Music

Raghav Meattle and the growing tribe of young indie ‘Conemunity’

As much as we have missed big ticket theatre releases this year, the absence of film, and film music, has thrown up one advantage for the country’s independent musicians — the freedom to experiment with different music styles, and still have an audience willing to listen.

This, Raghav Meattle believes in. His latest track ‘Zindagi’, with Rohan Shetty aka Shor, is one such experiment into bedroom pop electronica. In the five years that Mumbai-based Raghav has been in the indie scene, the track is only his second original in Hindi, and sees his vocals go more grunge than polished pop.

“Rohan sent me the track, and I said I would love to sing for it,” says Raghav over the phone, explaining what ‘Zindagi’ means to him, “As an artist, you want a life rid of complexities, which lets you focus just your art. Whereas it is actually anything but that; you are constantly planning for the next five years, and you’re in your own head the whole time. This song is me wishing life was like when I had dreamt of being a musician at 15.”

The song’s release coincided with his birthday on December 3, and is his third single this year after ‘City Life’, and ‘Parchayi’. Raghav will be playing the latter two, along with tracks from the movie What Are The Odds and his first album Songs From a Matchbox, at online music festival, From The Island’s weekly Sunday gig.

Raghav Meattle and the growing tribe of young indie ‘Conemunity’

“I haven’t played live with my band in the last nine months, so I jumped at the opportunity,” he exclaims. “This festival has become a really good celebration of independent music, and now really is the time to regroup as a community.”

Stronger together

A man of his words (and word-based jokes), early this year, Raghav had started ‘The Conemunity’, a platform for young artistes trying to penetrate the music industry.

“At the peak of lockdown, in April, I had shaved my head and appeared on an Instagram Live,” says Raghav. Friends did as friends will, and started trolling him for his new (lack of) hairdo.

Getting in on the joke, Raghav started a series of Lives, appearing with his bald head on an ice-cream cone filter. “I would accept join requests from random people. This continued every night for one and a half hours at 11 pm, after winding up work,” he says.

This would eventually snowball into The Conemunity, becoming a quasi-open mic for aspiring musicians. “I discovered so many new artistes. In the past four to five months, I have interacted with almost 800 artistes from across the country,” he says.

Over time, he began doing showcases, getting four artistes every month to perform on Zoom. “For four editions straight, we would get 120 bookings by people who paid ₹300 each. The artistes playing were all 18-19 year olds, some of them getting paid for their gigs for their first time, and who didn’t otherwise know how to go about making money from music,” he says.

Since October, when the Instagram Live fatigue hit, Raghav has been trying to experiment with the format, holding livestreams from studios and workshops on musical skills like playing the guitar and drumming, as well as marketing-based ones such as how to go about releasing your music, choosing the right distributor, and building a brand on social media. “When I started out at 22-23 years old, it was hard, because the music industry doesn’t have a recognised mentorship process. Some of this information is tricky, and you need to hear from someone who has already done it,” says Raghav.

The Conemunity Unplugged, a sister page, also has a link to a Spotify playlist with almost 100 originals by the country’s young musicians. Pointing to the boom of new releases during the pandemic, Raghav says that one of the main conditions of The Conemunity is for people to play their original songs. He says, “I want to take it to a level where it almost becomes a one-stop shop for all young musicians and artistes who are getting into the industry and need to upskill faster. If one of us puts out a song, 40 people will share it: that’s the kind of vibe I want this community to have.”

Raghav’s gig for From The Island is on December 13, 5.45 pm. Tickets at www.skillboxes.com

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Printable version | May 15, 2021 2:47:28 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/raghav-meattle-indie-music-and-the-conemunity/article33298575.ece

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