| 17 Jul 2024
Music and art should be paid for says REProduce Artists founder Rana Ghose

MUMBAI: For the first time, Delhi-based artist management agency REProduce Artists curated an entire India-themed showcase called ‘The Rise of Electronic Music Production in an Indian Context’ at the South by South West festival in Austin, Texas. The line-up featured acts like Hashback Hashish, Sandunes, Heems as well as HVAD. spoke to REProduce Artists Founder Rana Ghose to give us more insight into the company.

How did you develop REProduce Artists?

It was an instinct reaction based on three factors; one, I was surrounded by friends in Delhi and other places who were making amazing music. Two, I suddenly found myself booking international tours for Charanjit Singh in 2012 - the intention was (and is) to make a film about his re-emergence as opposed to anything else. And third, I wanted to get the kind of access to make the kind of film I wanted to make.  I figured the best way forward would be to take on the management and booking of his shows and career. I realized, along the way, that apart from Bollywood and classical music, people had no idea of what was happening in India musically. I also realised that I really enjoyed tour and artist management.  All this comes from my other life as a filmmaker really, but underpinned by an eternal love for music and live performance.

When did you start managing your first band? Which was it?

It was Charanjit Singh, which began kind of by accident. The first tour I booked for him was in November 2012, in Europe. I found myself in the middle of this rather fascinating and sometimes bizarre series of live engagements that ultimately I found addictive.

REProduce Artists represents artists from various music genres. Comment on the versatility

I only work with artists who make music that I can feel - I am not, and cannot be, driven by pandering to anyone else’s expectations or trends.  If I cannot feel the music, I cannot work with it. I do not really get genres of music, I listen to everything from country to gabber to doom metal to breakcore and I cannot tell much of a difference between it all, as long as it is sincere.

Was this the first time REProduce Artists represented India at South by South West?

Yes, although Hashback Hashish independently attended the showcase in 2013, before I began to work with him formally.

What are your upcoming plans for REProduce Artists?

We, at REProduce Artists are looking at a way to move out of the model of free entry and corporate sponsorship/soft diplomacy grants for live events in India. It is just not sustainable and the curation is controlled by those who are keeping their eyes on how many units of whatever product they represent move, or what imported cultural significance it may have, as opposed to what is really important - the music alone, as an objective reality.  It may be that many are used to not paying for live music in India as it stands now (and within this growing scene of “indie” music) but I feel that music and art should be paid for. It is not fair to think that artists should play for free, nor is it sustainable to always rely on some brand/cultural body to buy out tours or shows outright. 

Beyond India, I have a few more tours lined up in China and Europe for some artists I work with under REProduce, as well as a few more who I will be adding to the roster.  We have also had some labels sniffing around, which reflects another goal - vinyl releases of this music with global distribution, and there is also a world of publishing and licensing out there. There are some film projects in the pipeline as well for a variety of producers on the artists we represent and love.

In your opinion, what is the investment required to start an artist management agency and consistently showcase new music talent?

Time, patience, espresso, and nerves of steel; the latter running contrary to said espresso consumption, but you get the idea.

How many new artists do you plan to start managing in 2015, if you plan to start managing any?

I would rather not say who, but the magic number is three.