CHENNAI: You can call it fusion, but I’d like to term it fusion ensemble. It is an experience and not just music,” says Rudra, one of the co-founders of Terrace Jams when quizzed about the genre of the talent they recently unearthed. Terrace Jams, a new platform for independent musicians to pave their way into the performing arts scene, was founded by a team of five Chennai boys — Arun Rangan, Rudra Krishna, Simon Felix, Aadit Prasad and Cyril George.
The team was dissatisfied about the independent music scene in our country. Being rejected time and again by the audience that prefer to hear covers of songs, the five friends decided to come together and promote bands that they felt deserved to be noticed. “The bands will play only originals. We are not genre-specific and we’re flexible about the language they pick,” says Rudra.
Terrace Jams is a web series with several acts performed by a mix of artistes. They have season wise acts and each season aims at bringing out brilliant music that should be popularised and deemed important. It brings out famous artistes and bands like Sid Sriram and Kurangan, while also giving opportunities to relatively new bands like Jatayu. “This creates a balance of not just great music and different genres, but also a platform for aspiring musicians to get featured alongside famous artistes,” he adds.
The reason they chose ‘Terrace’ dates back to their childhood. “Every time we played loud music, we’d hear our parents say — ‘whatever noise you want to make, go and do it upstairs’. Be it drinking for the first time or smoking without getting caught, the terrace came to our rescue. Every Indian kid can understand that… terrace was the place where all your ‘firsts’ happened,” grins Rudra. “Another reason to pick terraces is because the sounding is good, and the music resonates and blends well with the setting.”
The team feels that it is shameful that there are no proper places for independent artistes to perform. “There are hardly five venues in Chennai that stages performances,” says Arun Rangan, who quit his job last year and came back to Chennai to do what he was passionate about. They feel that the reason India does not have so many rockstars is because no one is willing to give them a platform and respect they deserve.
Rudra was part of a band, Drishti, several years ago. The writer of The Onus of Karma, a tale of mysticism and intrigue, also worked as an English teacher and a wrestler before. “Music is not a career choice that will help you earn big bucks, given that you need to do unpaid gigs in the beginning to land paid gigs. While juggling jobs that pay you money to sustain a certain standard of living, you also need to make time to practice your music. It is the labels that should worry about finding gigs and creating platforms, not musicians,” avers Rudra.
Their plans include targetting different cities and tuning their ears to appreciate upcoming artistes in the indie music scene. After the season in Chennai, they plan to move to a different city and contribute to the Indie music scene.