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Nucleya, Spud In The Box: Artistes combine art with music at live shows

Many Mumbai-based artists are working with musicians like Nucleya to create exclusive art for their shows. We find out why the concept is a hit.

art and culture Updated: Oct 24, 2016 07:56 IST
Akshata Shetty
Akshata Shetty
Hindustan Times
Nucleya,Spud In The Box,Dualist Inquiry
A rig designed for Nucleya’s performance at Dome, NSCI, Worli, Mumbai.(Nishant Matta)

Picture this. You walk into a venue on a regular gig night, expecting a band to belt out some music. That’s what you came for, right? But instead, as the musicians perform, you also spot some artwork that has been used to complement the show. In effect, the venue transforms into a space where music inspires art, and art inspires music.

Artists and musicians have been collaborating for gigs for some time now. While music festivals like Burning Man (Nevada, USA), have art installments at the venue, Indian events such as NH7 Weekender, Enchanted Valley Carnival, Supersonic, and big artistes like The Raghu Dixit Project, Dualist Inquiry and Nucleya, among others, have always married art and music together during their performances. Many Mumbai-based musicians have recently started exploring this trend to bring something unique to the audiences.

Singer Raghu Dixit included puppets in his live performance. (Akshata Shetty)

Creative Collaborations

Recently, alternative rock band Spud In The Box launched their debut album Lead Feet Paper Shoes with an arty twist. Each track in the album had a corresponding photograph, and all the pictures were tied together and displayed on the stage. Elaborating on the concept, freelance photographer Parizad D, who played a key role in the execution of the idea, says, “The idea was to bring a character, which the album is based on, to life. In the character’s story, we touched upon various themes, one of the prominent ones being the element of duality. We used various motifs in the artwork to exemplify this.” Parizad adds that artists Sumer Mehta (The Harbour Press) and Ayesha Kapadia (KometJuice) worked “tirelessly” on the project along with the band. Also, artists Zarwan Elavia and Johan Pais (Anything Metal Works), made metal hands for the show, which were placed on the stage as well. “They plastered the walls with giant eyes, suspended notes from the ceiling and converted some space on the stage into the character’s room,” says Parizad.

A cube designed by Transhuman Collective. (PepsiMTVIndies/Facebook)

Similarly, Swapnil Rao, Soham Sarkar and Snehali Shah, of Transhuman Collective, worked with drummer and music producer Aditya Ashok for a music show at Sitara Studio, Lower Parel, a few months ago. “We designed a cube, which was made out of plywood. We painted it white and hung it on the stage with the help of fish strings,” says Swapnil. The visuals were projected in such a way that it synced with Aditya’s music.

A Dual Treat
Live performances are fun to attend, and when you add something to make them more engaging, it is always a win-win situation. For instance, when Dualist Inquiry used a rig, designed especially for his live performances, his fans loved it. Tej Brar, artiste manager, Only Much Louder, says, “Sahej Bakshi aka Dualist Inquiry is a true artist. His artistic sensibility extends beyond music. To build on this identity, and to give fans the best experience, we decided to build the rig. In doing so, we were able to immerse the fans into the world of Dualist Inquiry and provide them with a visual accompaniment to the music.” Brar says they used the Dualist Inquiry logo as the top section of the rig. They also projected visual content on the rig, which had been specifically designed for the tour.

Artwork created for the Spud In The Box album launch in Mumbai. (Sukrit Nagaraj)

Following suit was Nucleya, who recently performed to a packed audience at the Dome, NSCI, in Worli. The rig at his show was designed for the performance, and his album’s art was projected on the rig. However, it is important for the visual artist to blend his or her style with that of the music they are trying to represent. “Artistes are pushing the envelope when it comes to delivering an experience that goes beyond just great music. It makes a show more special, and that’s helpful in keeping the evermore audience engaged,” says Nikhil Udupa, partner, Control ALT Delete.

Watch: Nucleya’s album launch in Mumbai

Space is all you need

Even the venues that hosts gigs which combine music and art believe such shows have a lot of character. “Music is a form of art, and we always believe in showcasing all forms of art,” says Sumit Vaswani, culture manager, Social. “We encourage artists to experiment with the venue, as it’s a flexible space, and we’re always happy to see collaborations. An indoor space without furniture can be used as a blank canvas efficiently,” he adds. Rao, meanwhile, hopes more people and venues take the effort to explore this concept.

First Published: Oct 24, 2016 07:54 IST