| 04 Oct 2023
A quarter slice of music at Live at The Quarter

MUMBAI: Indian music scene needed a musician who promotes the young talent and unheard genres. Ashutosh Phatak, seems to be the answer for that. Mastermind behind thousands of commercials in 90’s, founding partners of blueFROG, The True School of Music and currently one of the Co-founders of The Quarter, Ashutosh has taken many miles to promote music at its best in India.

“When I started out I used to see lot of musicians apprentices hanging out together, but did not know what to do. The scene for live concerts of Indian classical music was better than western and contemporary. That is also because lack of education in the given genres. I studied music formally in The United States of America, which helped me understand music better. Taking formal education in anything helps you define the vocabulary well. This was the exact reason why we started The True School of Music,” explains Ashutosh.

Along with education, there was also a dearth of platforms to present multi genre music, and that’s how blueFROG came into existence. “blueFROG was also one of the first places in India to present EDM live. That time EDM was parallel music, today it has become mainstream.”

After blueFROG, a hotspot for live music, stopped their operations, there was no place dedicated for live music. Ashutosh,collaborated with legendary percussionist Ranjit Barot, businessman Nakul Toshniwal, and restaurateur Nico Goghavala to establish The Quarter. The place gives you a complete food & beverage and music experience.

Live at The Quarter, gives what Mumbai art and culture circuit needed-a vibrant place for live music and most importantly for all genres. Located in the newly restored Royal Opera House in Mumbai , The Quarter is similar to 1950’s art deco jazz bar. Ashutosh shares, “We started with a concept of building an exclusive and unique property. Within nine months, the place has got amazing feedback. There are enquiries about expanding within Mumbai and International circuit. Our inbox is full with artistes approaching us to perform here. We are more than happy to extend a platform for all genres of music."

"We don't just do bookings. Having someone like Ranjit and myself, we make sure that we bring forth concepts and develop them. Also, because of The True School of Music, we have lot of raw talent and international faculty. Like if we think of having a Cuban night, we know a group of Cuban jazz musicians. We also focus on improvisations more than set patterns of music. This engages the audience well, " says Ashutosh.

The music enthusiast has seen the transformation of the music scene closely and thus says, "Fortunately, we have to come to a point where people are willing to pay to listen to a band. Initially, it wasn't like this. Also, due to a combination of exposure to new things and education, the quality of talent is more polished."

Live at the Quarter, within a short span of time has seen new talent and veterans like Ustad Taufiq Qureshi and each week they plan an exciting extravaganza for the audience. The location and prices might give an impression of it being for the elite only, however Ashutosh differs, " We haven't done this for the sake of being called niche. It has to be a handshake between the audience and the artistes."

After many successful music oriented ventures, Ashutosh shared his main intention, "I want people to know that music can be a full fledged career. There are so many streams to choose from; it's just not performance but arranging, programming and so many other options. And they earn as much as a rich banker would."

A music venue that puts the music first, Live at The Quarter, with its state-of-the-art acoustics, is sure to be on the bucket list of every performer in India, if not the world.