Papon: Delhi doesn't have an industry as Bollywood has
Winner of two Radio City Freedom Awards and Best Indie Collaboration - Judges' Choice Award alongwith Midival Punditz and Malini Awasthi in 2016), Papon indulges with Radio City Freedom for a quick tete-a-tete
Angarag Mahanta aka Papon is a leading playback singer today for Hindi and Assamese films. But the man also fronts his own independent band, Papon and The East India Company, that has performed at leading music festivals across the country. Winner of two Radio City Freedom Awards (Best Folk Fusion Artist – Judges’ Choice Awards in 2014 and Best Indie Collaboration - Judges' Choice Award alongwith Midival Punditz and Malini Awasthi in 2016), Papon indulges with Radio City Freedom for a quick tete-a-tete.
You started off as a lead singer for an independent band namely East India Company. You have been very active and vocal about promoting independent talent across the country. How, in your opinion has the scene evolved over the years?
It has come a long way since we started six or seven years back. We were from the second generation. There was of course Euphoria, Silk Route, Indian Ocean and Colonial Cousins. And then the music disappeared without films. But in the last few years, independent music has become more prominent. We know of people who are talking about it. There are platforms and festivals to play at. But we have a long way to go. Coming to radio, we need to have dedicated radio stations that play independent music, irrespective of whether they feature in films or not.
Now that you are at an established position yourself, how in your opinion can successful names help in building the bridge between aspiring musicians and record companies?
Many factors are at stake here. People have money but are stressed about returns on investments. Inspite of us reaching where we are, not much has changed. We still do not have a TV channel that is playing music from bands in different parts of our country. Infact, I bypassed the label stage with my last album. I said no because my music was not being promoted anywhere so why have a label. If it is about putting it on Youtube, that is something I can do as well, but are you helping in creating a scene? Have you invested rightly? Do you have a vision on how the scene can be revived? That hasn’t happened so far.
You recently said that Delhi has always served as your best audience, please elaborate
Delhi doesn’t have an industry as Bollywood has. So it is receptive towards anything. There are no industry standards of listening or likings. That’s why a lot of independent music thrives in the capital city. There are no formulas, there is openness towards creativity. Since students from all over the country flock in to study in Delhi, there is a spread of different genres of music. There is a lot of variety. Inspite of Punjabi music being popular, a lot of rock and fusion acts have found prominence since Delhi is a melting pot of cultures.
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