The Unplugged Project: Live music is about finding your audience

The music group didn’t decide on the group’s name. It was given to them by their audience. From singing Bollywood music, English numbers to creating their own music, they are on a rocking journey

The Unplugged Project: Live music is about finding your audience

Pragati Saxena

They love music and they have been singing, but they have never had proper training in music. For the players in this vibrant band, music is something inherent in human spirit, a conversation with Manish and Aditya, lead singers and guitarists of this five-member band, reveals. Before this band came together, Manish had a day job but he always wanted to sing. Aditya always was a singer but was desperately looking for a satisfying platform. Aditya had forayed into playback singing and sang for a few films. But that did not satisfy him.

The duo met at a Karaoke bar which Manish ran and they realised that they had a ‘special’ connect. Their association finally culminated into the formation of a music band which “our audience themselves started calling ‘unplugged’, so we kept our name ‘unplugged’ only,” Aditya says with a smile on his face.

Though Aditya has had little formal training in music, he firmly believes that music comes from the within and, gradually, with practice, one starts singing or playing in tune. “Spontaneity is very important,” he says.

So, did he never have this fear of going out of tune while performing live?

“Well, this fear actually limits you. I don’t have this fear. I focus on singing and the audience,” Manish says in a confident manner. Aditya explains it in a more matter-of-fact manner. “See, when you are performing live, there’s a lot of movement. Toh sur kabhi kabhi chhoot jaata hai. (some times you go a little off tune) but never totally out of tune because at the very instant, you pick it up again.”

Dissonance nowadays is a new fad in the music industry. “Well, that’s not because the singers go out of tune. It’s more about auto tune, which I personally don’t like. The use of machines in music may sound like an interesting experiment, but is not really very creative,” Aditya says.

Aditya has had his hard days too. While struggling to find a place as a singer in Bollywood, there were days when he did not have enough money for a decent meal or local train fare. “But this is every struggler’s story in Bollywood. You never have it smooth in the beginning,” Aditya says.

So, what are their aspirations now?

“Well, everyone wants to go for playback singing. I want to do it too. But the excitement you feel during a live performance is unparalleled. I will never give that up,” Manish says.

But, isn’t it hard to establish a band in India since we really don’t have that tradition?

“You need a lot of patience. Gradually, of course, if you are competent, you carve out a niche for yourself. And there is enough space for everyone. So, what you really need is talent, confidence and a lot of patience,” a confident Manish says.

Hasn’t earning money been a problem since a music band still is an offbeat profession in India?

Both of them agree that they did not join hands to earn money but to sing to live audience and money gradually started coming in.

And there have been unpleasant experiences too. “Well no, I wouldn’t call them bitter experiences but yes, one or two unpleasant ones and that too are very minor. The only thing that disturbs you is when a person from the audience approaches you and whispers his choice of song in your ears while you are still singing,” Manish laughs.

The Unplugged Project is going places. It seems Manish and Aditya are happy and excited about it. Though they love singing all kinds of songs to a live audience, they aspire to play their own music and songs. “Till now, we have mostly written/ composed romantic songs but now we are writing songs on socio-political themes too,” says Aditya.

They also want to release an album, but it requires a huge amount of money. “However, as of now, we are happy performing live. And even if we bring out an album, we won’t give up on live performances.” Music and performance are the soul of this music band, it seems.

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