So you love Swedish House Mafia?

A flurry of Blackberry Messenger updates, a trending topic on Twitter India and tons of Facebook spam: Yay! Swedish House Mafia is coming to Bombay on the 17th….et cetera.

Oh tell me more about how you’ve been a fan of trance and electronic music for years and really understand its vibe, its rhythm? Personally, there is nothing singularly more frustrating than seeing a bunch of 17 something year olds pretending to be subject matter experts on Electronic Dance Music (EDM) [Well, right after new Manchester City fans and Delhi boys with fake LV belts].

Personally I have nothing against consumption of commercial music, in fact its good, its needed. But what I do protest is the dismissal and ignorance of good talent for more popular and to infinite degrees worse talented music stars.

“Oh who is Mat Zo? Stoneface & Terminal? Kayu & Albert? Tritornal? I haven’t heard of them, they don’t play their music at Prive on Friday/Saturday nights so they couldn’t be better than Tiesto! Armin! Deadmau5!”

I cringe when unwillingly I overhear such conversations, and its true they do happen. Here’s another one:

Pretentious Guy: Above & Beyond! 10th November, TATW 450 show in Bangalore!

Me: Yeah, I know; Whoa! When did you start listening to trance?

Pretentious Guy: You’re mad? I love Trance!

Me: Oh, in that case wanna go for Steve Aoki on 7th October?

Pretentious Guy: What is Steve Aoki?

Me: …

One may argue that all genres of music are alive even today, however each time period has its favorite genre. I can safely say from late 1990s this was the trend:

Classic/Alternative Rock [U2, Linkin Park] -> Rap [Eminem] -> Hip Hop [*insert douche name here*] -> Electronic Dance Music [let’s not get into name dropping for this]

The current reigning champion is EDM which explains the dozens of Oh-I’m so cool-Fans. There’s a very simple way of differentiating between a true and false fan/lover: The former will be indifferent to the name of the artist, he knows how to appreciate the likes of Pete Tong and Richard Durand.

So what is my point, you ask?

It pains to see how people are ignorant with an attitude (there should be one word for this) in this regard. There are a bucket load of exceptional musicians across the world who produce some of the most eargasmic sounds and songs, go beyond the normal, go find them and listen to them!

Look in your own backyard!

If you focus on the Indian circuit itself, there is an outburst of exceptional talent in this space. Have a go at Only Much Louder‘s organized NH7 Weekender in Delhi, Bangalore and Pune’s website; FYI: Look at the line ups. Year on year they manage to arrange a very impressive ensemble of India’s best, yet haven’t been able to meet even close to the popularity of Percept’s Sunburn (The only saving grace and profitable venture in the Percept umbrella).

I cannot complete this article without mentioning, what in my opinion is one of the best things to happen to music in India, The Dewarists. The Dewarists (again from the brilliant company Only Much Louder) was a music based show on Star World, season two will be starting towards the end of the current year. Why am I mentioning them? They pulled of something magical, something no other show has been able to in India, they brought together musicians and artists from different genres to mutually produce songs. You’d think that how can a Canadian Sikh English Poet/Rapper (Humble the Poet) do anything with a leading Indian electronic duo (Midival Punditz), You’d think that what can an Indian Karnatak rock band (Parikrama), an Indian classic Hindi band (Agnee) and a bollywood singer (Shilpa Rao) do together? Go figure…

Genres? Ultimately its all bass and treble…

Nobody likes genres; musicians don’t and music lovers don’t, record companies do. Its their way of categorizing art and compartmentalizing the non quantifiable. Eric Clapton doesn’t walk into his studio thinking “Oh how can I make a great classic rock song?”. The greatest in music have not been bound by these walls, but have always wanted to explore and discover and experiment. I draw an example from my favorite band, U2: Listen to the hard rock of Vertigo and then listen to the gentle and mellow If God will Send His Angels. So if I’m listening to a medley of the two best sisters in classic and country music: Norah Jones and Anoushka Shankar, or Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan or John “OO” Fleming it’s not that different to me; I love them all. And its possible!

ALOBO NAGA & THE BAND, BANDISH PROJEKT, INDUS CREED, MENWHOPAUSE, OLIVER SEAN are the nominations for Top Indian Act at the MTV Awards, hear them out, that’s a good place to start ->

Some personal recommendations: Indian Ocean, Indus Creed, Midival Punditz, Raghu Dixit Project, Pentagram, Reggae Rajahs, Scribe, Advaita, BLOT, Dualist Inquiry, Shaa’ir + Func, Bombay Bassment, Them Clones, Agam, Jalebee Cartel & Anish Sood.

Alas I’m writing this while the Symphony Orchestra of India performs at NCPA Mumbai. Do yourselves a favor, visit Blue Frog, visit NH7 Weekender, visit Hard Rock, heck go to YouTube.

Here’s some spoon-feeding: