In 1999, when only Bollywood and trance ruled the roost, they introduced Mumbai to sounds it had not heard before. Today, 20 years on, Bhavishyavani Future Soundz still believes in keeping it fresh
On May 11 1999, Bhavishyavani Future Soundz organised their first party ever. Co-founders DJ Insat (Ashim Ahluwalia, now filmmaker) and Masta Justy (Jatin Vidyarthi) played at the then-happening Razzberry Rhinoceros in Juhu. The party introduced Mumbai to drum 'n bass, trip-hop, jungle and ambient, sounds that the trance and Bollywood-obsessed crowd had never heard. Twenty years later, next month, the collective will celebrate two decades with another party at Famous Studios.
"It's such a coincidence that due to some brand commitments and some other unforeseen circumstances, the date is exactly the same as our first gig. And, Insat and Musta Justy will be back at the consoles!" says co-founder Tejas Mangeshkar (Mr T) when we chat with him and core team member Frenchmen Mathieu Josso aka M Mat over cold Tang at their office in Khar.
A BFS party in 1999 at Madness, Khar West
"For us, it was about communicating the music we liked, so we also needed design. It was about the whole experience. Bhavishyavani was also a collaborative space where designers, filmmakers, architects come together to give their bit. For our festival Eden in 2014, we got artists to create pieces [such as posters or art behind the DJ console] to go with the music," says Mangeshkar. The collective was originally formed by Mangeshkar, Ahluwalia, Vidyarthi, musician Mukul Deora, and graphic designer Kunal Rawat. "We had been doing a lot of design work for music companies, for instance making CD art work for Sony, and so when we started doing our own parties, we asked them to help us out," says Mangeshkar. Josso, who joined in later with Cyril Michaud (DJ Loopkin), and Yohann Jamsandekar aka Spacejams, says that the true reason behind the inception of BFS was "if it's not there, no one is going to do it for you, and you have do it yourself". "We liked a certain kind of music, and we liked a certain kind of party, and we decided to make it happen."
BFS often organised legendary boat parties
The parties were held at then-shady venues like Razzberry Rhinoceros, Rock Bottom in Juhu, Madness in Khar and Western Cafe in Bandra (later Zenzi). DJs were part of BHS core group and/or DJs they met during their travels and convinced to come down to India. "At that time, DJs came down as they would live in India, do yoga, buy houses in Goa, and just find themselves," says Mangeshkar, to which Josso adds, "There was none of what's happening now, 'come many times a year, play, drop them to their hotel room, and bye'. We bring down DJs we like, we can spend time with and have a good time with." They were exposed to underground music as Mangeshkar attended raves in London, and Ahluwalia and Deora got CDs from their travels across the world. "The CDs coming back were not of Pink Floyd, or other rock music, and it was a kind of music that resonated with us. But it was different from trance, which already had a cult following in India. It was more inclusive," says Mangeshkar.
If the artistes didn't need much of a nudge to come to India, sponsors and venues still needed to be convinced. "Everyone we have worked with is now on top of their game. We got this DJ down in 2010 called Dixon, and we had to convince the venue that he was worth it. He now is one of the biggest DJs in the world," says Josso.
The BFS crew: (From left) Cyril Michaud (DJ Loopkin), Charlee, Mathieu Josso aka M Mat, and Tejas Mangeshkar (Mr T)
They also gave rise to a different kind of a party, one where you couldn't request for your girlfriend's favourite Bollywood song, and a different kind of a crowd, full of creative minds from across the city. "We had people from design, advertising and fashion magazines. Our crew members included Zoya Akhtar, Reema Kagti, and Kiran Rao, who all invited their friends. They would hand out fliers at places like Mondegar. We would also stuff fliers in envelopes and send them to advertising agencies," recalls Mangeshkar. The draw was the artiste, who would usually be an underground one, and the complete experience that went with it. "Most festivals now bring down artistes who are as big as Britney Spears. Our thing is to keep it more underground, and hence, keeping it fresh," says Mangeshkar, and Josso adds, "Now, you have two million tracks on the Net at your disposal. I had to buy vinyl to keep myself updated."
The mad stories of the fun are endless. Night-long parties at Priya Kishore's Bombay Electric in Colaba, where they had to keep convincing the cops to let them go on. "In the end, we all saw the sunrise together," laughs Josso. There were also boat parties, and popular sundowners at Aurus.
For now, they are concentrating on the May 11 gig, for which they want to step it up a notch. "So the audience will be in the centre, surrounded by speakers, and maybe you won't even see the DJ," says Mangeshkar. Ask them if the party will go on, and they say 'sure', without comprising on the impact it needs to have. "Each person who comes, comes to feel something, and we need to give them that. The crowd has to be right, the artiste needs to be right, the 'experience' needs to be right," says Josso, a thought that Mangeshkar sums up succinctly when he says, "We are looking at the next 20 years." Amen to that.
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