5 Minutes With: Rishu Singh

1 October 2014

You will be hard pressed to find a better connoisseur of independent music in India than Rishu Singh. Manager, organiser, compilation expert and mix-tape master, Rishu has done it all since arriving on the scene. Having worked with the likes of Rolling Stone and Sony Music, he eventually left it all behind to form his own independent music label ennui.BOMB with his wife Aditi Ghosalkar in 2004. That moment can perhaps be considered the start of Rishu’s metamorphosis into the indie advocate and aficionado we all know today.

A long-time lover of the indie space, his next move was to set up the much-celebrated ‘Stupiditties’ series, an annual mix tape compilation of ‘unmetal’ indie music. With the eighth edition of ‘Stupiditties’ now available (for free we might add) it is fair to say the series has been a success.

The next logical step for Rishu was to bring together his music loving brethren. Like-minded supporters of the Mumbai music scene were brought together in 2010 for the first ‘Control ALT Delete’ concert. Now a regular feature, sometimes occurring multiple times a year due to rising popularity, the event series is the place to enjoy the best indie, alternative and metal music has to offer. Channelling his inner DIY attitude to music, and life, Rishu recently introduced plans to have the latest concerts crowd funded. This is on top of the existing pay-what-you-want entry structure in place at ‘Control ALT Delete’ events.

While most people would see these contributions to the scene as enough, Rishu isn’t most people. Not one to rest on his laurels, his latest venture, the Vans New Wave MusicFest, is already causing quite a stir. He plans to have the 2 day festival become the primary space to discover the best new indie and punk music across Asia.

Rishu Singh is a pure lover of music. His belief in spreading music for free, so as to reach as many people as possible, is an admirable and worthy endeavour. Even with so much already on his resume, it seems, the best Rishu has to offer is yet to come. Keeping that in mind, we got in touch with him to find out how he’s doing with all these exciting ventures on his plate:

How’s it going?
Just got back from Ziro Festival of Music. Life is great!

Where are you right now?
Home. Where my heart is.

What’s in your pockets?
Cigarettes and small change.

What’s the last song you listened to?
The Supersonics – Heads Up.

What would be the soundtrack to your life?
Sky Rabbit, Pentagram, Hoirong, The Supersonics, Peter Cat Recording Co., Laxmi Bomb, Blek, The Lightyears Explode and many more Indian acts.

Who is your favourite indie artist right now?

Which alternative band have you been most impressed with?
Recently, The Ganesh Talkies.

What is your favourite venue?
High Spirits, Pune.

You’re stuck on a deserted island and can only bring one album, what is it?
If this happens today, it would be Hoirong’s 'Dandaniya Apradh'.

What was the sound of your youth?
Grunge music at home and cover bands at gigs.

What will you never unsee?
The audience response to the metal edition of Control ALT Delete in June this year.

Which Indian act are you least impressed with and why?
All lazy ass bands. There are so many!

If you could change something to the Indian 'scene' - what would it be?
Get people to step out for gigs. Without judgement and prejudices. You never know what you will like till you hear it properly.

One artist you regret never getting to hear live?
The Ramones.

If you could meet any musical artist, dead or alive, who would it be?
Kurt Cobain.

What would your last meal be?
Malwani mutton sukka with seekh kebabs and pao. And beer. There has to be beer.

If you could go back and change one thing in your life, what would it be?
Lots. And lots. And nothing.

And one thing you wouldn’t change no matter what?
Listening to the music I love.

What are your expectations for the New Wave Musicfest, 2014?
It will definitely be an awesome music tasting experience.

Describe the Indian indie space in three words…
Confident. Young. Enterprising.


3 most inspirational artists:

Minor Threat
Pentagram (the Indian one)

3 favourite albums of all time:

Foo Fighters – Foo Fighters
Sky Rabbit – Sky Rabbit
Pentagram – We’re Not Listening

Favourite 3 artists right now:

Your Chin
Oh, Rocket!

*** Vans New Wave MusicFest is taking place on the 15-16 November 2014 in Goa - more information here ***

Words: Aditya Keswani


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