Whenever people hear Chandigarh, they think of a lot of things but a diverse or even existent indie music scene would not be one of them. However, there was a point of time in Chandigarh when bands were coming up trying to get some songs out and were having small gigs around the city. I like to consider myself as an insignificant observer/participant and like to feel cool about myself. I would try to give you guys a highly biased view about the good old days.
I think it was 2008-09 and I had started to explore music on my own away from my parents and friends choices. I had just discovered YouTube and I still remember Linkin Park was the thing in every teenagers life. I think at some point I had started to learn how to play guitar like every kid around my age. Rock On had just released and the masses were realizing that there is something as playing in a band. Right around this time Channel V came out with Launchpad and boom for me that was it. People my sister’s age were making good music and fighting it out, I was hooked, some of the favourite Indian bands from today were starting out at that point of time Superfuzz, Demonic Resurrection, The Circus to name a few.
ATM a band from Chandigarh was playing in V Launchpad too. I think this was one of the major boosts for people around the city. A band made from students of the City’s University was getting some real recognition. Soon enough other names started floating around, Harmonic Friction which had an Alt Rock Coldplay inspired sound, Area 231 which according to me one had one of the better guitarist from the city playing with them. Right around this time there was another band coming up The Local Train, the band which would turn out to be quite big had its humble beginnings here, I think I have heard these guys multiple times. Old School Tie, which still puts up video of mash-up Hindi songs, started in Chandigarh too. Although, they had a completely different sound back then, this sound was very different from what the other guys were playing. What was great about these bands were that they were not going on stage and doing covers they had their own compositions which a lot of people did not care about back then. These guys were coming out with EP’s and were pushing new singles and were honestly experimenting and discovering themselves.
Some major credit has to be given to a band Hence Proved, who started with a rock concert called Back to Life. Apart from the usual university level battle of the band competitions, Back to Life was doing its best to promote the scene and was selling tickets in huge amount. However, it showed a lot of us(the hopeful lot) the reality. Most of the people were not actually there for the music but were there because it was fashionable to do so. No one except a selected few really cared what the band on the stage was playing. Slowly these bands started disappearing, these guys were graduating shifting to different cities and were hopeful that what they tried to create would grow strong.
Soon enough the worse trend hit the city which was people trying to play “fusion” music in clubs. The formulae to make people come to these clubs was quite simple, get a band to play famous Hindi songs on the guitar with the percussionist playing anything except the drums and have a photographer cover the event every week and post the photos on Facebook. This was the final blow, the idea of original compositions started dying out because it wasn’t what would actually attract the crowd. The idea of having people play different kind of music wasn’t also pleasing because what people wanted to hear was the same old thing but with some spice to it. EDM had started to take over, Back to Life over the years started seeing less and less turnout with people being even more disinterested and the last I heard it has actually become an EDM concert.
A lot of bands came in between trying to carve out an exception for them, Shimla as a city was showing some promise but soon enough they also fizzled out.
I term the gone by era as the Golden Period but honestly no one would really care about what I say, I am random dude online killing time. People over the years have tried to make a change, The Backroom is trying to shake things up a bit, and they got bands like Peter Cat recording and Harpreet to play live. But how long will they last?
Here are some links to the bands discussed above. I highly suggest giving them a listen. I have added some links to people who I could not discuss above but it doesn’t make them any less important.
- Harmonic Friction Disappear used to be my favorite https://soundcloud.com/harmonicfriction
- Area 231 Everyone Loves a love song has remained my favorite baseline https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8zkNbrv2ZE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65fGlIm5i_o
- Old School Tie I used to fangirl about their bassist who was also playing for Area 231 https://www.reverbnation.com/oldschooltie
- Fused, maybe the last band from the city I heard about https://www.reverbnation.com/fusedtheband
- Hence Proved, had the most common end that any band faces “creative differences” https://soundcloud.com/henceproved
- There was this band called The Red Balloon, came out with two songs somewhere online played live once they were amazing I had never heard anyone play like that, bunch of geniuses, if someone knows where the music is online please hit me up.