No sajnas and maahis, no skimpily clad girls gyrating to item numbers, no in-your-face bling bang theory, no boys rapping about the hood — when it comes to true indie music, the boys from rock outfit ‘The Local Train’, ride on a, well, a different train of thought. In Chandigarh recently for a concert at the Elante Mall, the four-member band which was founded in Chandigarh and is based out of Delhi now, call themselves the ‘dent’ in the independent.
“Because what started out as a small music band has now made quite a ripple effect,” says its bass guitarist Ramit Mehra. Playing for the last four years, The Local Train went viral with their single Choo Lo in 2013. Soon more singles like Aaoge Tum Kabhi and Kaisey Jiyun made their impact in 2014. Now, the band is touring 15 cities with their debut album, Aalas ka Pedh (The Tree of Laziness), and hit tracks like Bandey and Yeh Zindagi Hai.
“For us, it has always been about breaking the stereotypes, of putting the Hindi in indie and making original music,” says Mehra, calling his band very much a ‘Hindie’ rock group. With thumping beats, catchy guitar riffs and sink-in melodies, the band makes its point to keep it Indian and rooted.
“The idea is to produce something that is meaningful yet experimental at the same time, and Aalas Ka Pedh is exactly that,” adds Mehra. The title, interestingly, derives its root from their own ‘laziness’ and ‘procrastination’ in releasing an album.
“We’ve been putting this on the back-burner for so long, but it’s out now. There are nine tracks, songs written over the years and some recently,” says Mehra.
With Raman Negi on vocal, Paras Thakur on lead guitar, Sahil Sarin on drums, and Mehra on bass guitar, The Local Train, avoid parties and weddings. “Because we just can’t play requests…that’s why college events and corporates work for us for there are serious listeners of independent music,” feels Mehra.
Where music festivals like NH7 Weekender and Sunburn are the venues for indie music, Mehra and the group prefer to escape it and focus on the next level. “For instance, the thing Rahul Ram of Indian Ocean is doing…music with stand-up comedy. This is something I want to try,” says Mehra.
In the meantime, he can feel the change in the air, of increasing venues and channels of music, the rise of Internet, and demand for diverse sounds. “This trend of live music, of audiences switching from Bollywood to indie sounds, is a good sign. This is how band culture comes up,” he gives it a thumbs up.