5 Minutes With: Smoke Inc.’s Nishit Arora

9 September 2015

Kolkata – land of Tagore, Sandesh and all the other stereotypically Bengali things we can think of also shelters some of the most forward thinking acts in the subcontinent. Think outfits like Skinny Alley and its sister act PINKNOISE, Ganesh Talkies, The Supersonics, Neel and the Lightbulbs – we could go on and on.

Residents of the city of joy may have noticed an upsurge in live performances in the last couple of years, particularly after the hugely popular Jamsteady nights which take place every Friday at Princeton Cub, first kicked off.

Nishit Arora is the face behind Jamsteady and its parent event management company Smoke Inc.. He's also the subject of our interview today.

A passionate music lover who dabbles in DJing himself, Nishit founded Smoke Inc. in 2009 after years of working as a freelancer in art, dance and production (really – he even had his own dance group called ‘Mayhem’), and of course, music. The team now comprises of musicians, choreographers, artists, DJs, sound engineers, graphic artists, event managers and marketing professionals who work together to push alternative music and culture in their city.

In only 6 years, Smoke Inc. has become the most effective and biggest advocate of Kolkata’s indie scene. This December will see the launch of their first festival – Jamsteady’s Big Sunday, set to take place at the lush Prantik Retreat, an hour outside the city (details here). The outdoor festival will feature performances by 20 artists of different genres ranging from rock, folk and jazz to electronic, hip-hop and more.

With so much happening in the coming year, we felt that now was the right time for you to get to know Nishit Arora. We got in touch with him for a hard-hitting interview that dug deep to find out more about his life in Kolkata and the contents of his fridge:

1. How’s it going?

Busy in Calcutta, it's great

2. What’s the worst thing currently occupying your fridge?

Two week old French fries

3. Which fictional character do you identify with the most?


4. What would you be doing if you weren’t in the music industry?

Making a lot of money

5. The best gig you’ve ever been to in your life?

The Supersonics at Ziro Music Festival 2014. Ziro Festival on the whole has been the best musical event I have been to.

6. You’re favourite Kolkata based act at the moment?


7. Describe your new festival in 3 words?

Drive, music and picnic

8. Describe the Kolkata scene in one line?

The scene is busy, buzzing and making a lot of noise.

9. Your dream headliner?


10. Your earliest memory of music?

Top Of The Pops on VHS tapes

11. What’s your prize possession?

Damn! I have none. Can I mention my wife?


3 most inspirational artists:

Michael Jackson, Bob Marley, Amyt Datta

3 favourite albums of all time:

Coldplay A- rush of blood to the head, Radiohead- King of Limbs, Massive Attack- Heligoland

3 favourite artists of the moment:

C2C, Chinese Man, Command Strange



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