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Interviews |  27 Aug 2018 19:47 |  By RnMTeam

Azaadi Records aims to develop artists from communities and cities that usually don't get an opportunity: Uday Kapur

MUMBAI: Azaadi Records Co-founder Uday Kapur has been a music journalist, covering the indie music scene for the past four years. He has covered events which include NH7, BorderMovement, BuzzFeed Longform, Rolling Stone, and Tehelka.  

He also worked with OML and was in charge of the hip-hop roster before setting up the label, Azaadi Records. Being in the Independent music space for quite a while now, Kapur has a lot of information to share on the same, about which, he talks in an exclusive interview with Radioandmusic.

Can you give us a brief on your music?

Azaadi Records aims to develop artists that come from communities and cities, which usually don't get an opportunity to be a part of the independent scene. We work with artists, who have a strong narrative to tell about who they are and the issues their community is facing, through their music.

Do you agree that times have changed for indie artists over the last few years?

We've gone from having regular gigs at Rang Bhavan and Hamsadhwani to depending on four to five venues in three to four cities for doing the same shows. Yes, international presence is growing but I still feel like there's a lot of work to do to in order to make the scene more equitable and viable for all kinds of artists plus audiences.

What according to you are the benefits as well as drawbacks of being an independent musician?

I'm not sure about answering this as a musician, but as someone involved in the industry, the hardest part is to take a stand on an issue, publicly, and stick with it without making compromises. For example, we're the only ones as a label to come out against High Spirits no other label/ publication in the industry has publicly come out. Pros, I guess the best pros is also to take such stands and help restructure the scene so it's a better, more progressive place for all.

What do you think budding Indian indie artists need to do in order to make a mark in the scene?

Have a unique narrative to tell and get rid of the chip on their shoulder that the world or the scene owes them something. Focus on your sound and perfecting that, you'll get big if it's good.

 What do you think the music industry should do to promote indie artists?

The main thing the industry needs to do is get out of the metropolitans (Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore) and find talent in Tier II / Tier III cities. Also create something for artists and audiences that live there.

What are your views on the current spate of young indie artists who are creating music in regional languages?

More power to them, I think it's important to highlight the diversity; we have in terms of languages. It also helps to talk as well as raise awareness about issues from that region, making it more impactful for the local audience. 

Which form of Indian folk music do you personally like?

I am a huge fan of Dalit activist / communist folk singers such as Bant Singh, Gaddar, Ginni Mahi, Kabir Kala Manch, etc. I think it's super important to document their songs and make sure we don't let songs that have defined a lot of protest movements in the country get lost to history. 

If you had to make a song about India, what theme would you make it on and why?

Given the current state of affairs, I guess as a label, we're making a song about the rise of fascism and authoritarianism, under the watch of the current government.

 Could you relate one anecdote/instance during a concert that made you feel 'wow, this is why India is so incredible’?

I think the recent Azadi Records showcase gig, we did at Above The Habitat in Mumbai, was one, which gave me hope about what this scene could be - newer audience, no profiling at the gate, etc.