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News |  01 Dec 2012 13:30 |  By Poonam

Sonya Mazumdar: "IndiEarth Xchange 2012 is a platform for development of indie artists and industry"

Independent music is at last getting its day in the sun. Festivals such as NH7, Raagastan, have been providing a platform for what was earlier an ignored music genre.  Another impressive effort was made late-November by  IndiEarth Xchange 2012  - an EarthSync initiative - which assembled scores of independent music professionals and film makers for the festival which was held in Chennai over three days.  They huddled together to share their view points and discuss key issues, along with talented non-mainstream artists from across the globe representing traditional and contemporary music.

The firepower behind the fest is EarthSync India founder Sonya Mazumdar whose passion for independent music drove her to pioneer the initiative in Chennai. The lady makes no bones that there are holes in the indie scene, and her endeavor is to plug them and create a vibrant indie music scene in the country. caught up with Mazumdar to get her view on the objective of the fest, challenges faced while  promoting independent music in India and her future vision for the industry.


To start with, we would like to hear from you on IndiEarth Xchange 2012? What is it all about and what prompted you to come up with the fest?

It’s basically a trade event for the music and film industry, with a focus this year on music. We have been in the industry for so many years and struggled a lot. We are the record label and production house ourselves. Being in the industry for ten years with heartbreaks and struggles we have finally reached a place where we are reputed in this fraternity.

From those struggles, IndiEarth was born, a platform where we connect India's independent artists, international musicians and film-makers to worldwide Media. It’s a platform where media, radio and internet can explore music. The second aspect of this project is XChange, which is targeted at industry professionals for business, information, and resource exchange. IndiEarth project is a multi-dimensional chamber with different components -  one is online and the other is about exchange of resources, knowledge, and creating a network for artists and professionals. It’s going that  extra mile, going to the next step to give resources to independent artists.

We have initiated IndiEarth XChange 2012, which focuses on building infrastructure for Indian independent artists. We also have music showcases and independent film-streaming.

How did you raise funding for Xchange 2012? Are there any advertisers on board?

It’s primarily an EarthSync initiative, with private investors and sponsors, who support this  initiative, and believe in EarthSync's vision.

What are the key major highlights of the fest?

I think the most exciting aspect of XChange is the coming together of Indian and International industry professionals and musicians, from over 12 countries, a coming together with a positive approach and intention to think and work out of the box to find ways of growing the Indian Independent music field and build networks for artists in the region and other countries in the Indian Ocean.

Is it on the lines of popular fests like I-Rock, NH7 Weekender or Sunburn?

It’s more of a trade event as compared to  other music festivals.

What were the major roadblocks/challenges in putting up an event of such a scale?

It is actually a question of how does an independent artist grow as there is a lack of resources. When I say resources it’s not always about money. It’s also about information, networks and an organized platform where they can connect on bookings, production, venues, opportunities. I think that's the biggest challenge,  even if it's pretty much happening sporadically around the country. The more people connect, contribute and discuss with each other, the growth will be greater. We need to connect and work as a collective;  it’s amazing how much of support flows  from India and abroad.

Is there any entry fee?

IndiEarth XChange 2012 is a free event. Shows and film screenings are absolutely free, everyone is welcome! About 150 people will attend the conference, on a registration basis. Because of limited numbers we can't stretch more than that as it's pretty much houseful already. There is no fee.

Give us a brief idea about EarthSync?

EarthSync was born in 2004 when we started off with a studio. Our first production LAYA PROJECT,  was about indigenous communities on the areas that were affected by the tsunami, working with traditional music in a contemporary in context. And that was followed by several productions, live shows, and music festivals over the years.

EarthSync is the mother company and IndiEarth is EarthSync' initiative. EarthSync is an independent music label, the corporate entity, and IndiEarth is a platform created for the development of  Indian independent artists in  India. It is an online platform that connects India’s independent, musicians and filmmakers with radio, TV, internet and print media, and offers resources and tools for artist development and promotion.

Was it tough to attract advertisers for the event?

Absolutely not. The first four months were difficult in the sense that we had to create awareness about what this platform was all about. Once it became apparent, we received so much support. It is amazing to have a lot of collaborations and partnerships. It’s something that makes me really humble. This collective effort is really what IndiEarth is all about. It is not all about my company or my initiative but creating a huge global connection where each and every entity works together with others in a committed way for the independent music scene in India.

Do you plan to come up with the second edition of the event?

Absolutely. We are planning the second edition of the event. I think the conversation has begun and it’s going to continue throughout the year.