Boys from SouthPark perform Jazz,âÂ€ÂˆFunk andâÂ€ÂˆReggae in public spaces such as parks, promenades and metro stations across the city for the common people
"Bollywood always sells, but the state of independent music in India is really bad," begins Prince Mangan, the bassist of Boys From SouthPark. The members of the band will talk about this and more, and put up a performance at TEDxBandra tomorrow.
Made up of Mangan (bass), Roshan Bhat (vocals, kazoo, guitar), Love More (guitar) and Moin Farooqui (drums), the band came together in December 2015. They began by jamming under the canopy of trees at Shivaji Park, playing Jazz notes and incorporating Reggae and Funk elements into it. "If it wasn't obvious, the 'SouthPark' in the band's name refers to Shivaji Park," chuckles Mangan.
While you'll find the boys playing gigs at events like the Prithvi Festival, what they really enjoy is busking (playing music in public spaces). This led them to join Natural Streets for Performing Arts (NSPA), a non-profit that aims to bring the culture of street performances to India, in July last year. However, it was not before they burned their fingers trying to busk independently.
"Overseas, you can earn money through busking, but the concept is misunderstood in India. We tried it before joining NSPA, but the experience was terrible. People thought we were beggars, but then they saw we were not badly dressed. Some laughed and walked away," rues Mangan. Bhat chimes in, mentioning that even now, performing at Mumbai's metro stations is difficult, as they need to catch the attention of the hordes milling about. "No one has the time to stop and listen. Most times, they can barely hear us over all the din," he adds.
Their lyrics, despite their experimental sounds, are in Hindi and speak to the common man. Mangan says, "We're playing for the people. What's the point if they don't understand what we're trying to say?"
ON: March 26, 8 am onwards
AT: Bal Gandharva Rang Mandir, Bandra (W).
Pushkar Joshi (drums) and Kiron Kumar (guitar) in action at a Hellwind gig
Bruised noses and bleeding faces is a regular spectacle at Metal concerts. When listeners have a chance to rebel for an evening, they go out of their skin. But amid all the revolt and revelry, lies friendship. If you injure yourself in the middle of a mosh pit (the slam dancing spot), the person next to you will be the first to help. Though Metal bands are far and few in the city, the Grand Mammoth Festival - one of the premier Metal fairs - didn't stop bustling. But the upcoming edition (the fifth chapter) could be the swansong of the earsplitting affair.
Fade to black
"This is my last. I got married recently, and I need to support my family. I need to generate more revenue. Metal gigs won't fetch me money," says Jeff Dani, who started the event four years ago at the age of 19. He played the drums for a band (RockâÂ€ÂˆVeda) those days. "We didn't have a venue to play, so I created a gig for the group. I started attending concerts when I was 14," he recalls.
Most cities lose their musicians and programmers when they reach the comprising point - to catch the practical train or float in the emotional boat. "I will try to make a comeback to designing Metal shows once I am financially stable," adds Dani, who struggled to find bands for the event. "Many bands aren't working anymore. So I couldn't lock the exact line-up I wanted. I couldn't get Scribe. I thought of bringing Chaos but it didn't work out."
Demonic Resurrection will promote their fifth album, Dashavatar, at the Grand Mammoth Festival. Pic/BelinâÂ€ÂˆLewis
Kiron Kumar, guitarist of the Mumbai-based group Hellwind, believes having 100 people in the audience is a blessing today. "Back in the day, people would turn up for shows when they wanted to check out bands. Since the Internet didn't have enough reach, you had to be physically present at the venue. Now all bands can be heard online," he says. But he accepts that there are familiar faces at the concerts. "People who are really into the genre still participate in the rebellion, despite the social media and smart phone distraction."
Kumar bats for mixed genre festivals to benefit from fans. "Imagine having Rock, Funk, Punk and Metal lovers under one roof. It will help other bands have an audience," he reasons.
Bands and songs
Having Demonic Resurrection - one of the early Black Metal bands in the city - and Hellwind (Hard Rock/ Heavy Metal) on board is a masterstroke. Three outstation bands will join the Mumbai metal geniuses - Elemental (Death Metal) from Bhopal, The Down Troddence (Groove Metal) from Kannur and Eccentric Pendulum (Progressive Metal) from Bengaluru. Hellwind's track, Metal From Above, will remind one of Iron Maiden; it is a crowd puller. Demonic Resurrection is likely to play the track, Matsya (The Fish), from their new album Dashavatar. The song is already a rage for its use of sitar and tabla, complemented by guitar riffs.
Metal isn't dead
Metal is very much alive but the audience is divided. They haven't gone down but not grown either. Five years ago, there were 2,000 metal fans in the city. It could be 3,000 now. Since there are more concerts today, not all of them turn up at the gigs. It looks like the scene is dying but I feel that is not the case.
ON: March 26, 6.30 pm
AT: antiSOCIAL, Rohan Plaza, 5th Road, Khar (W).
ENTRY: Rs 300