Over the span of 6 years, I have played quite a few gigs with Pangea and have been part of the crew for a number of musicians/bands. However, nothing feels the same when you’re preparing to perform at your first solo gig. You start wondering if people would accept your music. I imagined everyone walking out in the middle of my set and friends ignoring me after I was done with my set only cause they didn’t wanna tell me how bad it was. I tried my best to keep such negative feelings aside and just concentrating on putting up a show that I would be satisfied as being the first one and which will also lay the foundation for future performances. I was very nervous 2 weeks before the gig but I had put in a lot of hours practicing my set and felt quite relaxed a few days before.
REProduce Listening room is an initiative by music collective REProduce Artists. The series aims to fill a gap in the ever iterating and increasingly varied community of live music in India by showcasing talent that might not get heard in the more mainstream oriented venues. Listening Room will focus purely on the music – in a space where an audience can absorb sound on their own terms.
This was the first time this happened in Pune and it was at this beautiful space called TIFA Working Studios. It is an alternative education platform for the arts. TIFA was created to innovate within and outside of the existing educational ecosystem in India to provide creative solutions to fellow institutions, art organizations and cultural communities. Abandoned architectural structures fascinate me so I fell in love with the space the second I entered the building. TIFA resides in a 1910’s Art Deco style hotel. It has a unique layout, where they are interlinked, thus, provide for fluid interaction of areas and association between artists. The architecture reveals small surprises: the nook under the stairs, the wooden bridge on the top floor and the empty elevator shaft swishing in light at every level.
Rana Ghose who was handling this entire event told me to move around the space and select the room that resonated with me the most. Every artist would have a dedicated room with their entire setup. There were 2 floors. People had to follow the sound and find the artists during their performance. I had a very comfortable sound check. The Bose PA system that we had (L1 Model 2) was probably the best I have played on. They are perfect for my type of music and I am definitely getting the compact version of these once I save up some money. They are worth every penny.
The gig started around 5:30pm. There were performances by United Machines, Seasound, Jamblu, Kumail collaborated with Cosmic Attic and I was really bummed that I missed their set cause they performed right before mine and I was too nervous to go anywhere, Donn Bhat, Hemant K and Paraphoniks collaborated with harpist Nush Lewis.
The experimental music scene in the country is in its absolute nascent stage and days like these are going to be remembered as ones that laid the foundation for this movement. It felt good to see people paying so much attention to the music. Less chatter, more observation. I think every musician that came out of TIFA experienced a feeling that is hard to describe. Its very rare to have gigs where sponsor logos are not staring at you from all corners of the wall, the music is not blanketed by the sound of people having loud conversations and musicians are sticking around for the whole event and supporting the scene.
For me it was a day I will remember for a very long time. The room that I performed in was really dark so during my set I had no clue whether people were liking what they were listening to. These thoughts were constantly running in my head but then I decided to just go for it and do my thing. The applause at the end of the set was really rewarding. The hours I put into the set after work and on holidays all seemed worth it at that very moment. Performing in Pune was an experiment to judge how people would react to my music and the response was more than welcoming. Would love to have a similar audience in my hometown. Check out some photos from the beautiful day that it was below.