City and Space: Music Edition | In conversation with Srishti Das
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 Srishti Das, who is a music business professional from Delhi/NCR. She has been around the music industry for almost a decade but professionally working in it for the last 3 years after she got her masters in Global Entertainment and Music Business from Berklee Valencia in 2016. Currently, she is working in Localisation and QA for upcoming Danish music streaming application called Moodagent, also helping out Azadi Records with expansion and as an active consultant for artists and music tech start-ups.
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?
"There are very few quality commercial spaces in the city that work in terms of safety, inclusion, quality music, and sound experience. Due to this, we are stuck with the very average venues in a specific area of the city. I do believe there are a lot of interesting commercial spaces around Delhi NCR. Through my last months staying in Noida, I have found that there are much larger venues here but it surely takes an effort to create and initiate a 'hip' space away from South Delhi where most people put the effort."
"As per non-commercial venues, I think they are all great for community building exercises but the question for me has always been, how are you using these community building exercises into sustaining the music industry?"
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?
"Commercial venues in Delhi like to go with music that revolves around “partying”. I find that dance music has really taken off in south Delhi which is the most progressive part of NCR and the rest loves the Punjabi & Bollywood music. Small intimate gigs have given rise to singer-songwriters, stripped back artists who really struggle to make it in the commercial space because it’s not 'party worthy'."
"There are a lot of untouched or not under-touched spaces in the city like Dhanmill Compound, warehouses in Faridabad border, art galleries in Shahpur Jat, MG Road, larger venues in Noida, etc. that I do believe could be used to grow and create inspiring musical experiences. However, the problem has always been circulating around licenses, permissions, and safety."
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 seems to be about dance music and party culture on the urban, more elite side and it has mostly been all about Punjabi music on the more localised side. Hip hop is a growing culture on the live circuit, both Punjabi hip hop as well as indie hip hop. However, that is a pan Indian trend currently."
"Delhi enjoys mainstream and commercial music more than anything else but the community that enjoys subcultural music is very strong because of companies like Boxout.fm, Azadi Records, Wild City, UnMute, etc. pushing through making alternative and urban genres more and more popular among the strong niche."
"A few years ago I would have said rock and metal are thriving because of college fests but that is no longer true in my eyes. It’s very rare that you can find a good rock gig. But the ones that take place, are jam-packed."
Any organisations you would like to mention which are creating this spark of the community through alternative experiences?
"Yes, boxout.fm and Wild City and also anyone that works in the dance music community. Also, hip hop artists like Yungsta, Sumit Roy and Azadi Records, I think they have built something that still definitely have a long way to go but it’s a slow process. They have all been persistent at creating a space for those who enjoy that music and the culture that the music embraces. All the promoters, booking agents, start-ups and even the artists have pushed through making it a small but strong community. It isn’t a question if they did it together or independently. The point is that it is slowly making an impact."
We would like to thank Srishti Das for her goodwill of being a part of this narrative and for being a wonderful individual in the music fraternity while she represents her city, Delhi | NCR.