With the sudden creative explosion of independent artists, offbeat music, and a much more enthusiastic audience for subcultures like art, comedy and theatricals; it was only a matter of time that some geniuses united and officially gave birth to a stage that seamlessly ties all of these together. We are talking about Pepsi MTV Indies, folks. It is an idea so brilliant, that you’d wonder why didn’t you think of it first?
Alright. So here’s the scoop. One fine day, Pepsi and MTV joined forces to bring to people a 24×7 channel with independent music of up and coming artists that you go to festivals to attend, a magnificent display of unique and indigenous art forms (cool street art, album art, graphic design and whatnot), laugh riots by our very own comedians and a lot more amazing content that you are always looking for.
The launch party that took place on the 20th of Feb, featured a glorious 3-story house stage marking the homecoming of the indie scene with some of the biggest Indian names. The collaborations of artists on stage were never witnessed before! It was a dream come true for many an indie lover when Rabbi collaborated onstage with Ankur & the Ghalat Family and Tough on Tobacco. The launch also featured the visionary composer and instrumentalist Karsh Kale spectacularly jammed with the artists as well. Just when everyone would wrap their heads around the awesomeness of the night, a new surprise with more artists would just make the event even more extraordinary for them. The brilliant stage production, lighting, delivery by comedians and the vibe were just right and justified the idea of Pepsi MTV Indies completely.
Thrilled to the core by the concept; some of our very own treasured Indian artists talk to the Sherp about how the uber cool channel is here to make things a lot more interesting and fun for everyone.
Ankur Tewari, the lead vocalist of Ankur and the Ghalat Family, a composer, filmmaker and now the head of programming for Pepsi MTV Indies tells us how survival is the biggest challenge in the creative independent music industry. He mentions how unknowingly, one could give in to the demands of the market and lose oneself in the mainstream norm of pleasing the client, but not him. On Pepsi MTV Indies, he is of the opinion that its wide presence with not just a TV channel but an exciting mobile app and a top-notch website will ensure the growth of independent talent in India. Another remarkable customized feature according to Ankur is the mood-based, not genre based music programming with a balanced mix of all arts that will be hosted. Not just that, a user can make their own playlist, send it to the channel and get lyrics and chords – all by a click on the App, among many more cool features. Now isn’t that something?
Dualist Inquiry, the one-man-show electronic project by Sahej Bakshi who is also a guitarist, composer, and very intriguingly, a word nerd shares his views on Pepsi MTV Indies as well. When we took him back to memory lane and how it was to make the leap in the music scene, he very frankly tells us that it was while studying when he realized that music was all that he cared about and by the end of college, he was ready with a 45 minute set of raw and neat tunes to be played at gigs. On independent music in India, this is what he feels:
“Although the last 2 years have seen a solid infrastructure come up in terms of festivals and music journalism; it’s safe to say that nearly all indie artists who’ve made a name for themselves have done so without the help of giant record labels and publishing houses. They’ve done it through relentless gigging, word-of-mouth, social media interaction and finding new and innovative ways to get people’s attention.”
With platforms like Pepsi MTV Indies, a lot of like-minded people will come together and open up about their interests and creativity, something that will define the tastes of our generation, Sahej reckons. He is relieved that finally, there is a channel that caters to him and his buddies, who are Indian at heart but with exposure, have a deep liking towards the western culture and their art forms. He will remain hooked to the channel, he promises!
Sandunes; the solo electronic project of Sanaya Ardeshir, always found her interest deeply rooted in music. With early influences in jazz and blues, she now produces very organic electronic dance beats, with a tinge of dubstep, trip hop and garage witnessed from time to time. Returned all sharp and full of creative life from London, her energetic live gigs leave you speechless and hungry for more.
Not denying how hard it can be to make a mark in music with infinite artists coming up; she strongly believes that Pepsi MTV Indies is here to make its mark, to make people aware of the different genres and styles as well as giving them access to the non-mainstream independent music scene in India.
“Also, representing music that is very real and non-mainstream, and artists that are also real and not necessarily rockstars will make it friendlier and more inspiring for aspiring musicians too.”
The very unique Delhi based electronic artist, Nucleya, who started as early as the 90s, could not be more ecstatic about Pepsi MTV Indies. But when we took him back to his early struggling days, he very bravely confesses how all he knew was music. The though of becoming a CA or a serious professional scared him and he spent a lot of time passionately making music and playing video games. He recalls how he battled to get work for 3 years in Goa and never got paid sufficiently too.
“I maxed all my credit cards out and went completely broke, all because I refused to play music I didn’t like. Maybe I was a bit too stubborn.”
Once we brought the topic of discussion back to Pepsi MTV Indies, he got all charged up and started to tell us how the independent music never went beyond YouTube despite constant expensive efforts. He is grateful for the channel as it is a 360 degree platform that is going to actively host major events throughout the country. At this point, he throws light on something very interesting. Nucleya states how India is primarily all about Bollywood music and that is omnipresent throughout all possible outlets – be it Radio, TV or Internet. Indie’s got no space to itself; hence Pepsi MTV Indies is a blessing in disguise.