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The CMO who creates white collar rock and is strictly ‘contraband’

Krishnan Chatterjee is Chief Customer Officer Indian subcontinent at SAP by the day, while he jams with the members of his band called Contraband at night.

art and culture Updated: Sep 29, 2018 14:56 IST
Kabir Singh Bhandari
Kabir Singh Bhandari
Hindustan Times, Delhi
Krishnan Chatterjee,Brand Studio Live,HT Brand Leadership Series
Krishnan Chatterjee says his life is all about the work he does, which goes into manifesting the music he makes.

It’s not very often that you come across a CMO and marketing head who also happens to be the lead vocalist of a band by night- but that’s exactly the story of Krishnan Chatterjee . Chief Customer Officer and Head of Marketing Indian subcontinent at SAP by the day, he jams with the members of his band called Contraband at night. The band members are a mixed bag, varying from a 50-year-old CFO to a 28-year-old advertising professional.

Krishnan spoke at the Brand Studio Live, part of the HT Brand Leadership Series, an event hosted jointly by HT Brand Studio and DM Asia. The event, which brings together the brains behind the country’s top brands, is an annual property by Hindustan Times Digital Streams.

“What we create is white collar rock. Rock music is a blue collar phenomenon which was honed by people who rallied against the system. White collar is what basically controls the world, and we’re trying to change that system from within, hence the name is Contraband,” explains Krishnan.

Krishnan was also part of a show called CEO’s Got Talent. ( Youtube- CEO’s Got Talent )

The present work culture is such where people tend to spend more and more time in the office, Krishnan manages his work life balance pretty well. “My life is all about the work I do and all the things I learn on the go. All this goes into manifesting the music I make. So if I were to part ways with my work space and only do my music, I would end up with no material,” he says.

Krishnan has his roots in Kolkata, and like anyone from the City of Joy would tell you, his favourite hangout music joint is Someplace Else, Park Hotel, nested in the heart of the city. When in the capital, Krishnan prefers The Piano Man Jazz Club. He feels while Delhi certainly has more places to hang out, its Kolkata that echoes inspiration for original music.

“It’s difficult to survive solely on music, but ideally that should not be the driving force for this craft. For instance, the first song we released was called The Fisherman and the Banker. A banker meets a fisherman and tells him how and why he should expand his business, build more boats and make a factory. When the fisherman asks after all this what would he do, the banker replies, “Once you’ve made enough money, you can go fishing in Mexico in a boat.”

To which the fisherman says, “But I’m already doing that.”

On that cherishing note celebrating the power of innocence, we revisited the lyrics of the song Contraband,

Walked into work at a quarter past 9,

Don’t exactly know what we’re here to find,

Seems like another day flies out of hand,

It’s time we found contraband.

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First Published: Sep 29, 2018 14:56 IST