Confluence of worlds

Aditykasyap Badri, a member of the Carnatic progressive rock band Agam, speaks about their growing relationship with the local audience, how the city inspires music and simplifying Carnatic music.
Aditykasyap Badri with the audiences (Photo | Tushar)
Aditykasyap Badri with the audiences (Photo | Tushar)

BENGALURU: There have been many bands in the Bengaluru rock scene, but none quite like Agam. Formed in 2003, they are known for their trademark style of blending Carnatic music and progressive rock –  two highly technical musical genres in their respective fields. The city-based band recently had their 
concert at GYLT, Hennur, as part of their Onwards & Upwards Tour.

Aditykasyap Badri, bass guitarist, backing vocalist and a member of the Carnatic progressive rock band Agam, speaks about their growing relationship with the local audience, how the city inspires music and simplifying Carnatic music in their own way

“It is always a wonderful experience to perform in front of a home crowd. We have noticed our relationship with the audiences in two phases. There’s phase 1 – the first album, and phase 2 – the second album. The relationship with the audiences changed considerably between these two projects.

In our first album, we almost introduced Carnatic progressive rock to poeple, so there was a bit of a learning curve with the audiences. But in phase 2, the genre was very well established, and our style had become popular. We are on a mission to demystify Carnatic music’s ‘too complex’ image, so we work at simplifying the ragas and the compositions,” he says.

Both progressive rock and Carnatic music have elements of storytelling in them, so how does that guide them? “The very word ‘Agam’ means the inner self in Tamil and Sanskrit. Our band’s name signifies our inner self as musicians and the emotions we want to bring out through our music. Therefore, storytelling is an essential part of Agam’s music. We keep switching though. Certain songs need the storytelling in more of the heavier progressive rock style, while some would need more on the Carnatic side,” shares the bassist of the band known for songs like Mist of Capricorn and Kooth (Koothu) Over Coffee.

Badri feels something about this city inspires music. “Most of the band members are from Bengaluru. This is where we have composed and recorded most of our music. We are always humbled by the fact that, for many in the new generation, their exposure to Carnatic music comes from us. That really gives us a sense of purpose and drives us,” he explains, adding that among the up-and-coming bands, they are big fans of Pineapple Express.

Presently, the band is working on their third studio album. “We are in the process of recording, composing, mixing and mastering it. Hopefully, the next time we are in the city, we will be able to perform some 
of our newer songs as well,” he concludes.

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