Tabula Rasa's Ajay Mallareddy talks about creating a space for emerging indie musicians
If the conversation is about watching an indie band perform over the weekend, the buck stops at Tabula Rasa — Cafe & Bar. Started in the city two years ago, co-founders Juvvadi Shravan Kumar and Ajay Mallareddy are the ones to be credited for creating a space that promotes emerging bands and artistes. It is touted to be one of the first outlets in the city to help up and coming artistes find a voice in the circuit. “Honestly, the indie scene is in its nascent stage, even more, when we started Tabula Rasa back in 2017. Before we opened it for the public, we were still operating as a private space for gigs and intimate parties. The reception for indie music was pretty low and it was quite a challenge for us. But I’d like to believe that we have brought about a change in this aspect,” says the city-based entrepreneur.
Despite not having high turnout initially, Ajay was particular about taking risks in inviting bands from across the country that dabble in different genres. During their launch two years ago, he hosted a special schedule — 31 acts in 31 days — with performances every night covering jazz, rock, and folk, among others. Since then, Tabula Rasa has had some splendid performances by bands including Swarathma, Shadow and Light and By 2 Blues.
A music lover himself, Ajay and Shravan take special care in choosing and curating performances — be it techno weekends or Indiepalooza Music Festival. This year, he organised the second edition celebrating bands like Mumbai’s Chabuk and Heat Sink from Ahmedabad. “Since the opening, music has been our prime focus and we have always had gigs seven days of the week. Regional music also took off from our outlet. As far as Indiepalooza is concerned, we wanted to provide artistes with a platform to present their work. Even musicians like Shiv Menon, Meghna Dundi and Niteesh Kondiparthi, who have been in the city’s circuit for over a decade singing covers, released their original work during their gigs at Tabula Rasa,” he shares. Along with the resto-bar, Ajay also founded Flying Spaghetti Monster — one of the most popular and authentic Italian fine-dining outlets in the city.