India has a rich history of indie music: Rounak Maiti

Updated: Dec 26, 2018, 09:16 IST | Shunashir Sen | Mumbai

We catch up with Los Angeles-based musician Rounak Maiti ahead of his Mumbai gig

Rounak Maiti
Rounak Maiti

What sort of advantages and disadvantages do you think you would face as a musician if you were to shift back base permanently to India from LA?
Having now lived in the US for a while, I must admit that I’m used to things there. A major advantage of being based in LA is the access to incredibly rich and diverse music, film or any kind of art in general, which is not to say India doesn’t have that, but I am physically closer to a lot more that I love and am influenced by. On the other hand, I also have a strong emotional and cultural connection to India that America can’t replace. Comparatively, making live performances, press meets, tours, etc, in the US — especially in an oversaturated place like LA — is a challenge for new artistes.

You left for the US aged 18 after living in Mumbai since you were five. But you’ve often returned to India in the past six years. How have you seen indie music in the country evolve in scope in this intervening period?
I think India actually has quite an incredible history of independent music, but I guess it had been somewhat on the fringes until recently. When I first started in 2011, there weren’t many venues to play [or get paid] at, at least not in Mumbai. I never really heard about or went to gigs either. But from what I’ve seen, there are now a multitude of festivals, DIY shows and events happening more frequently, which has made it a lot easier to discover independent talent. So there’s really no excuse anymore to not tune in to some fantastic music.

Rounak Maiti

Tell us about how your new album is going to expand your spectrum as a musician.
Waiting on the Comedown is coming out in April 2019. As opposed to the country/folk rock sound of my last album, I took a much more free-form approach this time, without being partial to any one kind of atmosphere or genre. Its leanings are a bit heavier and more sombre than the last one, because I’m discussing things like anxiety, dissatisfaction and my relationships with people around me.

What will your gig in Mumbai entail?
I’m playing with a live band in India for the first time, alongside Siddhant Vetekar, Soutrik Chakraborty and Dhruv Sarker, and I’m thrilled to finally hear these songs come alive on stage, outside my bedroom! We’re doing some video projections that I put together as well, and a special guest is opening the show.

On December 28, 8.30 pm
At The Habitat, Hotel UniContinental, Khar West.
Log on to rounakmaiti.com for tickets
Entry Rs 499

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