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News |  17 Dec 2009 16:55 |  By harpreetkhokhar

Agnee - "We are never going to charge for music"

MUMBAI: They claim to be the first band to release an album before going ahead with juggling with live gigs.

After garnering plaudits for their debut album 'Agnee' with as many as five videos released, Agnee the band has managed to continue spearheading the mainstream music scene. The band comprises five members including Mohan Kannan (vocals), Koko (Guitar)- the duo compose the music along with Varun (drums), Rushad Mistry (Bass Guitar), Michael Pereira (Rhythm Guitar)   

The band has recently re-launched a track for MTV's much hyped reality show Roadies. Talking about the flavour of the Roadies theme song Mohan Kannan explains, "The song called Jeet lenge yaar was composed song some years ago for Roadies. This year, we decided to revamp the song to suit the need of the show. It is a very performance oriented track with a Rock n Roll feel to it."

The song will be splashed over television from 20 December and will be available for downloads on the internet from 21 December.

The band has earlier composed tracks for MTV's other reality shows including Splistsvilla and Teen Diva. The Splistsvilla track earned the band a lot of appreciation. "We had recorded the track earlier and when we were approached to do a song for the show we decided to use it. Despite being an instrumental track without any lyrics, the tune of the track was very soft and melodious and we were very skeptical whether it would be suitable for the show which necessarily did not portray those emotions. But at the end we were very happy with the way the track has been interspersed in the show.

It is also one of the biggest songs for us in terms of response. Now, one-and-a-half-years down the line, there are people from as far as Thailand, mailing us to say that they love the music. The track helped us increase our visibility," adds Kannan enthusiastically      

The band which was originally a three member team split with its lead singer Arijit last July. "The sound of the band has not changed drastically. Arijit's cannot be replaced, but we have been fortunate enough to get talent which is good in its own respective way. The only change that can be felt is the presence of a single voice on stage now. Otherwise there has not been any conscious effort on our part to do so." 

Since the launch of their first album in 2007, Agnee has yet to officially release a second. However, they have been releasing new songs one by one on their website (which already has a following of 4,705 registered fans). The band plans to take its own time and include only those songs in the new album which have been popular on the internet with their fans.

"In an entire album only two or three tracks work. Not all tracks can be promoted equally funds being the constraint. Which is when we decided to go digitally and release one song at a time so that each track gets ample time to go down with the audience and according to their preference they can download it free of cost."

"Another problem is that the quality of the downloaded MP3s is so terrible, that it spells doom for our music,... says Kannan, so we thought that we might as well release good quality music ourselves on our website, so people can download legally and our songs get a wider reach,... he further explains      

Talking about exploring the internet space Kannan says, "It is not the platform that matters but the promotion on the platform that is more important. Vidoes dont get place on television anyway owing to Bollywood and reality shows phenomenon on music channels. Hence exploring the internet is a good option. The medium is still untapped and there is a long way to go.

Releasing music online helps us in two ways. It is a good way of audience participation where in the audience can choose to listen to the track they want and not be dumped with the entire CD. Secondly it is free of cost. So we the creator of the music are not at the mercy of the labels. The quality of the music in under the control and so is the promotion. Generally when you release an entire album the songs which are not promoted are dumped as fillers. We do not want any song to be used as fillers," Kannan says 

The band which calls itself a people's band explains, "We mean that we want people to be involved in the song-making process,... explains Kannan. "We held a contest among the public to put words to the Splitsvilla Theme Song, the band is now conducting a poll to decide which song from their new album should be released as the first single." Once the single is out next month, the rest of the songs will release gradually on their website."  

There will be eight-nine tracks which will be released online one at a time. Along with the Roadies Theme song, the album will have a Punjabi love song, a funk track apart from several others. "We might also release a CD as well for those who are not glued on to the internet. The CD will be out third quarter next year." 

Interestingly, the band does not have a lyricist. "Song writting is a process which none of us have mastered. Hence we generally have someone write the lyrics for us. Couple of our songs have few dohas of Sant Kabir. Sometimes our friends also chip in. Our latest song titled Ranjhan Yaar di and has been written by Shailendra Singh Sodhi (who also wrote the lyrics for the famous Dev.D song Pardesi."

The band also has a property called "Create With Agnee" where in it will undertake a nation wide hunt to look for a singer who will then record the next track along with the band. The on-ground contest will take place in six cities of the country covering every region and the winner will be declared in Febuary next year. "It is a part of our startegy for increased audience participation,"Kannan adds.

Kannan is also very optimistic about the Live music scene in the country. "The energy in a Live gig is something that can only be experienced and is unmatched. Survival of the genre was difficult three-four years back. Their are new venues that have come up and the picture seems to be getting rosier now. Bands which are good are getting their fair share. Audience is also very keen to listen to Live music and things are looking better though there is still a lot that has to be done to spread this culture."

Apart from its album and touring the country with its gigs the band is also composing for a hindi film titled Gulab Gang the music of which will release next year. The album will have six main tracks and one extra. They have earlier also composed a track for the film Dil dosti etc. "We will never be main stream Bollywood composers. We love our live acts way much to give it up," Kannan concludes.