Underground Authority alleges Shah was abusive towards them and stole songs they had recorded last year and released them under a bogus band's name; Shah threatens to sue them
Underground Authority in the Facebook video in which they levelled the allegations against Rishi Shah
Businessman Rishi Shah, who is being questioned in the suicide of pianist Karan Joseph, has now been accused of stealing an alternative rock band's music. Underground Authority (UA), the band that rose to fame after their performances on India's Got Talent, posted a video on Thursday alleging that Shah, CEO of Crossbones Media, has cheated them by stealing music they recorded at a city studio, and not giving them credit for it.
Santhanam Srinivasan Iyer, the band's frontman, along with Adil Rashid, lead guitarist, Soumyadeep Bhattacharya, bassist and Sourish Kumar, drummer, made the allegations in a 7:40 minute-long video on Facebook, which was accompanied by a post. UA met Shah for the first time in January 2016, when they came to Mumbai to perform at Blue Frog.
When mid-day contacted Rishi Shah, he sent us videos of UA signing the publishing agreement for the music. Shah said, "These are kids who don't realise how they are destroying their careers. Please, don't help them self-destruct. I have been sitting on this for months." When questioned about their allegations, he said, "If you checked your facts, run it. So far, you've published a lot of factually incorrect things. I'll address these when the enquiry is over. I suggest getting a lawyer to confirm their statements. But it's up to you."
Eagerness to tie up
Shah had allegedly shown his eagerness to tie up with the band on an international platform.
"He wanted to finance and promised us a worldwide debut. He wanted to take us to LA for a recording, but when that didn't happen, we came to Mumbai for a week for the recording," said Iyer. The band recorded five songs for an LA-based A&R company during their stay from December 4-11, 2016 in Mumbai under the guidance of Shah. But things started getting bitter when Shah allegedly started playing games to create friction within the band and humiliated its members. "He is misleading and most importantly, he is disrespectful, abusive and ill treats people around him. We stayed at the same room where Karan stayed and we were threatened," alleged Rashid.
'You are under me'
The band members alleged that as soon as the recordings got over, Shah started misbehaving with them. "He said things like — 'I can make you, I can destroy you', 'You are under me'. He sent us separate texts to make us leave the band. We didn't even have money to stay in Mumbai on our own so we decided to leave as he was behaving erratically," said Rashid.
Later, in April this year, Shah tried to rope the band in through Selvaganesh, a well-known percussionist. When Iyer went to meet Shah, he allegedly had to run from the meeting because of his misbehaviour.
"Shah actually threw the phone of my photographer and we literally ran and left the project," said Iyer. But shockingly, just a few days ago, the band got to know that Shah apparently did release their songs, but without any credit.
"He has blatantly and purposely not given us any credit and credited a bogus band, claiming it to be his discovery. The same song (although we changed some lyrics for the American audience) that he released under the band SUTRACOMA, is a song which we have released on reverbnation.com and Artistaloud five to six years ago," said Rashid.
"He is a con man and published our music. It is the same song that we recorded," said Bhattacharya in the video.
Referring to videos Shah sent mid-day claiming it was UA signing publishing agreements for their music, Rashid said, "This video was of a mock signing for a documentary that Rishi called 'FIASCO'. Whether they're at all valid is a matter of dispute. The producers from America got in touch with us, as they also believe that the composers and performers should be credited."
"They promised us over 50 performances. We have lost out on our business as we were dependent on him. We also performed for his magazine, but never got compensated. If he can be so abusive with us, he might have been abusive with other independent musicians," said Bhattacharya.
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