| 19 Jul 2024
The Nicest Punk Of Them All

MUMBAI: Rishu Singh is a real punk. An absolute punk. The punk who curates music nights in school auditoriums and stands outside the door to ensure there's no monkey business. The punk who would ridicule you for the pretentious fake look, but enter in a moshpit with you once inside the dark rooms of the venue playing unadulterated raw music. Pretty much similar visuals were witnessed last night at ennui.BOMB's 'Bomb Nights' featuring four active punk rock bands from the city. Monsoon in Mumbai has been as uncertain as the growth of an ‘indie’ band, however, that did not stop some 100+ punk rock fans from finding a way to blueFROG. And Singh sort of felt responsible for everyone’s eventual experience.

ennui.BOMB - the punk's multi-purpose music agency - was founded in 2004. Singh craved for something that the city did not offer quite often. He craved for madness, purity, dirt, and punk. In 1991, Singh was exposed to western music – or rock n roll, to be precise. And three years later, one magnificent day at ‘Rang Bhavan’ – the venue that has, in more ways than one, inspired all the existing music guys today – motivated Singh to say “F*** it” (probably for the 3455623rd time in his life). However, this time around, a challenging selfless journey concerning immense interest towards a particular genre followed the ‘F*** it’. Singh’s first gig as an organiser helped the bands walk out of the venue with 4,000 rupees each. In 2004. Singh had tasted blood. Music remained his only purpose.

To all those who may interact with Rishu Singh at some point in the future, here’s a bit of an advice. DO NOT ASK HOW HE INTENDS TO SURVIVE DESPITE MAKING NO OR LESS MONEY? “I don’t give a f***, bro,” replied Singh, on the question that would cause sleepless nights to other DIY organisers. Not this punk. “We want people to know that people like us exist today. People who just have one intention – promote music.” The intention has led to a series of initiatives including the New Wave Music Fest, Stupiditties and the monthly efforts like Open Mike Nights and Bomb Nights.

With an anti-establishment personality, Singh has grown indifferent to certain aspects to the alternative music community – be it the rise of a particular ‘cool’ genre involving only laptops or a live music franchise’s lost cause. The anti-establishment attribute, or in this case the dedicated evolving belief in his passions, helped Singh to quit his jobs offering fat pay-cheques at Sony and RollingStone and build a team of four people that manages a compilation of DIY gigs, a travelling festival featuring international bands,  and an identity that has set them apart from several similar initiatives. “What sets us apart is the insane desire and relentless drive to discover new talents,” summing up the entire purpose of ennui.BOMB’s existence.

So what does Singh intend to achieve with these efforts? “F*** that,” over the course of the interview, I sensed that one coming. “I do not want any credit. If I wanted to make money and fame, I would have organised the Dualist Inquirys and the Nucleyas. Through Open Mike nights, we have provided artists the platform to be exposed and discovered. And that has happened. Last night, several people discovered about ‘Gumbal' for the first time, and such incidents make me happy for what I do. Tomorrow you will go and support these bands at other venues and nights, and at the end of the day, the band/artist wins. What else would I want?”

The Urban dictionary of ‘punk’ suggests an interesting example -

"A guy walks up to me and asks 'What's Punk?'. So I kick over a garbage can and say 'That's punk!' So he kicks over the garbage can and says 'That's Punk?', and I say 'No that's trendy!"

Something Rishu Singh would definitely say and do, with a couple of “F***s” in it. Obviously.