Artiste in the house

Updated: Oct 07, 2019, 15:00 IST | Aastha Atray Banan | Mumbai

Living-room gigs are picking up pace, as they give the musician artistic freedom, and audiences a taste of an intimate gig

Raghav Meattle, who wants to reach out to more people" with these performances, in a fan's living room
Raghav Meattle, who wants to reach out to more people" with these performances, in a fan's living room

Earliar this year, musician Raghav Meattle let everyone on his Instagram know that he was available to play at offices and home gigs. For Meattle, whose debut album Songs from a Matchbox released recently, it was a way to drum up buzz before the launch and make people "understand where the music comes from".

After he posted and people got in touch with him, he played 13 gigs all over India, including Mumbai, Goa and Bengaluru. "The tickets were priced at Rs 300, and covered my stay and transport. All I wanted was to reach out to more people. At the end of the gig, even if there were only 30 people I was playing for, they were all blown away, and that mattered the most." Meattle also sees his living-room gigs as a welcome break from club gigs, where he always plays to please, and makes sure the audience dances the night away.

"But at a solo intimate gig, where the audience gets to really hear the music and the lyrics [which is what my music is big on], and they put their phones on silent, that is really something. The satisfaction comes from that. It also is a good sounding board for all my new material, and motivates me to create new content. I plan to keep doing these tours."

Like Meattle, other musicians are taking the route of the living-room gig tour, as it allows them the freedom of playing their own music, and cater to an audience who cares about the music first and foremost. Singer-songwriter Tejas, known for his pop-rock-folksy vibe, travelled all over the Northeast this year, playing at people's homes, with fellow artiste Mali. "We played at places like Shillong, Guwahati, Dimapur and Imphal. Some fans actually helped, and set the room up and put us up. It was really hardcore." The experience was so great that Tejas came back to Mumbai, and did a six-city living-room gig in October.

"I did it with Enkore, who is a rap artiste, and it was the most fun ever: just playing the kind of music we want to and being on the road. As musicians, we get so caught up with managing and promoting ourselves that we are not allowed to play what we are actually good at. So, these gigs help us combat that," he says.

Both Meattle and Tejas found help and guidance from LVNG, an initiative by 19-year-old musician Andrew Sabu, which, as he articulately puts, "wants the artiste to own their experience". After deciding to get into the indie gig scene, Sabu was a bit disgruntled at the few options available for musicians to play their kind of music.

"So, at the LVNG gigs, where a fan or friend or volunteer offers a living room space, we act as facilitators for an artiste to get their own experience. Everyone deserves to be heard." But they are not event managers, he is quick to say. "You can get in touch with us on Instagram or email us, and we will come, move stuff around, set the space up and the audiences can get their own booze. We will also decide which artiste will play, because at the end of the day, these gigs are all about the musician, and no one else."

For LVNG: Email lvng@wearereck.com
For Raghav Meattle: Email bookraghavmeattle@gmail.com
For Tejas: Email kadakapple@gmail.com

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