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HindustanTimes Sat,12 Jul 2014

Free downloads help bands

Nikhil Taneja, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, May 15, 2010
First Published: 12:39 IST(15/5/2010) | Last Updated: 12:54 IST(15/5/2010)
Just over a year after band Summit Attempt released its debut album, Blue Bugyal, to critical acclaim, it has put up all the tracks from the album for free download on its website, summitattempt.in.

Blue Bugyal is still on sale, so this step comes as a surprise. Quiz lead guitarist and frontman, Sumit Bhattacharya about it, and he chuckles, “We eventually realized that by putting the album for sale, we are limiting ourselves. Without promotion, the only people who buy the album are friends and acquaintances. Free downloads help bands reach a wider audience.”

Genreless band
The band has been fairly active on the gig circuit since its inception in 2007, and Bhattacharya reveals that most of the gigs have come out of “goodwill”. “We’ve sent the demos of our music to pubs, and they’ve seemed to like it, and that’s got us gigs across India,” he says.

The band’s music doesn’t fit into a genre, and is a mix of jazz, blues, country, alternative and soft rock, stemming from Bhattacharya’s  influences. That’s another reason why he prefers speaking through music than explaining the band’s genre to clubs. “A lot of time goes in explaining the genre,” he laughs. “I usually say gobbledygook like ‘it’s a digital hippie jam and fusion band’. It’s our own brand of music, but we let others slot it.”

Going back
Bhattacharya, who’s also the lead guitarist for Hindi rock band, Prayag, doesn’t find it difficult to split time between the two bands. “That’s probably because it’s really difficult to coordinate with my band members in Summit Attempt, since we are based in two different cities - Kolkata and Mumbai,” he says. “We’ve actually got more songs that the number of days we’ve practiced! The understanding comes from the fact that we all go back long way musically.”

The band also consists of Dwaipayan Saha on drums, Mainak Nag Chowdhury on bass and Sayantan Sengupta on guitars. Most of the music from its first album was instrumental, but now Rahul Guha Roy, from Cassini’s Division, has come on board as a vocalist.
Admits Bhattacharya, “This band is my soul system. I gave up music for five years in between, and I had become a completely different person!”

Sharing music
“I never thought of a band when I picked up the guitar again,” he continues. “I’m just lucky to have great musicians with me like Bumpy (Chowdhury), who has played with the likes of Pt Ravi Shankar. The music turned out great, so we had to share it with people.”

And ‘sharing’ is currently the motto of the band. The band’s new single, Mother is already online, and Bhattacharya reveals that the band will put up three more singles online soon. “We are not concerned about coming up with an album or an EP,” he says. “It’s similar to a trek for us. We start off on the journey, not knowing where we’ll reach. That’s why we call it Summit Attempt.”
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