How Bangalore band went from Facebook page to record label

In 2013, musician Rahul Giri started an online group for underground sonic talent. In January, they released their second album

Three years ago, Rahul Giri, the man behind the beats in Bangalore electronica/trip-hop duo Sulk Station, started Consolidate, a Facebook community to bring producers across national and international borders together. "I get excited with any new, rough-on the-edge kind of music and, there’s so much talent around that just needed an outlet. An FB page seemed like a good way to channelise unreleased music," says the 33-year-old over the phone from Bengaluru, about the journey that began in 2013.

From a small community of experimental producers, functioning up till now mainly as a music blog, posting mixes and the odd tune on tumblr and SoundCloud, Consolidate is now a record label. They released their first collaborative venture, Peach Tea Since July, last month, and are now out with the second release, the compilation FRNDS & FMLY 2016.

Rahul Giri, founder of Conso-lidate
Rahul Giri, founder of Consolidate

"There was really no set qualifier as far as sound goes. I was reaching out to people whose music I found interesting," says Giri. "The electronic scene in Bengaluru is fresh and fearless because there are a lot more youngsters who are willing to experiment with sounds. But, once we made the group, we had members from all over the country," he says. Featuring Aerate Sound, Aniruddh Menon and Pardafash (of erstwhile band Machli), Disco Puppet, Oceantied, Zubin Aroz and Worms Cottage, the album is essentially a celebration of the Indian underground's complicated sonic identity. "Although a few members like Zubin Aroz and Aniruddh Menon are part of the core team, we also have a lot floating members. But, it functions like a family, after all," he says, adding that they did away with the vowels in their compilation just for fun.

Ketan Bahirat of Oceantied
Ketan Bahirat of Oceantied

The label features the country’s underground talent that appropriates hip-hop, Bollywood and beats to create their own brand of music. "It’s difficult to categorise the music we produce into genres because it's fragmented and unique. Each producer has a different style. But, if I had to define my music it would be categorised as downtempo with moody, melancholic elements of dark electronic music," says Giri.

Sandhya Viswanathan, a Delhi-based artiste of Pardafash, a solo project features in the compilation with her experimental track that contains some very BMSR-esque synths. "Being a newbie on the scene, there’s always a sense of insecurity regarding how your music will be received. But, being a part of a community like Consolidate helps you evolve. You meet producers from all over, who give you feedback on your music. The growth is faster," says the 25-year-old, who is recognised for her versatile vocals. Viswanath has been part of Consolidate since its inception ad features in the mix-up, Peach Tea Since July and is also part of FRNDS & FMLY, a compilation with two mini-tracks. "There are two aspects to music, one is composing and the other is engineering. While I’ve got the hang of the first, I still need to sharpen my engineering skills."

For Oceantied aka Ketan Bahirat, Ice and Fire, happens to be the only proper dance-floor burner in the compilation. "My brand of music is primarily footwork style, 160bpm tempo Ice and Fire starts off moody moving onto fast, dancier and club-friendly beats," says the 22-year-old from Bangalore. Bahirat is currently working on an EP, which he plans to release in April. Till then he has Consolidate to keep him busy.

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