Springr, a destination studio, revives the concept that space enables creativity

Destination Kochi - true for holidayers heading to the city in search of an experiential vacation, where history marries culture. It holds good for artists wishing for traditional inspiration to unleash their art, it’s attractive as a wedding destination; its locales are perfect settings for films, and now its heritage, spaces, backwaters and by lanes are drawing musicians to unplug their music and record. Springr, on Bazaar Road, Mattancherry, is one such space that defines itself as a destination studio. It is set to hold its first live venture, hosting the renowned Electronic Dance Music (EDM) band – MIDIval Punditz on Saturday in the city.

The entrepreneurs

The brainchild of three young entrepreneurs, Dhanya Johnson, Ashwin Nath and Abhinav Sree, Springr is an incubator for art. It rolls in four different spatial aspects - an art residency, a music studio, a gallery and a café - into a wondrous space that is a hub for artists, musicians and free spirits.

Opened in December 2012, Springr has already hosted a couple of travelling artists and held shows of their work. But it is its music studio that is witnessing an effervescence in production of independent or non-conformist music. Sanjeev Thomas, lead guitarist with A.R. Rahman and a well known name in the field is the CEO and mentor of the music studio. He says, “I saw the space, met the team and felt it was doing pretty much what I had in mind. I joined in and my main contribution is in that area.”

Sanjeev has so far recorded three tracks at Springr- Puttu Pattu with Arun Thakara and two folk songs Chekele and Palli Vathikal. He is currently recording four new tracks for his second album scheduled for release in July.

“In terms of music Springr will create a new business model for artistes. We plan to endorse venues to create a live music scene, so that music is happening continuously at venues,” says Sanjeev, who has played music alongside A.R. Rahman for films such as Azhagiya Tamizh Magan, Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na, Delhi 6, Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa and the recent Rockstar.

Musical moods

He finds himself completely involved with Springr, which is poised to sign original artistes like Sherin Varghese, to do musical events. In the city they are working out details to restart a live music lounge. “It is also in terms of creating a whole musical community. It is very difficult for young musicians to sustain themselves. Springr will help an artiste bring out his\her best, market them and see them through establishing themselves. Kerala has many talented young musicians but not venues to support them,” says Sanjeev who now operates between Kochi and Mumbai.

Former lead guitarist with Indian rock band MotherJane, and popularly nicknamed ‘God Of Small Strings’, Baiju Dharmajan affirms the fact that such spaces help create unusual musical moods.

Roop Thomas, bass guitarist with Mumbai musical community Blakc is all excited with this unusual music space and concept. At Springr for recording he says with visible thrill, “Springr is bringing back what a studio stands for not just in terms of equipment but experience. This is what makes it a destination studio.” Hiren Chate, a percussion artist who will be playing the tabla in the ongoing track recording too is infected by the ambiance of the studio. “It feels like being in the Mediterranean,” he says all raring to make exclusive music.

Sound engineer, Sanu Dharan, 25, who is working with Fawad Taha, a Kashmiri intern, talks in terms of the studio bringing together “musical soul mates.” “This is not a regular studio. It brings people together to create music. Most artistes come here and they get inspired to play their instruments,” says Sanu who has mixed music for the film Immanuel and the popular short film Engane Thudangum

The young musicians are all stirred by the ambiance of the space. In days of yore artistes went to select spaces to get inspired, to let the music flow, to unplug. Springr seems to give them just that. But away from the music is founder techie Abhinav Sree, also founder of Innoz Technologies, says that he wished to create an identity outside technology. “We started looking for a space and I thought of a music studio.” Last six months have been hectic for the group planning, executing, delegating and finally they are all set to have their first musical gig.