City and Space: Music Edition | In Conversation with Tej Brar
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 Tej Brar, who is the founder and director of Third Culture Entertainment. He has been part of the music industry for nearly a decade now and he is convinced that they're at a crucial turning point right now. Between the bubbling underground music, the recent internet accessibility and the very young population, he believes they're hurtling towards a paradigm shift across all aspects of the music industry.
He is based out of Bombay and thinks that it's an incredibly dynamic city, musically. He believes it speaks for itself when people look at the variety of artists that crop up each year. While it's the city that houses the behemoth that is Bollywood, it seems to inspire more and more people to explore beyond the mainstream and find their own niche, whether it’s pop, rap, electronica or techno; each boundary is constantly being pushed and people are seeing some truly great acts come through.
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?
"I could go on for days about the chronic lack of performance spaces and performance-related legislature and infrastructure in this country, which remains a daily struggle, but that’s been done to death. I’d rather focus on the way the music community has adapted to those challenges. Whether it’s using more unconventional venues, like movie studios and abandoned warehouses, or by downsizing and moving the acoustic shows into people’s living rooms, the community is constantly innovating and that’s worthy of all the support and praise they get."
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?
"I think music will always be a powerful place-making tool. There’s a primal human tendency to gravitate towards music, especially if it resonates with you. People will follow the music and businesses will follow the people. It’s a balance we have to perfect on a daily basis since it’s an interdependent ecosystem. But the creation of these intimate spaces for the community where music and people can intersect is going to remain vital and they can be tremendously rewarding to the community, if harnessed well."
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.)
"Bombay remains a rather dynamic city musically. It’s had some incredible talent emerge across genres and every day, there’s dozens more crafting a sound that is uniquely their own. So I don’t think any city can claim a certain kind of musical identity because the minute a certain genre or sound saturates the market like that, the bubble will pop and people will gravitate to a new sound."
Any organisations you would like to mention which are creating this spark of the community through alternative experiences?
"I believe there are great examples everywhere you look. From the festivals like Magnetic Fields, to grassroots advocates like Boxout.FM, there’s the same spark that unites each one; a sense of community and bringing people together through music."
We would like to thank Tej for being a part of this narrative and for being a wonderful individual in the music fraternity while he represents his city, Bombay. You can connect with him here: