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Anand Bhaskar Collective

The ABC’s of Anand Bhaskar Collective

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Meet ABC - Anand Bhaskar Collective, a Band producing Hindi Pop Music With Distorted Guitars. Rock & Roll at epicenter, they're  musicians who want to be both commercially and critically successful. With a surprise studio offering titled ‘Samsara’ in 2014, Anand Bhaskar Collective rapidly became a staple diet for independent rock and Hindi-rock consumers in their home country, India. The quintet describes themselves as ‘Hindi Pop with distorted guitars’ and have only grown in aspiration and soundscapes with the passage of time. Band members Shishir Tao (Drums & Percussion) and Neelkanth Patel (Bass) are known for maintaining an airtight rhythm section while Hrishi Giridhar (Guitar) deftly back Anand Bhaskar’s herculean vocal deliveries on studio as well as live performances.

Inspired by heavyweights like Alter Bridge, Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam, The Local Train, Thaikkudam Bridge, the Band mostly spends time producing new tracks and learning new production techniques or new piano chords. 

Anand Bhaskar Collective

Armed to the Teeth

They have a Macbook, an RME Baby Face Pro for an interface, A G Drive Thunderbolt Hard Drive for libraries. An Arturia Keylab Essentials 61 MIDI Keyboard, Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro Headphones and Circle Pro Audio SM8 Monitors. And as being the official brand ambassadors of Circle Pro Audio, ABC is powered with various kinds of gear like mics and monitors and their stage performances with IEM beltpacks, mics and wireless units for our instruments.

Tell us something about your new EP "Ufaq". Inspiration behind the name and the project.

Nearly 2 years ago, Hrishi Giridhar, our guitarist, joined the band, and it was like the whole style of music underwent a paradigm shift. I’m not musically educated, meaning I have zero understanding of music theory. Hrishi and Neel on the other hand are quite well versed with it. Hrishi has an amazing understanding of guitar tones and is so adept at incorporating the most beautiful voicings to any song that we immediately started sounding more mature. We started sounding a lot cleaner (sound-wise) on stage as well. Evidently this new found direction influenced the way we wrote music, without really losing the essence of what makes the ‘ABC sound’. This was us embarking on a journey to a new horizon. And Ufaq is an Urdu word for ‘horizon’. The EP is our third offering as a band and will feature four songs. Main Hoon Zameen: This was released on 31st March 2020! Go check it out right now! Jaadoogari and Ufaq (the title track). but Dholaa feat. Mame Khan - This is the first time we’ve written a folk-rock song, and we’re nervous and excited in equal measures about this. (This is also our first ever collaboration.)

You're a rock band, Hindi vocals, were there any social stigma to accepting the concept back when you set foot in the industry/market?

Honestly speaking we only came into existence in 2015, and there were scores of Hindi Rock Acts before us. So technically speaking, there wasn’t a ‘stigma’, however, there used to be this strong preconceived ‘uncool’ notion about bands that sang in Hindi, as if it were not something cool/hip people would do, but not so much anymore. Bands like Parvaaz, The Local Train, Agam, Thaikkudam Bridge have been such big influences in the regional language Rock scenario that it was bound to catch on. I mean come on, we’re a country of a billion and half people, and nearly half of those are more comfortable in languages of their own, or Hindi. And let’s not forget the stellar success Bloodywood has been enjoying. Playing at ‘Wacken’ is no joke, not to mention so many other European metal festivals. 

What got you into this genre?

We’ve all grown up to rock music. I for one have always been in bands ever since I was old enough to form bands. And the sound of ‘rock music’ appeals to me the most because it just has this unparalleled energy that simply cannot be replicated by other forms of music. So it was just a natural direction for me to take when producing music, and thereafter forming the band. 

How would you compare the challenges in releasing an album today compared to 2014?

Honestly, releasing an album is NOT a challenge. Spreading awareness about HOW to release an album is a challenge. How to promote that album is a challenge. How to support it with a tour is a challenge.

In 2019, 365000 people from over 76 countries streamed your music. How did this feat sink in?

Honestly we didn’t even know our music was streamed so many times in a single year alone. It naturally felt good, but at the same time we realised that this number isn’t large enough to generate revenue, and at the end of the day, the band’s got to make money as well. So that realization kept us grounded, we felt amazing, but also felt that we need that number to reach millions for it to really mean something.

Anand Bhasker Collective

How does India perform in this genre compared to European or American competition?

India still has a long way to go if we’re talking about rock music. But bands from India are constantly traveling abroad and playing their music to people who don’t understand the language but still enjoy their music to the hilt! And that’s something we should focus on. Small international tours that give bands like us and even artistes from other genres more visibility. But it all boils down to numbers and how much you’re willing to invest in a tour like this.

 

How has the struggle been so far to your current standings?

It has been interesting to say the least. When Samsara was out, I had to personally write to at least 5000 or more people over Social Media and over email, and literally everybody that mattered in the independent music scene didn’t care much about the album, some even calling it ‘dated’ and ‘obscure’ and ‘too heavy’. From then to now, getting playlisted across major streaming platforms, being synced with reputed web series and playing some of the biggest festivals in the country makes us feel vindicated. It makes us realize that when you set forth to realize a vision, the biggest roadblock is the first wave of demotivation, because it IS the strongest. For some reason, people only want to work with people who’ve made themselves or who have numbers to show on Social Media. Nobody wants to work with an artiste that’s starting out or even evaluate them for whatever potential they may or may not have. Hopefully these things will change. 

 

Is the path ahead more struggling or does it get better from here? 

The struggle is financial more than anything else. As bandmates we’re like family. We are all highly opinionated individuals, and may not always agree on things all the time, but we’re subconsciously always aware of not losing sight of the common goal, which is the band’s growth. So far we’ve invested nearly everything we have earned into producing new music and music videos. We’ve approached labels and have been told we’re not ‘commercial enough’, when it’s easy to understand that marketing anything, well, can make it commercially successful. 

 

How are the psychological rewards in this career you have chosen?

Man, I won’t lie. There have been days when you see some of the music out there and go ‘Is my music worse than that?’, because you see these bazillion views on something that even a 5 year old could’ve written better and it makes you think that you’ve been wasting your time all this while. But you know what, when you play a show, and when 5000 people turn up and sing every song you’ve ever written word for word, it all goes away! It makes you realize that yeah, this isn’t as easy as so many other things, but it’s still worth every second! 

Anand Bhaskar Collective

How does India perform in this genre compared to European or American competition?

India still has a long way to go if we’re talking about rock music. But bands from India are constantly traveling abroad and playing their music to people who don’t understand the language but still enjoy their music to the hilt! And that’s something we should focus on. Small international tours that give bands like us and even artistes from other genres more visibility. But it all boils down to numbers and how much you’re willing to invest in a tour like this.

 

Your guitarist was tested positive for COVID 19, how did the band come to terms with the news?

Well, we were initially concerned, but he got back to normal like within a few days of admission and is now back home. So everything is cool. 

 

Which is your dream label?

Honestly speaking none right now. And if we were to sign with a label, it needs to be one that’s ready to invest in us in terms of wealth and effort. Otherwise the whole exercise is pointless. 

 

What’s coming up for you down the road?

Well our next EP ‘Ufaq’, a few music videos and the EP after that which we’ve not named yet.

 

Well, thank you once again for spending time with us, giving us valuable insight into your career. We wish you all the very best of luck in your endeavors. See you soon at a Concert.

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