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5 Underground Music Concepts That You Will See More In 2018

features Jan 02, 05:26pm

What did underground music concepts learn from 2017? What do they have to offer in 2018? This article sheds a light on the concepts that have not only grown but improvised in the previous calendar year.
 Photo Courtesy: boxout.fm

An ‘alternative’ to the alternative music approach found a lot of promoters in 2016, and the idea covered a lot of ground the following year. Off-beat initiatives, non-commercial spaces and emphasis on DIY gradually became the ‘requirements’ to drive the idea into execution. In 2017, a few concepts shut shops, however others – as listed here – not only continued to exist, but experimented and grew further only to find themselves once again pursuing the same at the start of 2018.



Sofar Sounds



Sofar Sounds celebrated its first anniversary in May 2017. The London-based concept quickly found cities that can replicate and extend the vibe and the essence to its respective communities and music fraternity. Although Bombay hosted its first Sofar Sounds gig in 2016, a few more Indian cities programmed more often this year, signaling the inevitable rise in interest towards gigs with intimate unique settings. For Sofar Sounds Bombay, its city lead Arul Kacker picks three highlights from the calendar year – “In May, we did two shows on consecutive days to celebrate our anniversary – The F16s, Cowboy and Sailor Man, Dhruv Visvanath on the first whereas Kumail, Gurpreet Chana and Tejas on the second day.” A structured set of possibilities and analysis leads to narrowed down curated list from over a 1000 artists and acts that annually show interest in performing at one of the Sofar venues. Sofar Sounds gig, emphasizes Kacker, will continue to host on the monthly basis across its community in India, however there are preliminary plans to increase the volume to two shows per month. A collaboration with sister cities, among others, will find a place in Sofar Sounds India’s 2018 calendar. One such association occurred towards the end of the year, when Sofar Sounds moved beyond its identity of intimate settings inside a house, studio or a terrace to another intimate setting on a grander scale, thanks to Sassoon Docks. Given the nature of Sofar Sounds gigs, the hustling electronic music scene of Bombay does act as not a huge advantage in terms of programming. For a country like India, that still largely hesitates to pay for live music, Sofar Sounds’ pay-what-you-want approach did the trick initially in creating the necessary buzz however, similar to a few cities who have already stepped onto the direction, Sofar Sounds India may formalize a uniform ticketing structure and rate for all the venues in 2018.









A community-run platform to dig deeper and extract further from the alternative music scene, an online radio station was born. Called boxout.fm, the station stepped into live music soon with weekly and monthly engagements at clubs and cultural spaces that would complement its ambitions. Boxout.fm quickly created a niche and week after week hosted small-scale gig that catered to electronic music community through emerging or established producers and DJs. The regular suspects of live venues for electronic music associated with boxout and their complementing identities helped the cause further. Of all the emerging concepts focusing on that genre, boxout.fm’s rise has been fascinating as the platform does not shy away from hosting relatively lesser known producers from the corners of the country.









Born in Delhi, thanks to the city’s soundscape, Kerplunk clearly had a set of options that could have kept its programming team occupied for an entire year. However, despite considering the hardships that arrive with lack of associations with corporate brands, the Qrated presented IP kept the rules extremely basic. The concept programmed bands that demanded a bit more than intimate settings. Choosing gate-entry as its only form of revenue, one needs to sit back and applaud the efforts essential to execute gigs on such a consistent basis. Despite the pool of talent that exists in the city, Kerplunk chose to travel. Kerplunk has to managed not only survive for multiple editions done so far, but similar to Unscene, has strengthened further with ‘loyal’ fan-base finding the initiative’s programming more tempting than what previous promoters had to offer.





Reproduce Listening Room



No other concept has allowed upcoming producers, rappers, acts and DJs exploit a stage with genuine desire to showcase their talent in 2017 as Reproduce Listening Room. Formed as an artist agency in 2013 under ‘Reproduce Artists’, the entity did not bluff about its intentions or goals. The emphasis was simple: to provide the stage to raw talents that deserve exposure and honing. 2017 also marked the geographical expansion of Listening Room Sessions to cities beyond the usual circuit. Among the new additions in the Reproduce live gigs were Leh, Ahmedabad, Baoda and Goa, whereas RedBull joined the association on a term concerning limited number of outings. The Sessions’ success can be easily judged upon the basis of some of its regular performing acts’ immediate success. Jwala, the collective, has benefited the most out of these sessions and the same can be reiterated throughout for a few of the other musicians. Listening Room acted as an ideal stepping stone, and 2018 will continue to help fans connect with some of the rawest, underground talent hiding in the cities. The entity now plans to further experiment with its ideology in 2018 with the increase in IPs and further expansion to tier 2 cities, similar to 2017’s approach.






House Concerts



A similar concept to Sofar Sounds, House Concerts will, however, stick true to its name. House Concerts Bangalore, one of the three cities hosting the IP including Mumbai and Delhi, have hosted multiple editions featuring singer-songwriters, spoken words artists and, gradually, increased the engagements with more frequent outings towards the end of the year. With CDs and merchandise among other things to offer to generate more revenue from the outing, the concerts primary source to pay the artists arrive via donations, that act as the entry pass. Usually the donation window ranges from 300 to 500, and with multiple acts on display, fans have enthusiastically turned up for at least eight editions conducted so far. House Concerts Bangalore will continue to offer a channel for those fans that prefer to listen to their music away from crowd and unnecessary conversations, more specifically inside a living room with unplugged music and intimate vibes.





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