This August, as India celebrates another year of Independence, we, at Myopusradio.com celebrate Independent music! We've dedicated this month to Indie music itself. We highlight ten bands and artists who we feel have contributed significantly to Indian independent music. They have been featured as our Big Fish previously on Myopusradio.com as well.
Here's our selection, in no particular order:
Shaair + Func
They are unquestionably one of the most successful Indian independent acts in the country right now. Over the last few years, they bagged themselves some major awards and brought out 3 studio albums, the third of which, titled ‘Mantis’, premiered on Myopusradio.com when the duo was featured as our Big Fish in August two years ago.
Raghu Dixit Project
The Raghu Dixit Project is fusion music celebrated in its ethnic and colourful best by Raghu and his troupe of talented performers. Their music is earthy, rooted, vibrant, catchy, intense, simple and most importantly, thouroughly enjoyable. With more than 300 shows to their credit, the Raghu Dixit Project has performed around the world, making themselves trend setters in the indie scene with their unique brand of music that’s now turning into a genre by itself- Indo World Folk Rock!
Indian Ocean is one of the most highly respected Indian bands, and with good reason! Very few can boast of being around since 1984, and having releases so many albums and songs, each having attained a legendary status in its own way. The band’s line-up has changed along the way, and earlier this year, in March, band member Susmit announced that he was leaving the band. But Indian Ocean is still alive, and the band is supposedly revisiting old songs, and working on reinventing them. So the Indian Ocean story continues… and we wait for the next chapter to be revealed!
“You ain’t cool if you ain’t old school!” Yes, we’re talking about Kryptos! They are one of India’s biggest heavy metal acts hailing from Bangalore. Kryptos came together in 1998 and since then, they’ve strived to create original, melodic metal, which combines the aesthetics of 80s thrash and pure melodic metal. The band has released 3 studio albums so far, and have also performed in and around the country, and also outside! The band just returned from a Europe tour, after playing In Flammen Open Air, Ragnarock Open Air and also Wacken Open Air!
One cannot talk about the metal scene in India without making a reference to Demonic Resurrection! As someone said in a recent metal documentary, Sahil Makhija, A.K.A. The Demonstealer, is to the Indian metal scene as Sachin Tendulkar is to Indian cricket! He is the man behind Demonic Resurrection- one of the country’s first extreme metal bands. Close to 11 years, 3 albums, a Metal Hammer Award, and a whole lot of Indian and international metal gigs later, Demonic Resurrection has now risen to be one of the few consistent success stories in the Indian metal scene. Their latest release, the final chapter in the Darkness trilogy- 'The Return to Darkness' received rave reviews from fans and critics world over. It has been a long, yet successful journey for Demonic Resurrection, who aren't done yet! In fact, they are just at the beginning of something huge!
Over the years the Indian sub continent has been brewing quiet a few underground rock bands, and in the summer of 2005 Chennai gave us Junkyard Groove. Ameeth Thomas, Siddharth Srinivasan and Craig Maxworth got together almost randomly and realized that they had something to contribute to the world of Indian Rock and Roll. Like them, or hate them (which is quite an impossibility), but you simply cannot ignore them. As cliche as it may sound, it's the truth. The boys from Junkyard Groove entered the indie music scene like a whiff of fresh and funky air, and are nowhere close to going stale. Constant re-inventions, experiments, and recently, with a new line-up , the band has never failed to surprise us. They are an equation that totals up fun, madness, alcohol highs and of course, a whole lot of good music.
They might be relatively younger (band age-wise) in this list, but have proven themselves to be one of the country’s most fun and crazy live acts at the moment! They are a parody act, whose music combines songs from Indian regional cinema, 80s rock, with influences ranging from punk to disco and heavy metal as well! Live Banned is all about maniacal costumes, unexpected twists and mixes, and of course, about having a blast during a show!
Swarathma is a Bangalore based contemporary folk-fusion band that represents the sound of today’s India: rooted in tradition, yet with sights set firmly on the world. The sound is Indian folk and Classical blended with Reggae, Blues and Jazz. With 2 albums on EMI, and international tours of the UK, Hong Kong and Singapore, they have managed to export a brand of contemporary Indian music that is exciting and fresh while being strong and beautiful, and not bound by Bollywood. Their debut album was rated #14 on the list of Top 25 Indian Indie Albums of the last decade by Indiecision magazine, while their second album was produced by the legendary John Leckie (Muse, Radiohead). They were named Indie of the Year 2009 by Indiecision Magazine.All this along with a ton of awards and other accolades has made Swarathma one of India's foremost indie fusion bands.
Baiju Dharmajan is no new name to music lovers in India. Previously, he was associated with Carnatic rock act Motherjane, and also majorly responsible for their fan base. He is also a music producer, and has just released his debut solo album titled 'Crossover'. Everyone knows the sound of his guitar, and Baiju commands an unparalleled fan base across India, being one of the best and most unique guitar players to have surfaced in the country in the last decade. His unique ability to infuse a mighty distinctiveness while giving life to hard-hitting distorted grooves as well as mellifluous clean tone melodic rhythms is the reason why he has not only become a guitar hero for hundreds around the country, but has also influenced the guitar playing in many upcoming bands.
Described as a visionary composer and producer, Karsh Kale is one of the world’s most popular names when it comes to electronic fusion music. He has not only created a new genre by himself, but has also stirred the rise of a new culture in Indian independent music. Kale’s talent has taken him places, and has found him working with the very best names, from Pt. Ravi Shankar to Sting, Zakir Hussain and Herbie Hancock, Bill Laswell and Anoushka Shankar.
These artists may be the forerunners, but that, in no way undermines the talent of any other band in the country. With the Independent music scene growing steadily, we can only hope and expect more artists to get their names and their music across the country and also get noticed abroad.
Three cheers to Indian Indie!
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