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These Three Indie Record Labels Are Giving A Whole New Meaning To DIY Cover Picture

These Three Indie Record Labels Are Giving A Whole New Meaning To DIY

1. ennui.BOMB

 mohawked Rishu Singh
Photo source: ennui.BOMB

If you’re a regular at Mumbai’s punk/rock scene gigs, you might have noticed the affable, mohawked Rishu Singh cheering for the bands right at the front of the stage. Rishu is the founder of a small indie label called ennui.BOMB, whose biggest contribution to the indie scene has been releasing the annual multi-artist record, Stupiditties. The no-frills album, which comes out around September every year is a long compilation of fresh tracks by new and mostly obscure bands. “I started ennui.BOMB in 2004 for a simple selfish reason: to listen to music I like. All around me was gigs and CDs full of sounds that did not appeal to me and I wanted to change that. If labels and promoters were not going to give me what I wanted to hear, I decided to do it myself. Eleven years later I am happy that ennui.BOMB is known for a niche kind of sound in the Indian indie scene,” says Rishu.

ennui.BOMB
Photo source: ennui.BOMB

A lot of bands that are now in the music spotlight, like Fuzzculture, Blek, The Lightyears Explore and The Vinyl Records, have this small label to thank for believing in them and securing gigs. A strictly DIY label, ennui.BOMB has also successfully hosted seven editions of India’s biggest crowd-funded underground gigs, Control ALT Delete. “We have forged an identity for ourselves and we are proud to be involved in our own subculture,” he says.

 

2. Pagal Haina  

Cover picture of Pagal Haina Records
Photo source: Pagal Haina Records

The past two months have been very hectic but extremely rewarding for Dhruv Singh. The indie label that he started in 2011, Pagal Haina, has just released its biggest record yet – singer Prateek Kuhad’s album, In Tokens & Charms. Needless to say, the mandatory fuss around the release – from arranging listening sessions for media to hosting a launch gig – is never a piece of cake if you swear by DIY ethics. Dhruv, who had previously worked in film-making, editing and sound-recording, decided to start the label as it gave him an outlet to do all that he loved. “Independent labels in India barely make any money from traditional sources. And to survive, you can't solely be a label. At Pagal Haina, we provide a 360-degree solution to our artistes - from managing them and booking shows to helping them release their music and working on their branding,” he says.

Pagal Haina also represents singer-songwriters Shantanu Pandit, Rounak Maiti and indie-folk outfit RUN! It’s the Kid.

Image Pagal Haina Records
Photo source: Prateek Kuhad

However, the biggest challenge remains the finances. “Indie labels alone don’t make any money. To survive, you can’t just be a label. At Pagal Haina, we provide a 360-degree solution to our artistes – from releasing their music, to managing them, putting out their videos and working on their branding,” explains Dhruv.

 

3. Qilla Records

Cover Image Plastic Robots Underlow Open Your Eyes
Photo source: Qilla Records/Facebook

This electronica label was started by two well-known people from the indigenous electronica circuit-- Madhav Shorey (aka KOHRA) and Gaurav Malekar (of the duo BLOT!). Since its inception in 2011, the label has to its name over 30 releases, and is involved in consistently releasing remixes/mixtapes/single from both homegrown and foreign talent. Qilla has plugged the need for a platform for a growing breed of producers who, armed with their futuristic music, are looking to play festivals and gigs, given the popularity of electronica in India lately.

Cover Image MINITEH PROJECT DUBKEY EP REMIXES BY ALEX CRISTEA AND TIZIANO STERPA
Photo source: Qilla Records/Facebook

The label’s upcoming release is Minitech Project Dubkey EP, feat. Remixes by Alex Cristea and Tiiano Sterpa.

 

Words: NS

Cover image source: Shantanu Pandit/Facebook