Radio saves the indie star

What do you get when four engineers get together to save the music scene? A cultural revolution! Or so their website bcradio (.in) claims. Introduced to the Indian music scene thanks to college festivals, IITians and musicians Kaustub Pandey, Dhruv Joshi, Saurabh Agarwal and Kritin Joshi wanted to provide a platform that would encourage independent musicians. An online radio station, they decided, was the way to go. And that is how BC Radio (which stands for Be the Change) was set up.

(Left to right) IITians Saurabh Agrawal, Kaustub Pandey, Dhruv Joshi and Kritin Joshi are all musicians. They met over jam sessions while in college. PIC/ Sameer Markande

“The idea is based on our experiences of discovering the Indian music scene through Livewire, Mood Indigo and our seniors at college. We wanted to provide a wonderful, no-nonsense platform by which everyone could discover the remarkable music that’s being made in our country. We hope to build it into the definitive platform to discover Indian independent music,” says 22 year-old Pandey, the unofficial spokesperson for the group. “I’m the only one still in college. The other three have jobs,” he says over the phone, laughing about how he landed the role.

Pandey got to know his seniors from college over jamming sessions. They began working on the website in early June and, within a month, it was ready to be launched. “Of course, being IITians is an advantage, since most of us have been into programming and developing webapps,” he admits.

Getting hold of the music wasn’t too tough either. “Initially we approached our favourite bands and bands we knew well. They obliged immediately. After that, the growth happened organically and now bands from across the nation approach us,” reveals Pandey.

The guys, all big fans of Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Porcupine Tree and Tool, are open to webcasting music from any genre — metal, rock, electronic, progressive — in Hindi or in English. “We have absolutely no restrictions. We’ve been discovering some amazing music ourselves through the station; music we never knew existed. The philosophy was to bring music out in the open and help people appreciate it. We don’t want to restrict ourselves to any one genre. We play mostly indie bands, but a lot of bigger bands attached to labels are there as well,” asserts Pandey.

When musicians send across their songs to be uploaded, the quartet checks for one thing — the clarity of the sound. “The quality of recording has to be good. We will not compromise on clarity,” Pandey adds.

Like other Internet radio stations, the listener plays DJ on BC Radio too. “People should have the freedom to discover their own music. There’s a continuous stream of songs. If you don’t like the current song, just press next and something else will start playing! Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité,” asserts Pandey.

The quartet, who equates jobs with slavery, is hoping to make a career out of the radio station. “Our own investment has been minimal so far, and we are confident that we will create something self-sustaining,” Pandey concludes.

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