RadioandMusic
| 23 Oct 2018
blueFROG to open in Bangalore in late March, early April

MUMBAI: blueFROG, the live music venue in Mumbai recently expanded the brand by opening another blueFROG in Pune. blueFROG MD and EVP Sumer Vaswani spoke to Radioandmusic.com’s Aashay Dalvi about the brand’s ongoing expansion. blueFROG is currently under renovation with the revamp launch set for 15 January. This is also the first time Vaswani has been available to give an interview. blueFROG is currently the music partner for the upcoming Sulafest in Nashik.

Excerpts:

How did you become a part of blueFROG?

We (NP Group of Industries) have been passive investors in this business since 2011. And, as the business started expanding, we started increasing our investments in the company. We took on executive roles in late 2014.

Have you noticed a difference when you were a passive investor and now when you are active?

There is no difference as such. We have been actively trying to promote this business for the last few years. We are just re-inventing our corporate structure. We have changed our recruitment style to make sure that the brand moves to the next level in a very professional manner.

What changes have you made as an MD?

Well, from the administration perspective, blueFROG has changed from being a single-owned company to a privately held successful conglomerate with businesses across the world. I representing the NP Group now run the operations. But the change in management will not affect our programming or our live acts.

What genre of music do you plan to push under the blueFROG umbrella?

We have never pushed any one genre. We have always been a club or a venue which promotes all genres of music, largely independent music. I do not really see us as promoting one genre in particular. After the revamp, what we would do is, schedule live music on Wednesdays or theatre on Thursdays or electronica on Fridays or Sufi or folk on the weekends. We are trying to segment our week now, but live music of any genre will always be promoted.

What are your plans to expand the brand in 2015?

We are looking for like-minded individuals to partner with us. Our Pune blueFROG has luckily started on a successful note. And our partners in Pune, Govind Thakkar and Ishant Bhale are extremely dedicated and devoted to the music scene in promoting it. We are opening up another blueFROG in Bangalore by late March this year, or early April. Our partners there to Raksharam and Sunderam are extremely like-minded people with a passion for this kind of business. We are getting enquires from across the country, but we are being extremely careful about which partner to appoint for which city.

What is blueFROG’s take on A&R in the country?

We have been the frontrunners in A&R in India since we started in 2007. Before blueFROG, there was no live scene at all. We resurrected the live scene in the country. A lot of bands have been popularised after having played at blueFROG. We plan to continue our course of discovery as we move forward. Discovering new talent has always been on the fore front of blueFROG and that will continue. There was a TimeOut article that stated blueFROG has been a ‘gamechanger’ in the field of live music.

Will you have more properties such as The Leap Frog and Ribbit in 2015?

There are a lot things in place and we are hopeful. It is also largely based on the network and we are always welcome to partner with them for properties. ‘Ribbit’ was in fact jointly developed by blueFROG and Pepsi MTV Indies.

Which have been the lesser known music artists to have received maximum traction via blueFROG?

There is no one music act in particular that have received major traction. Most of the independent artists who have performed in blueFROG have been very well received. We also have this block called ‘The Early Set’, through which we encourage the up and coming music acts to showcase their talents. Coke Studio actually came to us because of ‘The Early Set’.

What has been the average turnout per concert in blueFROG in 2014 and what are your expectations going forward?

2014 has been a difficult year in the F&B industry throughout the country. Strong competition and inflation are a few reasons. We understand our brand, but we will continue growth for the same.

How is blueFROG on the marketing front?

We have no on-ground marketing; it is all over social media and digital marketing. We had our digital growing all along, and that was not connected to us discontinuing our on-ground marketing.

In addition to starting blueFROG in Bangalore, any other plans for the brand?

We hope to sign a couple of more healthy franchises this year. We are putting a plan into place for creating a smaller version of the blueFROG brand. If all goes well, we should have five-six blueFROGs across the country including Bombay.