Beer and music, two things most Bangaloreans definitely associate with, came together at one of Bangalore’s oldest festival properties the Kingfisher Great Indian October Fest.
A light drizzle, rows of makeshift stores selling all kinds of party paraphernalia, the smell of fast food wafting through the air and music streaming in from all directions - the final day of the October Fest felt like a very fashionable, new-age mela gone rogue.
In the midst of this, we snagged a chance to rub shoulders with homie Raghu Dixit, where he spoke about his band Raghu Dixit Project’s upcoming album, his tryst with Bollywod, MTV Unplugged, and much much more. “Playing at October fest is always great.
“I’m just glad we got to play our entire set this year. Last year, the heavy rain washed out most of it and we ended up playing only two songs,” he sighs.
The band is releasing its sophomore album, Jag Changa, next month on the 23rd, at NH7 Weekender, the pre-orders for which have already begun on sites like OKListen. “We were supposed to release the album at the Weekender gig that happened in Pune, last
weekend, but we ditched the idea for the sentimental value of releasing it in Bangalore. The physical copy will be made available after the official release and can be bought from online and physical stores that we’ve identified,” says Raghu, a scientist turned singer.
A pre-order of Jag Changa will cut a fan back by `100. “We didn’t want to struggle for loose change,” quips Raghu, who then bursts out laughing. “No, I guess that’s what we decided as a band, and that’s just for the digital pre-orders. We haven’t decided the cost for the physical CDs yet,” continues Raghu.
CD vs digital
Raghu is also a huge believer of physical CDs. “I think they are a huge deal. When we made our first album, we took huge pains to design and develop an excellent product, that was one-of-its-kind. This time around, we’re making our CD covers in three different colours, where each colour stands for a different charity, which I think will motivate more people to come forward and contribute,” says Raghu. “We generate most of our sales at gigs, rather than stores. We sold about 75,000 copies of our first album and they were all sold at gig venues, rather than stores. The idea is that post gigs, fans come up to us, and they buy the album and get an autograph or maybe a picture or even a hug, and its a great experience in itself,” explains Raghu.
Around the world
The band plays about 150 gigs a year, with a majority of them being abroad. “I think the gig we played at NH7 last week, overshadowed everything we’ve ever done in India so far. But abroad, Glastonbury in England was, by far, one of the most exciting gigs we’ve had. We were also part of the WOMAD festival, which was quite a unique experience for us and we’re very proud to be a part of it,” says Raghu. They’re all set for another tour to Scotland in January 2014. “We’re playing at this festival called the Celtic Connections, at this incredible venue, almost the size of Superbowl. So we’re guessing that that’s going to be an unforgettable concert for us. After that, we’ll be performing in this old little fruit market. Then we’ll also go busking on the streets of Scotland. So we’re basically going to get a taste of everything,” laughs Raghu.
The band will be seen performing on the prestigious MTV Unplugged stage this December. The show that has seen the likes of Eric Clapton and Nirvana breaking down their well known songs and showcasing something entirely new had fascinated Raghu since he was a child. “We’ll be breaking down six of our original songs, three of which are from our new album. They all have a different sound to them, as they have been done in the acoustic format. Let’s see how it turns out,” says Raghu.
On hitting Bollywood
Raghu Dixit is currently in the middle of composing music for his second Bollywood outing, a Yash Chopra production titled Bewakoofiyan starring Ayushmann Khurrana and Sonam Kapoor, directed by Nupur Asthana. “I think there’s a certain challenge to working within boundaries that are either defined by the story of the film or the characters or even certain market demands that most films have to adhere to at some point.
A brief is given to me, and to be creative within that brief is a different kind of high, I suppose. And then to watch it come alive on a big screen is obviously quite exiting,” exclaims Raghu.