Meet the Rockershttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/meet-the-rockers/

Meet the Rockers

Indie musicians,Swarathma and Prateek Kuhad Collective,represent two diverse ends of the folk rock sound spectrum.

On the independent music front,Swarathma and Prateek Kuhad Collective have been making their presence felt for quite some time now. While one hails from Bangalore,with awards,accolades and years of playing their mind and music,the other has just begun to find sound footing in the new wave of indie tunes. Although they both indulge in folk rock,their musical sensibilities find them at two ends of the sound spectrum. In town for their debut gig as part of the Red Bull bus tour at DAV College,Bangalore-based Swarathma and Delhi-based Prateek Kuhad Collective rocked the city on Wednesday evening.

Formed in 2002,Swarathma has been consistently involved with social messages through music. Be it Ghum which is based on child sexual abuse,Topiwalleh that takes a dig on the political scenario and corruption,Pyaasi in which they croon about the plight of the river Kaveri,or concrete jungles eating into green spaces in Patte Saare,this folk rock outfit has picked on a smorgasbord of issues and played them up with high energy. “It is important because I feel that music has the power to reach out to those people and places where a conversation is difficult to penetrate,” says the soft spoken lead vocalist,Vasu Dixit. He was joined by Pavan Kumar KJ (percussion and backing vocals),Varun Murali (lead guitar),Sanjeev Nayak (violin) and Jishnu Dasgupta (bass guitar and backing vocals) for the Wednesday gig.

Most of the band members,however,have been expected to have day jobs. “But music took over. Swarathma is our note from the soul,” says Dixit,adding how they were crystal clear in their vision when they started out. “It had to be original music,Hindi and Kannada,not covers. We chose folk rock because we love its philosophy. It is the music of the people,talks about things around us and no matter how insignificant or mundane,it still manages to lend depth and meaning to music,” says Dixit. Taking inspiration from Indian Ocean,Swarathma went on to win acclaim,but never lost sight of their purpose. “The band members in Indian Ocean told us-‘stop looking at your music as a struggle. It’s not easy,but you have to carry on till you achieve stability,for it’s all part of the process’,” says Dixit. The process has also taught them to stay grounded,which they think is another reason for their consistency.

Virtual world and music festivals have changed the way music is consumed,and the two bands couldn’t agree more. “They are the perfect spaces to showcase your talent,but one must also be aware that one can lose track because there are no bosses or timings or rules. No one’s really pushing you to deliver,” says Prateek Kuhad of the Prateek Kuhad Collective. This pop rock and folk band has been active since 2010 and has earned the distinction of one of the top five indie bands to watch out for. A New Delhi-based singer-songwriter,23-year-old Kuhad’s influences are eclectic and range from Nick Drake and Elliot Smith to Pearl Jam and Jimi Hendrix. “I’ve been playing and writing music for last seven years. Most of my influences have been the American blues,” says Kuhad,who prefers to go acoustic with meaningful lyrics to compliment the sound. Where Swarathma weaves in social commentary,Kuhad’s music is inclined towards love,life,experiences and relationships. “My music is more of an inward-outward journey,my dilemmas and reflections,” says Kuhad,who pens in English and Hindi,and made waves with numbers such as Raat raazi,Voh,Ab kya hoga,A shot of alcohol,Be at ease,Rubber bits and Fortuner-teller among others.