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Meet Pune’s college virtuosos composing their own ‘Rock On’ story

College students share the journey of their music bands and how they have moved from college festivals and performed at several venues in the city

pune Updated: Aug 05, 2018 16:25 IST
Anjali Shetty
Anjali Shetty
Hindustan Times, Pune
Members of Encore, a band from Symbiosis Centre for Management Studies, during a gig.(HT PHOTO)

On any given day in a college, as the lectures come to an end and students prep to leave the premise, one will notice a certain group that is still buzzing with energy. As students pack their bags to leave, this group unpacks their instruments and musical devices for practice. Meet the new-age college bands from the city who have learnt the technique of balancing academics and extra-curricular activities.

The Richman and Co.

Abhishek Chivukula, from the Richman and Company, also known as Richman and Co, a college band from Symbiosis Institute of International Business (SIIB), talks about music, moving out of their comfort zone and more. Formed in July 2013, the main genre the band performs are progressive rock, alternative rock, Vedic rock and a fusion of Bollywood and Western music.

Chivukula said, “Richman and Co is defined not by the people it is represented by, but by the opportunities and honour that those people receive. The band is not limited to a team of five or six, but of all those who once came together under this fraternity to fulfil their musical dreams and explore their creative talents. Founded in 2013, the band has hosted more than 30 musicians and has given them a chance to perform on bigger stages. Even today, the band consists of 16 very versatile musicians and singers. Most musicians in the band can play two or more instruments and are keen to explore their versatilities on stage.”

(Left) Richman and Co, a college band from Symbiosis Institute of International Business, has a main genre of progressive rock, alternative rock, Vedic rock and a fusion of Bollywood and Western music (HT PHOTO)

Viraj Joshi, student of MIT College of Engineering, is the lead guitarist of MIT Cultural. It is a two-decade-old band with members changing every time a new batch comes in. “We don’t have a specific band name, hence we go by MIT Cultural, which represents our cultural group. We have participated in serval events over the years and also played at local pubs and gigs,” said Joshi.

Feathers in Space is a duo, comprising Radhika Mohite and Darren D'Souza from Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts. They started the band in 2016 with their first gig at Where Else Cafe, Vimannagar.

Mohite said, “Since we met in college, we would just bring our instruments and jam in between classes for 15 to 20 minutes and have longer rehearsals after the classes for the particular day were done. We even recorded our extended play (EP) during our last semester. It was super hectic, but the process was definitely worth it.”

Darren D’Souza and Radhika Mohite of Feathers of Space of Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts (HT PHOTO)

Then there is Abhibyanjana Thatal, an individual artist who has recently released a single titled Groovy Girl and has performed in multiple venues in Pune and Sikkim.

Member of Encore, Yashasvi Katyayal of Symbiosis Centre for Management Studies, Pune, said, “We are members of a music club and feature around 20 of us who participate in several events and competitions.”

Finding time

Chivukula added, “Our classes are usually conducted from 9 am to 5 pm. So once we are all done with our classes, we stay back in college and rehearse till around 9 pm.”

It can be a task to find time between studying and other activities, however, Katyayal added, “We practice regularly and have jamming sessions every Saturday which are mandatory for everyone to attend. It is our passion towards music that keeps us going despite our rigorous schedule.”

Joshi added,“Time is tricky and we cannot practice during college hours, because we do make noise (laughs). So, we dedicate around two hours late in the evening when the classes are over.”

Exploring new avenues

Chivukula added, “Like mentioned above, we have performed at the Delloite competition (Maverick 2016), SIBM College fest Pune, PUMBA University and the Blue Frog, Pune. We have not been playing anywhere with a commercial agreement until now, but yes, in such cases we would charge after a certain discussion with a particular event or restaurant. We picked up some original compositions, such as ‘Duniyadaari’ in 2017 that was amalgamated into a blues-rock style of genre and also covered various numbers into rock and acoustic versions.

Radhika shared that the Swig performance in Koregaon Park was definitely a highlight. “The entire band was there, with our drummer Akshay Nathwani, bassist Mihir Oak and violinist Shardul Bapat, playing with us live. These are the musicians who have recorded on our EP and that was our last ever performance together as a band before Feathers in Space moved to the United Kingdom. We have performed at Raah cultural and art centre. Phoenix Market City, Swig in Koregaon Park and Elephant and Co. Our remuneration depends on whether it is just Darren and me playing or if we have our drummer, bassist and violinist playing with us.”

Joshi said, “On an individual level, we have performed at various venues in the city. However, we have noticed that not every one is open to amateur artistes.”

First Published: Aug 05, 2018 16:18 IST