Imagine DJ Nucleya’s EDM album, Bass Rani, without instruments. Home-grown beatboxing and a capella band, Aflatunes, did just that, and it went viral.
In September last year, DJ Nucleya (Udyan Sagar) launched his album, Bass Rani, from atop a truck during ganesh visarjan in Mumbai. A procession of the most random people — EDM fans, hipsters who are otherwise too cool for a ganesh procession, and people who didn’t know who this ‘Nucleus’ or ‘Nuclear’ was — followed the truck through the streets of south Mumbai.
A set of friends who heard the album a few days later, were blown away by it. They decided to do a cover version in their own way. The friends in question make up the eight-member beatboxing and a capella band, Aflatunes, and covering it meant using only vocal sounds to mimic sounds created by musical instruments. After three months of work on it, the band released Afla - Rani, a medley of tracks from Bass Rani, on YouTube last week.
The vocal range of the album was the biggest challenge for the band. Anish Nair (30), who handles the bass section, says, “It goes from the lowest of low frequencies to the highest of the high. Picking different parts of eight songs into one song was a task too.”
The band was also careful to not let their cover sound artificial or auto-tuned. “It was a circus in the studio,” laughs member Navarun Roy (25). Different members from the band tried out the same melody or percussive part to see who could get it right. Aflatunes also collaborated with YouTube sensation Shraddha Sharma (singer) and rapper Enkore for the songs Laung Gawacha and Jungle Raja, respectively.Watch Mumbai-based beatboxing and a capella band, Aflatunes, at an impromtu jam session.
The members, all of whom are “huge Nucleya fans”, started the hashtag #LetNucleyaKnow on social media, to catch his attention. They were suitably rewarded when the man himself tweeted his appreciation of the cover, calling it pure fire.
Afltatunes has, in the past, remixed Bollywood songs like Sar Jo Tera Chakraye and Ben E King’s (late American singer) Stand By Me. “We are one of the few a capella bands that make improv compositions on stage. People shout out words to us. The vocalists make random songs from it and we add the beats,” says Roy.
The band promises some original compositions now, in the next four to five months.
Follow the channel ‘Aflatunes’ on YouTube to watch Afla – Rani and keep a track of their latest songs.