A firsthand account of Nucleya’s album launch at Girgaon during Anant Chaturthi.
I was quite surprised when my friends who aren’t into indie music asked me to join them for Nucleya’s album launch. That too on the eve of Anant Chaturthi, when the city would be swarming with people. Nucleya was going to play his music on a truck with DJ Su-Real opening for him. THAT sounded like a plan – dancing at a visarjan to pop music. The idea of merging spirituality with the launch of a DJ/producer’s album was quite innovative and an experience I didn’t want to miss.
Fans showing off the 'Akkad Bakkad' t-shirt at the visarjan
While the event said that Nucleya would start at the Thakurdwar Post Office, the truck had apparently left from Marine Lines and was headed towards Girgaon and then Opera House. After a long walk amidst a sea of drunk and stoned people, we spotted the #BassRani truck. The opening set had started with commercial remixes. An hour or so later Nucleya came to the stage and started with the thumping ‘Mumbai Bass’ from #BassRani. What was most surprising was that my friends (no indie music fans like I said), could instantly make out Nucleya’s signature style – and that made me realize how popular he had become post ‘Akkad Bakkad’ – the song which almost became an anthem with it’s hookline of ‘Fuck That Shit’ – an anthem that told the youth to stand up against corruption. So does that make Nucleya a youth icon today? “I don’t think I am a youth icon in any way. Yes, my song did become famous but that wasn’t the intention when I made it. My process of making music is very simple and I make music for myself. Everyone is not my fan, but we are a huge group of like minded people who have a similar taste in music.”
The opening of the set with the track ‘Mumbai Bass’ at the launch
The fate of #BassRani is awaited. It seems to have all the right ingredients - local sounds, anecdotes, maxims from small towns and cultures across the country. Not to mention kicking off with Ganpati and having his blessings. Apart from the old fans, Nucleya managed to capture a whole new audience – rich, poor, old, young, men, women, specially kids who were dancing with wild abandon in the spirit of Ganesh visarjan and ‘nucleus’ or ‘nuclear’ or whoever he was. Nucleya himself was amazed, “People who couldn’t be on the streets were giving me the thumbs up from their windows and some aunties gave me flying kisses too.” Laughs, “There were so many people it was like a sea of them.”
Crowd frenzy at the BassRani album launch
Soon people from numerous other mandals joined the gang and were doing the ‘Ganpati dance’ to Nucleya’s music. It can probably be attributed to the fact that his new album has popular tracks like `Laung Gawacha’ as well – something that most locals connect with. Surprisingly, the crowd was not barricaded and everyone was welcome to join the celebration. Nucleya himself admits, “With Bass Rani we wanted to push the boundaries a bit more, so I collaborated not just with musicians this time but also with singers and producers.” His manager Tej Brar adds, “Nucleya's music is essentially Indian street music fused with electronic beats, so what better place to launch his first ever full length album - on the street. We’re happy that almost everyone came down and danced with us.” Uniting the spirit of devotion, dance and music ended up being the winning formula here.
subtitle: Alo Wala and Nucleya driving the crowd crazy at the visarjan launch
#BassRani seems to be an album that will see much more street celebrations - weddings, sangeets, parties and dandiya mandals. He will be performing at 15 cities as a part of the album launch tour, but something tells me this one won’t be re-enacted, ever.
Nucleya on a high at the visarjan
By Divya Naik
Photography by Ridhiin Pancchmatia