Interview: Vijay Nair
10 October 2012
On the eve of the Delhi edition of Bacardi NH7 Weekender, music lovers across the capital will no doubt be sleeping light, as they prepare themselves for the city's first multi-genre music, arts and culture festival.
Now in its third year, the Weekender has grown to become recognised as India's "happiest music festival", branching out of Pune, where it was first held into new and unchartered territories. The machine behind these events is Only Much Louder (OML), a production company that has now been running for over 10 years, and it’s no secret that it wouldn’t have grown into such a well oiled and functioning vessel without CEO Vijay Nair.
He's now a man in charge of an empire (I think it's safe to call it that) that has grown from an artist management agency into a company which encompasses numerous music festivals, headline tours/shows for acts across the world, a booking agency and a TV production company. He still however managed to find time to answer a few questions for us, telling us a little about festivals, events in India and a love for jalebis:
How's it going?
3 Cities. 6 Stages. 200 Artists. And 3 hours of sleep every night. Life's good.
What have you been up to today?
I've been working with Sumant Jayakrishnan's team on what the festival will look like. And mostly emailing. That's pretty much what I do all day to be honest.
For those, who’ve been living under a rock and who may not have heard of OML/NH7 please, fill us in.
We are now a 10 year old company. There are different divisions ranging from Artist Management, Booking Agency (The Syndicate), Music Festivals, TV Production House (Babblefish), Online Magazine (NH7.in) and a few more side projects. This year we have multiple festivals in many cities and other headline tours. Babble Fish have got two shows on the road right now, Dewarists Season 2 and Eristoff MTV Bring On the Night. The latter is our first fiction show which I am really proud of.
Is doing what you do, i.e running the music management agency and your own festivals something you always wanted to do? How’d it all start?
I just wanted to go to as many concerts as I can. So, yes. This devious plan of starting a company has worked well.
Over the next three months you’re bringing Bacardi NH7 Weekender, a musical pilgrimage for some, first only based in Pune, to Delhi and Bangalore. How’s the preparation going? We bet you’re hardly sleeping!
I am sleeping more than I slept last year. In fact, every year I get a little more sleep. Strangely, every year I get more sleepless nights too. It's strange how that works. Getting back to the point, sleep is important.
It's hectic but more fun than ever before. To see so many people work on the festival is quite incredible. I can't wait to see the look on peoples faces who have never been to the festival before.
Tell us a bit about the festival. How it started and what you’re looking to achieve with the new venues.
Bacardi NH7 Weekender is a multi city, multi genre festival now. It started off with a very basic idea that people who love different genres of music (or love all) can come together and finish 3000 Bacardi buckets in a single day. Besides that, it's just a celebration of independent music from India and around the world.
We'd like more people to experience the festival, hence the new venues and cities.
Are there any surprises in store?
What’s the best event you think you’ve ever run and why?
The first year of Bacardi NH7 Weekender because we didn't know how to put together a festival of that scale and nobody died while crossing the road to get to the Eristoff Wolves Den.
What’s the worst event you think you’ve ever run and why?
We've done some pretty shitty corporate events. Most brands are fairly uncool and agencies like us end up doing the dirty boring work for them. Silver lining, it made us love what we set out to do more and get us back on track.
Have you faced any major obstacles in running large scale events such as Bacardi NH7 Weekender and Invasion Festival?
There's no event in India without major and minor obstacles. It keeps you on your toes.
How would you currently describe India’s music scene?
What do you think has been the main catalyst in the last 5 years?
More people actively being a part of the business and not just learning to play Wonderwall on a guitar.
Anything exciting lined up for the future that you can reveal?
Yes. More sleep. Can't wait.
Tell us something a lot of people don’t know about you.
I love jalebis.
THE SAME 3 QUESTIONS:
3 Most inspirational artists:
Gill Scott Heron
3 Favourite albums of all time:
Vs - Pearl Jam
Bon Iver - Bon Iver
Kandisa - Indian Ocean
Favourite 3 artists of the moment: