In less than two years of its formation, city band Spud In The Box has established itself as one of the most promising acts in Mumbai’s independent music circuit. The band came together when Jai Hind College students Ankit Dayal (vocals, guitar) and Rohan Rajadhyaksha (vocals, keyboard) decided to take their acoustic act to the next level. Soon, other members joined. The band’s current line-up includes Hartej Sawhney and Siddharth Talwar (guitars), Joshua Singh (drums) and Zubin Bhathena (bass).
Since 2011, they’ve achieved things that most upcoming bands dream of: playing at a big music festival (last year they performed at NH7 Weekender), sharing stage with an international artiste (they opened for Norah Jones in March), releasing original music (they launched their EP, Attention Please, earlier this year) and clinching award nominations (GIMA 2013). In this interview, Dayal talks about why, despite academic commitments, music matters more to them.
What courses are your band members pursuing?
Hartej Sawhney is in his final year of BA in History at Jai Hind College. Rohan is also in his third year. Our youngest and newest member, Joshua is in FYBCom.
When you guys started out, did you foresee this kind of success?
Honestly, our first few gigs in 2011 were very sudden and we didn’t really think about how the crowd would respond; we were just trying to put together a decent show. Of course, the response over the last year from the public as well as established musicians has been simply overwhelming; we’re grateful for that. But we know we’ve got a long way to go to. So, right now, we’re working as hard as we can.
What projects are you working on currently?
We just finished a campaign with Cadbury in August, which was great fun. Ever since we got back to gigging in the last week of July, we’ve played at roughly 12 gigs across Mumbai, Pune, Karjat and Delhi. So even though no official tour has happened, we're looking to gig extensively for the rest of the year. Talks of a North East tour are also on.
How do you guys juggle music and academics?
Through supreme organisational skills and time turners! Kidding! We’re sloppy and lazy. We knew quite early on that we wanted to take this band seriously, and it didn’t take much for us to start prioritising it over our academics (much to the displeasure of teachers and some parents). But when we started getting recognition and the scale of our gigs started growing, our parents and teachers became supportive too. For us, this is our future career. We’re still struggling with scheduling gigs around exams and college events, but the stress levels are minimal since we’re clear on our priorities. This is what we do, and there’s nothing else we’d rather be doing.
Any message to college bands who want to perform and make music independently?
There will be struggle and, of course, endless funny looks from relatives who will keep asking you what your career plans are.