City and Space: Music Edition | In Conversation with Girjashanker Vohra
Updated: Jun 27, 2019
The Multilogue Collective in collaboration with House Concert India is working on a research narrative based around 'City and Space'. For the initial story, we wanted to cover the music scene in different cities and ask a few questions to musicians, organizers, and supporters of original music in India.
We were glad to have a conversation with Girjashanker Vohra, whose background is largely from the world of cinema. He graduated from FTII (Film and Television Institute of India) Kolkata. He has been a production sound engineer for close to 15 years. Started with documentary films and then slowly expanded his repertoire to short films and television to full length feature films in Hindi and English.
He has also opened two performance venues/restaurants called Depot29 and Depot48, the former possibly being the revival of live independent music in Delhi. As the F(ood) and B(everage) space didn't allow for a lot of travel which is inherent to a production mixers job, he opened his first sound recording studio called Depot Records in South Delhi.
As an artist/musician/individual, what are your views on the ever-changing scenario for live gigs/concerts within the city and how performance spaces in your city have evolved for different kinds of music?
" For me, there is no greater joy than to watch a performance live. Delhi has seen a lot of change in the way it watches music. From the time that concerts or shows confined themselves to bars in fancy hotels and auditoriums of cultural centres and embassies, things have moved to more casual spaces - there are open-air venues and parks, shows in auditoria owned by the public or by private entities and finally performance venues which double up as bars and restaurants or vice versa. The latter is the most fun because one can curate all kinds of styles and languages without a filter on what's proper or not. So performances can range from Indian Classical to Jazz and Drag to Soukous. Of course, these are styles we curated at Depot29 and Depot48, and every genre has an audience. "
Place-making capitalizes on a local community's assets, inspiration, and potential, with the intention of creating public spaces that promote people's health, happiness, and well being.
What are your views/suggestions on the idea of music (any genre/any kind of artist - gigs/festival etc) as a place-making tool, to activate the public life and create a sense of community within a city?
"Music brings together more than just people, it brings together people who have a love or a fascination for what music does to them. It can't be explained, it can't be learnt, but all of us have it. Its exactly the same thing that food does to us. We all love it, we all need it and we are in the ruthless search for the perfect slice of Pizza!"
"For there to exist communities like the concept of placemaking we have to encourage more patronage of the arts. People have to come out and support the independent artists movement. There is a massive amount of talent in the city but spaces to promote these are few. Until we create spaces to nurture this talent communities wont be realised. Its a cycle which will feed each other."
Cities start getting a tag of the kind of 'music scene' it has established over the years or is now adapting to. How would define the music identity of your city? (You may talk about specific genres or in general.)
"Delhi is a city of many identities. As a result, there is a mystery associated with its food, its people, its locales. There is always something new around the corner. It is also a city of trends and many jumps onto the bandwagon to jump off soon enough. However the classics stay as they are and where they are - things to do places to meet the people you want to meet, places to eat, etc."
"Its also a city steeped in artists and art. A lot of it is sadly dying but replacing it, is a lot that is new. It's hard to top politics and the lavish parties at Amrita Shergill Marg with the latest happenings with PCRC or Chayan and Smiti! Happy to report that it stays alive because there is an audience for everything and hopefully this will prevail."
Any organisations you would like to mention which are creating this spark of the community through alternative experiences?
"There are a lot of spaces that are doing this in the city. However, no one is consistently pushing the narrative. Most ventures do not assure immediate returns. The idea is to support the artist and his art. The rest will follow. One cannot be narrow in one's thinking and get fazed by empty auditoriums. It is a journey that has gifts all along its path.
At Depot we attempt to encourage mixed art forms as well as music, theatre, poetry and the visual arts in a space that is casual, acoustically treated and where your complete attention to the performance is not an option but a necessity."
We would like to thank Girjashanker for being a part of this narrative and for being a wonderful individual in the music fraternity while he represents his city, Delhi.
You can connect with him at: