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Techie-rockers: a new sound out of India

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IT professionals by day, rock musicians by night, that’s how the seven bandmembers of Bangalore’s Agam describe themselves.

They all played music as kids, but their musical collaboration started in an unlikely place - the Birla Institute of Technology & Science in Pilani. While they slogged through classes in computer and software engineering, they didn’t give up on their musical interests either.

Agam’s drummer, Ganesh Ram, says between classes in computers and software engineering, they jammed in music rooms, and performed in inter-college competitions.

After graduation, they found jobs with top IT companies and settled into their professions. But they didn’t forget about the music. The Agam sound is a new addition to India’s contemporary music cornucopia: Carnatic rock.

New concept
“Agam has members from different musical backgrounds,” says Ganesh Ram. While some band members are well trained in traditional South Indian classical - or carnatic - music, others play the keyboard, guitar, or drums.
 
“We added a lot of funk and jazz to it and that’s how we came up with our concept of contemporary carnatic rock.”

Yes to online music
While most musicians complain about the revenues they lose to internet piracy, Agam sees it differently. They hope people will buy their music after they hear it online.

“It’s exposure,” Ganesh Ram says. “And it’s faster access to music. Once they listen to our music they will surely come back for more.” 

A multilingual band
Although the members of Agam don’t speak or understand all of India’s languages, they’ve sung in Hindi, Tamil, Punjabi, Urdu, Malayalam, and even Sanskrit. Agam’s Guitarist Praveen Kumar, laughs as he confesses “Other than our vocalist Harish, none of us can speak more than two lines in Hindi.”

Although English is their only common language, they have never sung in it.  Why? “We sing for a different audience,” says Ganesh Ram. “The school of thought we come from would never suit English. It will sound-  you know - put on.” 

Future
What lies ahead?  They don’t know. But the band members are happy to combine their lives as musicians and ‘techies’.

Agam members spoke to South Asia Wired’s Dheera Sujan from Bangalore. Click on the link below to hear Ganesh Ram, Vignesh Lakshminarayanan, Suraj Satheesh and Praveen Kumar talk about their rock-techie lives, and give us a taste of their music.
 

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