Soulmate, band that pioneered the blues music in India, share their experience of their recent performance with the French band Betty Argo and of their journey of becoming one of the greatest western music bands in India.
Tanvi: How was your experience of this tour with Betty Argo?
Rudy: Thanks to Alliance Française that they introduced us to this band. We had never heard of Betty Argo before, but it is always a pleasure to share the stage with a new band.
Tanvi: In a country like India where Bollywood songs have the most fan following and commercial value, how have you managed to carve a niche for yourself?
Tips: It doesn't matter whether it is Bollywood or western music. All that matters is the love and the dedication we put into our music and the people can see that in us, in our lyrics and our music. Also, our music is very simple. Its simplicity makes it easier for people to learn to enjoy it. That's the reason why we are popular.
Rudy: We are simple people. We are not bringing down any other kind of music but people like simple things and easier things to grasp which has made us popular.
Tanvi: Is this simplicity the reason you make music in the blues genre?
Rudy: See, blues originated in America from the times when slavery was thriving there. It has feelings of pain, suffering and sorrow. But now, it is a dying art form. We are passionate about blues, we love it. We made it a point to propagate it. A lot of people play music like rock, hard rock, metal but they don't know that these art forms originate from the blues. Like Willie Dixon says it "The Blues is the roots, the rest is the fruits."
Tanvi: You have been to several countries for performances, especially the International Blues Challenge (IBC), how different is the reaction of a foreign crowd from that of an Indian audience?
Tips: It's an honour for us to go and be part of such events. Just being there enlightens you. IBC is like the mecca of blues, being with people who do what you do is motivating. Of course, since we are from India, people didn't expect much, but we blew them away. They said that our soul is from the Mississippi deltas.
Tanvi: Does the western music scene in India, especially when you compare it with western countries, motivate you to improve it or do something for it?
Rudy: I think I can say without being pompous that Soulmate has done its part in promoting western music, especially blues in India because when we started off, blues scene was non-existent in India, but we changed it, now many bands as part of their repertoire have blues also written in front of them. And we are very happy because we want more blues bands to come up since there are many blues listeners in India but very few bands that cater to their needs.