh music.’ So, this Saturday, you know the place to be. Thank us later!
By Mrinal Paul