'The authorities need to support indie music'
Live electronica powerhouse Dualist Inquiry speaks his mind on what's ailing Indian independent musicians
When Sahej Bakshi aka Dualist Inquiry collaborated with Sanchal Malhar for the single You & Me earlier this year, he reaffirmed his status as one of the most prominent live electronic acts in the country. It's a loopy track in which Bakshi adds instrumental layers as if he's a chef preparing a rich four-tiered cake, with Malhar's vocals providing the icing on top. Now, the Dualist Inquiry Band is all set to take the stage in Mumbai tonight. We catch up with Bakshi over email ahead of the gig.
How did the collaboration with Sanchal Malhar for You & Me come about?
I've known about Sanchal for years, even before I started Dualist Inquiry, and always wanted to work with him. We ran into each other on a night-out in Delhi, and decided to head back to the studio instead of going to an after-party. We ended up recording the vocals for You & Me during that late-night session, and the song came together very quickly.
What are some advantages that you face being a musician living in Delhi?
Delhi has its own ecosystem of musicians, institutions and venues that are conducive for new musicians starting their career. The advantages are that news and buzz from Delhi travels out to all parts of the country, and so a new Delhi-based musician would find it a bit easier to break through nationally. It's also well-connected by air to other Indian cities. But I lived in Bombay partly a few years ago and loved it, though in 2018, I decided to move to Goa, which will now be my permanent home and base.
What would you say are the obstacles that Indian indie musicians face, which are holding the 'scene' back?
The biggest challenge is not having the full support and understanding of the authorities of this country. This makes organising festivals and gigs or operating a venue a frustrating and challenging job, since there is always a real possibility of it getting 'shut down' due to complicated licensing laws or limited business hours (having to close at 1 am, for example). One can only hope that we get more from authorities in the years to come.
What do you think is an ideal model for getting financial returns on your music?
To be honest, there is no 'ideal' model. Almost every full-time musician I know figures it out in his or her own way. Being a freelance professional musician is an unpredictable career and there isn't much in the way of 'security' in the traditional sense of the word. You can have a great month and then have a terrible month — that's just the way it is. So, quite often, musicians depend on live gigs as their main source of income, and supplement that with other things such as production, commercials, brand partnerships, etc.
Tell us about what to expect from your gig in Mumbai.
I'm really excited to play with the 2018 version of my band. We take a live, hands-on and improvised approach to playing my music — both old and new — and so it sounds quite fresh and unexpected [at least to me when we started rehearsing].
On Tonight, 9.30 pm to 1 am
At FLEA Bazaar Café, unit no 5, 1st floor, Trade View Building, Oasis City Complex, Pandurang Budhkar Marg, Lower Parel.
Log on to insider.in
Cost Rs 499
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