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Trading textbooks for guitars

mumbai Updated: Apr 15, 2013 01:35 IST
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Ankit Dayal, a city college student, never expected to achieve fame through a singing competition, but when Something Relevant, a well-known band, saw potential in him, they asked him to form his own group and perform for the Bandstand Revival Festival.

“I asked my close classmates about it, and that is where the story of our band Spud In The Box began,” he said. Two years later, the team is flying high, with an EP (a music recording) released in January and many other accolades in its kitty.

An increasing number of college students are collaborating to form bands of their own, thanks to the slew of opportunities available nowadays. Nikhil Hemrajani, owner of Sitara Studios, Lower Parel, said, “These days, there are more venues and facilities compared to what there were five years ago. This is encouraging college bands to perform. Even popular tastes have matured and people are now receptive to genres other than Bollywood and Western pop music.”

Besides new venues, the media is also aiding the development of independent music with shows like Coke studio and Channel V Launchpad and certain Bollywood films. Akshay Gite, the bass guitarist of the Mumbai based-progressive metal band, Petrichor said, “Winning Launchpad last year gave us a great platform, especially since most of us are still in college.”

Clince Varghese, the lead vocalist of What’s In The Name said, “Movies like ‘Rock On!’ have helped to create a huge market due to the evolution of how people define Bollywood music.” Most bands also use social media or their own websites to promote themselves.

However, this culture of startup bands by college students still faces teething problems. Faraz Sohail, lead vocalist of Wajood, said, “There are constraints like funding problems among bands since students, apart from studies, are working to support their band.”