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In the constantly evolving indie music scene in the country, nearly every musician is a part of more than one or two projects. Some play with more than one band, some have solo projects alongside their bands and some are constantly collaborating with a number of bands and artistes while still being a part of their usual act.
This year, however, several musicians from some of the best-known Indian bands chose to launch solo projects. Some continued to play with their original bands as they worked on these side projects while others focussed mainly on these solo acts. Raffael Kably, formerly one of three members of Bay Beat Collective, Gaurav Raina of the Midival Punditz, Siddharth Basrur of Goddess Gagged, and Raxit Savetibet and Rahul Nadkarni of Sky Rabbit are five such artistes. Each one of them introduced their solo acts in 2012, and were well received by a majority of their listeners.
Of these, all besides Kably continue to be active members of their original bands. Kably, however, left Bay Beat Collective to make music that's far removed from the genres that his former band primarily dealt with. While the Mumbai-based outfit focused on drum 'n' bass, dubstep and breakbeat, Kably's solo act, titled Mode7, is much more of the ambient, downtempo electronica sort. It's a move that the musician is very happy with and one that has worked well for him with his debut EP, titled All in Faded Days. "I'm doing gigs and producing music all in my own time and that's what I always wanted to do," says Kably, who recently moved to Kerala to take up surfing more actively.
Siddharth Basrur and Gaurav Raina have been involved in a number of projects during their long careers in the indie music industry. The former was initially a part of the once-famous, now-disbanded, alternative band Kinky Sky Munky, and is now a member of Goddess Gagged, a popular Indian indie band. The latter is best known for being one half of the Delhi-based electronic fusion act Midival Punditz. In 2012, Siddharth Basrur launched his self-titled solo act, while Raina launched Grain, a solo electronica act.
Basrur's debut album, titled Chasing Rain, will be out in February next year. It talks about the process of wooing a girl and was inspired by the musician's girlfriend. "This is the first time I've written an entire album on my own," he says. His second gig — the first one being at High Spirits in Pune — at Blue Frog in Mumbai was criticised, but Basrur says that was because of expectations.
Raina, on the other hand, started Grain to be able to make music that was different from what he was making with Midival Punditz. "With Midival Punditz, songwriting in English wasn't happening, so this will have a more international sound," he had said. His debut album Grey to Silver, too, was supposed to be released this year but hasn't been yet. He has, however, played a handful of gigs around the country, all of which have been well-received.
Like Basrur and Raina, both members of Sky Rabbit continue to be active members of their band. Both, however, launched their solo acts to release music that they had made by themselves. While Nadkarni's act SnowShoe has a sound that's very different from the sort that Sky Rabbit makes — this is a primarily instrumental, melodious and ambient sound — Savetibet's act Your Chin has definite resemblances to his band's music.
Yet, both have been received nearly as well as the other, although Savetibet's has been in the news more, including his set at the Delhi edition of Weekender. "I've been able to be a part of some really nice shows. I've written some more tunes and maybe they'll stack up into something next year," says Savetibet.