Mumbai college rock bands on the cusp of new strides in music

Updated: 11 December, 2018 10:15 IST | Karishma Kuenzang | Mumbai

Two college bands that won the top prize for the best rock/metal outfit talk about being on the cusp of new and interesting strides in their music career

Discovering one's affinity towards music and embracing your ability to come up with hummable tunes is something most musicians discover whilst in school or college. And Mumbai-based Alchemy and Chennai's Oddbox - the two winners of Parx Live Hunt, an annual college rock competition - think that the genre is here to stay, despite the influx of EDM variants.

"The Mumbai rock scene is growing exponentially. The influence of bands like The Local Train and Aswekeepsearching has revived the independent scene not only in Mumbai, but also the country," Mohit Budhwani, vocalist of six-member piece Alchemy, a Hindi alternative/experimental rock band, says. Indie events organised regularly by venues, DIY gigs by indie bands, and curated major events also get credit for the rise of rock. "A decade ago, bands like Euphoria, Parikrama and Indian Ocean ruled the scene, but unfortunately, it was curbed by Bollywood music," Budhwani adds.

(From left) Aniruddha Deshpande, Yash Rajput, Nilesh Dalwani, Mohit Budhwani, Dizzy Gogoi and Ankit Gangwani
(From left) Aniruddha Deshpande, Yash Rajput, Nilesh Dalwani, Mohit Budhwani, Dizzy Gogoi and Ankit Gangwani

These students of Thadomal Shahani Engineering College in Bandra got together with the sole aim of playing a couple of college festival competitions as a hobby. But eventually, this hobby started shaping up into something bigger. While half of them are still engineering students, the other half are full-time musicians. Their compositions strike a chord with the crowd thanks to their varied influences - from Hindustani classical to heavy metal and pop.

And then there's Chennai-based Oddsox, which was formed when vocalist Neil Cornelius' wish was granted. "I joined Madras Christian College and wanted to sing in a band. The first person I met was my bassist Nithin. Soon, we met Andrew, the guitarist, in my French class, and Erai too. I am a huge fan of classic rock, pop rock, R&B and alternative rock. My guitarist listens to a lot of melodic and harmonic stuff, while the bassist is the resident metalhead," says Cornelius.

(Clockwise from left) Balaji Krishnan, Andrew Deepak, Erai Arasu, Nithin Peter and Neil Cornelius.
(Clockwise from left) Balaji Krishnan, Andrew Deepak, Erai Arasu, Nithin Peter and Neil Cornelius.

And a career in music looks bright for these 21-year-olds. "The rock scene in Chennai is getting better; more people are beginning to recognise independent artistes and rock musicians in particular. The scene in India is reflective of what's happening in Chennai," Cornelius says, adding, "We hope we can make a career out of this. All of us want to continue in this line of work. No matter what happens, we aren't going to stop making music." Budhwani confesses, "We're aware of the ups and downs involved in a full-time musician's career, and have already faced a lot of rejection and struggle. All the hard work will pay off someday, as long as everybody is truly into it and passionate about pursuing music."

Alchemy is planning to invest their winnings to produce their upcoming debut album, slated for release in early 2019. Named Izhaar, it includes eight songs. Oddsox, meanwhile, is set to release their first single, Drown, and its music video at tomorrow's gig.

ON: December 13, 8.30 pm onwards
AT: Hard Rock Cafe, Sharyans Audeu, Fun Cinema Lane, Andheri West.
CALL: 26743901
COST: Rs 500

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First Published: 11 December, 2018 08:00 IST

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