By Sukriti Roy:
For someone like me who has always been hooked onto typical bollywood numbers, it has been a little tough to improve my taste in music and actually adore the great scene of indie-music in the country. Pink Floyd and Metallica, that is probably how I realised that there is definitely more to music than the bollywood songs I had been listening to since childhood.
As per Wikipedia, Independent music (often shortened to indie music or indie) is music produced independently from major commercial record labels or their subsidiaries, a process that may include an autonomous, do-it-yourself approach to recording and publishing.
An article by Arjun S. Ravi and Grishma Rao in the Himal South Asian effortlessly enumerates that “For many years, mainstream ‘Indian’ music was almost exclusively defined by Bollywood. But by the early 1960s, a divergent path had emerged in the form of young subversive bands such as The Jets and The Savages. The Indian music scene suddenly found wealth in division. Peace and ‘free love’ made inroads into the country with these bands’ covers of The Beatles and the Rolling Stones, at gigs attended covertly by fledgling flappers and shiny young men in bell bottoms. It was all so furtively glamorous.”
The internet created new platforms and bombarded indie kids with a variety of fresh influences. YouTube has been able to make music videos, live videos and promo videos widely available. Digital music software is another factor which encourages the promulgation of new and various forms of music.
The indie music scene has enunciated only due to the emergence of MTV in the early years of 1990. Indus Creed, which was earlier known as “Rock Machine” also achieved significant fame during that time.
The monotonous and stale bollywood music was one of the main reasons which made people go tenterhooks on indie music in India. Also, people were looking for alternatives to the omniscient Punjabi music and indie music provided the much needed respite. Indus Creed, Parikrama, Warren Mendonsa, Junoon, Indian ocean and even Strings and Jal became demi-Gods. The various college fests have provided a new opportunity for all the bands to display their talent on a larger platform. IIT Bombay’s fest “ Mood Indigo” and NLS Bangalore’s “Strawberry Fields” have remained the most significant battlegrounds where new talent has ushered.
There are instances where the bands have collaborated with major labels. However, the bands have also started taking the initiative of managing their own gigs which encompasses managing their own finances, finding the appropriate venues, adequate advertising. The success of their gigs depends mostly on word-of-mouth appreciation.
However, there is much needed to be done in order to ensure that indie-music scene in India has a mass reach and that it is not just restricted to the metropolitan cities or the second-tier cities only. Most of the youngsters in small towns are unaware about the various forms of music like alternative rock, opera or thrash metal, nu-jazz or psychedelic scream, cabaret or gypsy jazz. Indie music, to the ignorant, has always seemed like an imitation of the western culture. But its growing popularity cannot be overlooked and it is definitely going be more influential in the coming years.