Something Relevant Launches A Recording Studio
When we visited Something Relevant at their new recording studio in Parel, we met two people we weren’t expecting to see. We bumped into multi-instrumentalist Sankarshan Kini at the door and saw Arfaaz Kagalwala on the drum kit. They had come with jazz pianist Sharik Hasan to jam at the group’s three-week-old Cotton Press Studio inside the Parel Cotton Press Factory. “[One of the] main aims of the studio is to build a community,” says Something Relevant’s drummer Jehangir Jehangir. “There are so many awesome musicians in the country [but] you don’t have that culture where musicians just meet and jam with each other.”
The 1,200 square feet studio is a former cotton press that was being used as a warehouse for laminates before the band found it. The landlord just happened to be an audiophile and thus ended the sextet’s four-year long search for its own studio where they can compose, rehearse, record and just “be creative”. “We’ve jammed at Tweak Freq in Wadala, and at studios in Juhu and Bandra,” says bassist and lead vocalist Stuart D’Costa. “There are a lot of jam rooms coming up but they’re damn small. For bands like us, there wasn’t enough space. The acoustics weren’t good enough for Ryan’s saxophone or for percussion [instruments] to be heard properly. In Bombay the only other place you can do what we do here is Yash Raj [Studios]. All six band members recording simultaneously—you can’t do that anywhere else.”
The band hired Munro Acoustics, the same chaps who kitted out Blue Frog, to design their studio, and scored endorsements with Sennheiser for microphones, and with MX for cables, while music store Furtados provided amps and mic stands. While the idea of an Indian indie band setting up their own studio might sound both unusual and unaffordable, STR, as they are known to their fans, are after all the same act that sponsored their own tour of the UK in 2010 and went on hiatus for six months to join music school–the Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music in Chennai–to hone their skills, in 2011 almost a decade after they first stepped on stage. The studio is the latest manifestation of their D-I-Y philosophy that’s comparable to that of Bangalore bands such as Swarathma and Thermal and a Quarter.
STR is currently recording their long-awaited second album, which they hope to wrap up by September, in the studio, which is as much a labour of love as it is a business enterprise. “If it works for us, it will also work for other bands,” says guitarist Tanmay Bhattacharjee, who is also one of the in-house engineers at the studio along with SAM batch mate Rohan Ramanna. They plan to open bookings, at Rs2,500 per hour, by the end of August but “if you’re an indie band then you talk to us,” says Bhattacharjee. All six members of Something Relevant plan to double up as producers whose services can be hired if a band so wants.
In addition to a Pearl drum kit, a Kurzweil keyboard, and vintage upright piano brought in from saxophonist Ryan Sadri’s home, bands get access to the STR crew who will be around to lend a hand. “We understand the problems that other bands may have,” says Jehangir. “We don’t want to stress them out. Creativity has to be allowed to flow. [It shouldn’t be] ‘your hours are over, now you have to pay more’. If a band wants to record their whole album, we can fix [a deal] with them.” The biggest benefit of the studio, he says, is the speed at which they can now deliver their music to listeners. “If we want to put out a single, we do it,” said Jehangir. “After October, we want to constantly have new releases.”Tags: Cotton Press Studio, Music, Something Relevant
Cotton Press Studio
LocationParel Cotton Press Factory
Next to St. Mary's Church
PhoneCall 98206 60907 to make bookings or for further information