It’s a well-kept secret, but as soon as you pop the question, pat comes the reply. “We are not a ‘New Year band.’ This is the second time in our 20-year career that we have decided to play a gig on December 31,” the very candid Rahul Ram bemuses. For the bassist and vocalist of Indian Ocean, entertaining a ‘party only’ crowd to their previously considered ‘niche’ mellow sound, seemed quite unlikely.
But the band will play their second New Year’s Eve gig in the city at The Westin Mumbai Garden City. “We asked the organisers if they were absolutely sure they wanted us, and they seemed confident enough,” shrugs Ram, who is determined to pass on the catcalls and song requests from the audience to the other acts playing the evening.
Ram recalls their first New Year’s gig that the young Indian Ocean played nearly 20 years ago, on an outdoor terrace in Gurgaon, on a foggy night, pre-Bandeh (their biggest song) and Bollywood. “That time, because we were lesser known, it was a random gig. We politely fielded all song requests and stuck to our songs. I’m at least somewhat hopeful it won’t be the case this time around,” says Ram.
Ram, for that fact, is happy that the nation’s taste and knowledge for alternative music has changed. “Even Bollywood music has evolved, which is why we are exploring so much more. A lot of younger bands have grown to play Hindi rock and are following suit. Which is why I am perhaps more comfortable doing a gig like this,” he reasons.
So while Indian Ocean is planning to stick to their good old playlist for their last gig of the year, the band is hopeful of ringing in the New Year on a higher note. “It’s been a very interesting year for us,” says Ram.
Bring in the New Year with Indian Ocean live tonight at The Westin Mumbai Garden City. Call 67361020 for passes.