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Taken from RadioandMusic (Dec 19, 2016)

The only formula to stay is to focus on reinventing and evolve with time- a tete-a-tete with Midival Punditz, Karsh Kale, Raghu Dixit

by Jigar Ganatra

MUMBAI: It was around 9 pm on a pleasant Mumbai evening and many well suited guests were waiting for the much awaited Blenders Pride Fashion Tour to begin.

The audience was attending the event not only for designer Manish Arora who is admired for his work, but also for the eminent independent artists performing this year - including some like Raghu Dixit who were on the ramp for the first time. The world is aware about his unique style of presenting himself with his songs, but this time along, he was taking his brand a step ahead, by collaborating it with MIDIval Punditz and Karsh Kale, who have been associated with the designer and his shows for a much longer time now.

After a long wait, Dixit, Kale and Punditz walk in for the interview, glasses of wine in hand. The collaboration is naturally high on the agenda. Tapan Raj (from MIDIval Punditz) puts it, “Working with Manish Arora is always fun as there is a lot of drama involved with it and it helps our music and benefits our professional relationship.” Raghu, the first timer at such an event, is quick to add, “This is my first time ever and the best part of my BPFT 2016 experience was working with friends who present music in a different genre. We have performed together earlier, but have never worked on such a set. I was alert throughout but enjoying every beat of it. This was not planned. I was sent the track and was asked to write the songs at the moment, plus I had no rehearsals.”

It is always a treat to watch when eminent performers collaborate and open the show with such extravagance. This has been happening for a few years now. Over the last few years, after a lull, we have seen the indie music scene grow at a fast pace. With platforms and mediums being available for artists today, artists are able to find suitable collaborations. Adding to the thought, Karsh says, “The collaboration is happening because of the demand and the audience. We have surely seen a lull for a while, but the generation today is open to experimentation, appreciates good music, and wants more new music on a regular basis. The only formula to stay is to focus on reinventing and evolving with time.”

Times are changing and with multiple doors opening for budding artists, the ones who are established are also looked upon as mentors. The artists make a valid point by saying that in a developing scenario today, only the performers who do not use the formula and don’t follow the normal trajectory are looked up to. We all are aware that growth is key for everyone’s career and that shall only happen if the musicians today get bored before the audience gets bored. Unfortunately, the only drawback is evolving, which makes us believe that experimentation and presenting different characters is missing.

Adds Raghu, “Today, an artist should grow beyond being just an advertisement. When I started, we did not have the internet. Word of mouth was the only way of finding more work. Digital has accelerated growth today, but there are many factors that the artists are unaware of. They are making work and uploading it on different platforms, but sadly, they are not able to market it well. The real test is if they interest the audience at a LIVE event. Every artist has to go through the rocky road. Impressing the audience and keeping up the rapport plays a significant role. Further, artists today should be able to convey the story, their work and that as always is an exciting piece of work to watch.”

So, how will these artistes evolve in the future? Karsh and Tapan look at each other and burst out laughing, asking if they looked like the ones who planned. “(laughing) We are looking forward to collaborations. We aren’t planning anything, but we are constantly encouraging each other to evolve and try something new.”

On the other hand, Raghu’s words reflect his happiness and satisfaction with this year’s progress. “We did 138 concerts this year and our gigs at New York and California were the best. On the day of the show, we had to turn away some of the audience in New York. To see that happening on foreign soil is incredible. We have truly made a mark there as the audience was singing along. My songs have reached across the oceans after 15 years of hard work. I believe I’m living the best life right now...

..and as far as evolving is concerned, today was a great moment of ideation. I thought why not use electronic in the live set and give a different dimension to my music. We’ll keep the folk element alive, but expand the possibilities.”


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