On The Radar: Indian Music Blogs & Websites
26 June 2012
Blog culture in India is growing rapidly and with the steady rise of creative industries is also being taken more seriously. These days, many individuals' careers stem or hinge from a blog and larger organisations are now able to capitalise on this as an additional means to market and engage with a targeted audience.
Free templates and powerful wide reaching social marketing tools at your fingertips mean that anyone can blog and if done well, can have a powerful voice.
We decided to get in touch with the people behind some of our favourite websites and blogs in India and find out how and why they got started, and to see which blogs they’re keeping an eye on...
A satirical and painfully well articulated blog that puts thoughts about local and international popular music under the microscope.
Why did you start Moop City?
For a laugh! I've no patience with chin-stroking music appreciation, and even less with what I think of as scene insider gossip. I watched a group last year whose stuff I thought qualified as a case of assault and battery on music itself. It turned out, though, that all anybody would say about them on the internet was that they were "experimental". They weren't, they were crap: there's a difference. And, I thought, at least one person ought to have a go at this. It deserves that much at least.
What do you hope to achieve with your blog?
To be completely honest, and at the risk of coming across as a twat, I hope to get a reaction. I'm not interested in being 'objective' or writing informed, well-rounded 'critiques'. I believe objectivity will be the death of the music press. It's an easily thrown around catch-all word which keeps people from saying anything that's remotely contentious; it gives writers and musicians something to hide behind when what they're really doing is patting each others' backs.
I'm all for militant, one-sided opinions. Holding the well-balanced, critical approach up as an ideal lets people get away with saying things like "this record is a delicate blend of new-wave sensibilities and alt-country attitude", when what they really should be telling us is "it's great, it'll make you want to dance" or "it sucked". I want to start an argument. Arguments are healthy and there aren't enough around. It's pop music, isn't it? It needn't be treated with reverence.
Favourite 3 blogs/websites
Akhond of Swat
I love Nilanjana Roy's Akhond of Swat lit-blog; she's funny and clever. She knows her stuff but doesn't beat you over the head with technicalities. Above all, she's a great writer, and holds your attention even when you've no idea what she's carrying on about.
Manoj Joshe's Blog: National and Geopolitics
Manoj Josh303018's303021'National and Geopolitics' blog is a bit of a formatting disaster, but I like his level-headed, nuanced approach to politics and defence. As a blogger, he succeeds on an important front; whenever something interesting turns up on the headlines, I find that I'm asking myself, "What does Mr. Joshi think?" It helps that he's usually right.
Mark's Record Reviews
For record reviews, I spent years memorising Mark Prindle's site. He's stopped writing now, but no other music writer has made me laugh as much. He's the least objective, least rational, least structured pop-writer I've come across; that's why I love him the most.
Starting out life as Indecision back in 2008, the blog evolved into NH7 in 2010 and has become one of the leading authorities on Indian indie, rock and alternative culture. In addition to being an online mag it's an exhaustive resource that pulls together essential information about Indian music culture as well as being a highly interactive and user driven platform.
Why did you start Indecision and what do you hope to achieve with NH7?
When I started Indiecision, the aim was to represent what was going on in the Indian indie music scene as regularly and as honestly as I could. After the death of the forums (Gigpad and RSJOnline), there weren't any daily sources of information about what was happening in the music scene. Mainstream media's view of what was going on was often patronising and uninformed. I started Indiecision as a destination for people to not only find out what was going on in the scene, but also to represent it as objectively as possible. The reviews were harsher, the news was crisper, and the site was updated daily.
As more and more people read the site, and more and more people started getting involved (especially people like then TimeOut music editor Amit Gurbaxani), the site design changed from a simple blog format to a more webzine-style interface to reflect the depth of what was being covered. Then, in 2010, we started working on a new platform, that was not just about about music news and reviews and the like, but also about music discovery. After about six months of hard work behind us, we launched NH7.in in September 2010. Apart from expanding the scope of our editorial, the site also features streaming music, event listings, artist profiles and more.
Originally an event series in Delhi that began in 2010 and still continues today, the blog launched as an offset to the brand with a symbolic show on 11 November 2011. A hub for information about sub-genres emerging around the world - it does what it says on the tin - and then some.
Su Real explains how it all began...
Rat, Tessko and Mo City started the blog in the 2nd half of 2011. I jumped on as a contributor but really got hyper active this year. The idea is to introduce more people to music from different corners of the globe and provide bubbling subgenres and cultural movements a platform to present itself for inclusion in the zeitgeist. We listen primarily to modern urban music and global bass, but the crew is highly roots-based so we also post up primers on originators, key labels, archives and documentaries as well.
Most of the mainstream music world is highly focused/concentrated around the US and UK, but just as economic and political power is shifting geographically in the new millenium, so should sound culture. Personally I think our mission is accomplished if we help more people get better acquainted with music from far away parts of the world, obscure locales and even far off the beaten path... maybe 20-30 years down the road, we will have to make an extra effort to make sure we cover music from the cultural minority in the "first developed world" because the world has gotten too flooded with music from India, China, Angola and Brazil! At Imported Goods, we are all about turning the tables!
Favourite 3 blogs/websites
Generation Bass - Nuff respect due.
Mudd Up! - a.k.a. DJ/Rupture's blog - one of the key pioneers of modern global bass movement.
Mad Decent - I'm not joking when I say the Mad Decent site is basically audio porn for us.
This website pops up on our radar on a daily basis keeping us in-tune with our Mumbai friends. With a broad spectrum of content these sharp talking know-it-alls cover everything worth knowing about in Mumbai.
How did Mumbai Boss get started?
When I moved back to the city a few years ago, there wasn't a single city site you could visit to get reliable information on art shows, gigs, restaurants, etc. Almost every major city in the world has a decent city site so I figured it was about time that Mumbai got one too.
I hope it has become a reliable source for people who want independent, truthful reviews and information on food, culture, shopping, nightlife, news, etc. We sift and curate through this glut of information, essentially whittling it down to "help make sense of the city" as our tagline says. We'd like to become an indispensable tool for people living here. That's ultimately the goal.
All the cool cats are using tumblr these days and it's easy to see why. Flux have, in our minds hit the nail on the head with design. Although the content is pretty one dimensional at the moment, it is a great platform to discover fresh new music.
How did the FLUX blog come about?
You must have heard of our FLUX nights? We felt that people in our clubscape are stuck in narrow nieches of genres and styles with their music choices and thought of a night where a person can come into a venue keeping his mind open to the kind of music being played.
The idea is to cut away from the mainstream and showcase more urban sounds. We knew that a single night may not have the reach of the internet, so we kicked off the FLUX blog. We wanted to share the kind of audio and visuals we like, as there are millions of blogs across the web and our idea is to curate what sounds good to our ears and looks good to the eyes.
As of now we are focusing on showcasing a wide range of musicians from both India and abroad. You come across various blogs from across the internet focusing on a certain genre. With FLUX we want to share everything possible to make people in our country aware of the good music around.
At a later stage, we plan on focusing on Indian musicians/artists/designers and give them a platform to showcase their talent in various forms. We want to dive deep into Indian-subcultures and show the more urban and non-mainstream side of India.