In 2006, two friends, Harish Sivaramakrishnan and Ganesh Ram Nagarajan, started experimenting with music in an apartment studio.
They called themselves ‘Studio F6’. And in 2007, Agam was born with four additional members.
From then on, it has been a roller coaster ride for this all-Tamil band (except Sivaramakrishnan), with gigs at some of the most popular festivals such as Ooty’s MAD Festival, the Fireflies Festival, Octoberfest in Bengaluru and the Storm Festival in Coorg.
The Bengaluru-based band is also a favourite at venues such as Hard Rock Café, both in the city and in their hometown. Launched last week, Agam’s debut album, The Inner Self Awakens features six tracks - each reflective of their varied musical influences.
For the album, the band roped in award winning producer, Ashish Manchanda, whose body of work includes collaborations with AR Rahman, Amit Trivedi and bands like Avial.
“In the band itself, Harish is into carnatic, Siva Kumar is into bhajans and I listen to a lot of mixed music and Bollywood,” says the drummer, Ganesh Ram.
Promising that each song will sound different, the musical spectrum ranges from traditional traditional vedic hymns to progressive rock/metal.
The album also features a bold experiment - a track called Swans of Saraswathi, which is a progressive rock/metal treatment of a carnatic composition.
The song assimilates the essence of raga Hamsanadam and the complex, intricate time signature changes inherent to progressive rock, to produce produce a sound which the band believes is unique.
The album also features two of their biggest crowdpleasers - Rudra and Boat Song - together with Malhar Jam, which featured in the second season of MTV’s Coke Studio.
Ready to please
Nagarajan observes that audiences at their shows have been extremely supportive and have clearly begun moving from under Bollywood’s huge shadow.
“Bands are coming up with eclectic sounds and we often give a mix of songs.
We sometimes even sing Aaromale from the movie Vinnaithaandi Varuvaay.
But we will not perform something from, say, Rock On,” says Nagarajan.
When asked why international music bands have better production values and marketing, Nagarajan begs to differ, “I don’t find a difference between our music and theirs. What might vary is the technicality and equipment perhaps.”