Gen-Z musicians in Hyderabad talk about regional music and what keeps them going
We chat with four famous artistes who are taking over the stage
The city’s music circuit is only getting larger and as we write this, there is a live music event happening in most restaurants across town. The number of bands is increasing and so there is an emergence of different kinds of content aswell. From creating original compositions to releasing music series on YouTube channels, these musicians are pulling all the stops to showcase their music. To find out more, we caught up with four young musicians who are changing the city’s soundscape with their art.
Ram Manoj Patnaik
Ram Manoj Patnaik popularly known as RMP, is the happiest when he is on stage and performing for a live crowd. Not many years ago, when he was in college, he rediscovered his love for music. Doing stage shows at college and getting appreciation for it drove him to take up music as a full-time job. “Being a musician in Hyderabad is definitely not easy. The city is constantly hustling and to be in the league of good musicians, I have started to train in classical music yet again,” he tells us, talking about how his band Chitrapuri Talkies is thriving. While his fans know him for his singing talent, it might interest you to read that the 26-year old is a graduate from one of India’s premier institutions, IIIT Hyderabad. He speaks about choosing an alternative career path and shares, “ There are moments when those closest to me don’t understand what I do. But one must keep working to get where they wish to reach.” Speaking of the city’s music scene, he adds, “It’s crazy here. There are all kinds of bands out there. With live music, we are reaching audiences with soulful renditions of original music, but I wish we did more original compositions — that’s what we aim to do with our band.”
Currently listening: Aaj Dil Gustakh Hai from Blue
For Thiru Vakkalanka, music has never been an option but a lifestyle. All thanks to his father who has a passion for music and passed it down to the 23-year old. He started playing tabla, when he was in just third standard, The drummer recalls, “My father always wished that I played the drums. I remember how overwhelmed I was when he gifted me a drum set in class eight.” But, it was during an internship at Tech Mahindra, that he decided to take this up seriously. He shares, “I started doing live gigs and then met Yadhunandhan Nagaraj, who works with musicians like Sona Mohapatra, Adnan Sami, and Amit Trivedi. He is also the drummer for the Carnatic-progressive outfit Agam and he mentored me and helped me attend Gino Banks and Darshan Doshi’s workshops. Thiru talks about his musical inspirations and tells that drummers like Jojo Mayer, Mark Guiliana, Gavin Harrison, and Yadhunandhan Nagaraj inspire him, and adds, “Legends like Ilaiyaraaja and AR Rahman had a huge impact on my musical journey. I grew up listening to their music. Recently it was Vivek Sagar who moved me with his music. And, Agam, Avial, Thaikuddam Bridge, and Pineapple Express are my indie scene favourites.”
Currently listening: Rangapura Vihara by Agam and the whole of Sitaramam’s album
Being exposed to music at a young age opened a plethora of doors for Agasthya Kumar, who is the bassist for the band Sarvam. He developed an interest in classical music especially veena as his mother was a veena player and enrolled him in music classes. He later goes on to learn how to play the guitar and this gives him a chance to be a part of his college’s music club. “After my graduation, I would jam with other alumni from the college. This gave me immense joy and then I decided to pursue music with Sarvam,” he tells us. While it has been all great for the 26-year-old, being a part of the internet generation, comes with certain setbacks too. “Don’t get me wrong, social media has been a boon for independent musicians. But, I also feel that people have lowered attention span and they prefer watching 30-60 second reels and are not interested to listen to the entire song. I wish people consumed music in a more organic way — like they did in the past time,” he points out. Speaking about local events, he tells that regional music is only getting bigger and better and adds, “There are so many pubs and lounges that have been encouraging the musicians. Crowds are getting larger due to which bands are also increasing in number.”
Currently listening: Overnight by Lydian Collective
Swaroop Vyakaranam, the flautist of the band Moksha, is all for experimenting with his craft. For starters, he is trained to be a Carnatic flautist, but he performs at commercial gigs. “They say that music is an endless ocean and when one is an independent musician, they ought to try out a variety of genres,” he shares. Hailing from a musical family, Swaroop is a second-generation musician and learned music initially from his parents and later from his guru Dr Manda Ananta Krishna. Besides his teacher, it is Mahalingam (Flute Mali), Shashank Subrahmanyam, Jayanth JA, and Dr N Ramani who inspire him to do better. He also shares that the young talent from the city must continuously practice getting better at their craft. “It sounds cliché, but I am always trying to be better than what I was the day before. Before concluding our conversation, the 25-year-old advises that the younger lot of musicians must have the patience to break through the music circuit. “Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor are we gonna hit the stage in one. I sense an ‘urgency to perform’ in aspiring musicians these days. Spending time and enjoying your music is what makes this journey beautiful,” he shares.
Currently listening: Nuvvena Naa Nuvvena from Anand