Have you ever heard the songs Jolopropat, Nakhyatra, Dhulixona or Xarothi? If not, then you must have been surely living under a rock. These songs have now become a youth anthem, is created by a promising youth named Abhi Saikia.
Credited with bringing electronic dance music, or EDM as it is popularly known, to the corners of Northeast, Saikia’s songs are becoming a go-to YouTube click for dance parties across the region.
Saikia became the founder of Rainforest Records — an independent record label — in 2017. The basic aim of the label is to promote artistes of various genres of music in the Northeastern region of India. With Prabal Bora as the manager and Samiran Borgohain as the graphic designer, Raktim Hazarika as the head of digital production and Dhritiman Kakati as the PR of the record label, the team is a unique combination of youthful energy with a zeal to make the EDM scene grow in Assam.
During the recently-conducted Majuli Music Fesival, VibesMojo had the opportunity to talk with the maestro.
How did Rainforest Records happen?
Abhi: Rainforest Records is an independent record label and we try to promote artistes through it. I do the production myself and we are trying to feature vocalists from various parts of Assam and the Northeast as a whole.
Prabal: We started this independent record label around two years ago and our journey has been good so far. Our aim through the record label is to promote independent music in the Northeast region. Right now, we are promoting only EDM but we are also covering a lot of artistes. So, we hopefully try and promote indie music and hopefully promote the culture of indie music that is already growing.
Rainforest Records are known for its appealing visual art in songs. So how important is visuals in music making?
Samiran: You must have seen the album arts and there are a variety of it, be it EDM or metal. This art provides a visual vibe to the song which it showcases for when people listen they experience it only by their ears. But if we are able to incorporate both visual and auditory response then the experience is out of the world. You have seen Jolopropat and you have seen how we represented the waterfalls cutting through the hills. We do experimentation in artworks for we need to keep the influence as fresh as possible as if we keep on doing the same things it becomes stale. We keep on doing the visuals for indie artistes, including Abhi, for it is important. People are more developed and visual sense is very important.
How is the indie music scenario in Northeast?
Abhi: When we started, it was a fresh start and we didn’t expect the people to accept it. We have now got many views from YouTube, be it Jolopropat or Nakhyatra. We are also getting support from the audience as we are releasing new songs. We think if the audience keeps on supporting us this way, and it’s not only limited to us but other indie artists as well, we will grow together and individually as well. I believe that this support is very necessary, be it from the audience or the fan base. With this support we will keep on growing, release more songs, get more shows. Majuli Music Festival is a great platform for the artiste who has talent but has not got the opportunity to showcase it. It’s a really great initiative by the youngsters to create a different and unique identity which Majuli already has.
Prabal: It’s been growing and it is very encouraging to see all these music festival happening be it Majuli Music Festival or various other festivals happening in Guwahati as well. The indie music artistes are now getting a platform through these festivals. But if you ask me about the scene as a whole we see a beautiful growth. Let’s take Assam where Bihu is our heritage and if the attention that is given to Bihu was given to other art forms then the growth would have been in equilibrium. However, I do feel that the scenario is changing along with the entire landscape. This becomes a sense of motivation for indie artists and people like us who are trying to run a record label. We are trying to make things work as a record label and we also have an artist recruitment team so, we look and scout for talents all around the Northeast. So, I guess you can say that the growth that has been happening in the indie music scene in India as a whole has been really motivating for us. It has been giving us the energy to keep doing what we are doing right now.
With one hit after another, how do you keep yourself motivated to give a song that is better than the previous one?
Prabal: See that stress is always there, this guy (Abhi) ghosts out for seven months because he has to work in a song. Then we won’t be taking any shows because like you need that space in your head. Even though the stress is there, I feel like art shouldn’t be graded all the time. Sometimes musicians and artists should be given the creative freedom to do whatever they want to do. We do need to think about the listeners obviously but then again music is also a way of venting out for an artist. So I feel like what the artist feels, like what he wants to create is equally important as to what the audience wants to hear. So, I think there should be a balance of the both. So, the stress is always there but we are not thinking about it all the time. We are trying to put out new music and experiment on it.
Advice to aspiring artistes?
Abhi: My advice would be no matter what you do, always give it your 100% If you love doing some work then follow your dreams and passion. It will obviously be tough at first mainly to gain the trust from your parents. One needs to gain that trust first which is the first stage. Then come the next stage which would be tough on its own accord. However, the first stage is always the most difficult. Eventually when you face situations you will learn and grow.
Samiran: Curiosity and willingness to learn are also very important.
Abhi: Also, always be humble and one must not have an ego problem.