New Delhi: They are young and ambitious and raring to be played out in clubs and parties. More famous outside India, a bunch of four boys drawn from all four corners of India are rewriting the script of electronic music in the country.
Meet 'Jalebee Cartel', the electronic dance music band named after the sweet, twisty and ubiquitous delicacy, which has stormed into the global music arena and was featured recently on the cover of the Indian edition of 'Rolling Stones' magazine.
Moreover, the quartet does not want to be reduced to just another Bollywood jukebox. "Our music is a product of our lives- our experiences, our influences. But, always remaining a desire to create some transcendental experience for the listener. And we knew at the very inception that we did not want be some DJ jukebox, playing out latest groovy tracks from Bollywood films. We wanted to be original," says Ashwin, band member.
Launched in the year 2003, the musicians say their music has found more acceptance and endorsement from outside the country than in India. But, they say they want their music to 'talk to the Indian soul' just like how the "sweet and
complicated jaleebee has been ruling the Indian taste buds for ages."
"Music is a food for the soul. Ours is sweet,complicated, twisted and experimental very much like the Indian sweet. But we definitely went through at least 25 menus for naming our band before settling on 'jalebee'," says Ashwin whose band performed a gig recently here.
Apart from Ashwin and Ash on the vocals, other band members comprise Arjun Vagale from Pune, who helms the laptop and mixer and G-Force Arjun from Bangalore who provides backup vocals. Madhav/DJ Kohra also chips in, intermittently.
'Jalebee Cartel' has a packed lineup with performances from Canada to Australia. In between they have also enthralled and entertained millions of fans in Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, Singapore, Malaysia and Sri Lanka, among others.
"Not just our major fans but our first label also was from outside India. 'Helvetica Records' of Switzerland in 2004 gave us our first recorded label. In fact, India is a very small part, vis-a-vis our larger fan base globally," says the 36-year-old Ashwin.
The band first went international with their first single 'Beautiful Rising' in 2004 and it was only in 2009 they released their first Indian album 'Onepointnothing'.
"We were recognised first internationally and then our first album really kind of gave us a break back home. 'Beautiful Rising' was released with a Swiss Label but it was 'Tough Cookie' track from 'Onepointnothing' that really made us who we are. 'In fact, 'Beautiful Rising' also features in our album," says Ash, who hails from Kolkata.
The band was also invited to play at the Youth Olympics in Singapore recently and has been featured on Television and radio. So, what influenced these young minds to come up with this project and what has been their driving force in successfully sustaining a music genre which is not Indian per se and hence offers a lot of competition to western musicians of the genre.
"Well, we have grown up listening to classic rock, punk, progressive, heavy metal, among others. And, 'Chemical Brothers' and 'Daft Punk' we'd definitely include in our inspiration. But, over time our music became our own, born out of experimentation and a constant search for something new. We are, India's first electronic dance music and we are, taking it global," says Ashwin, who hails from Mumbai.
The technology-driven music platform is set to become more popular in the country says the band. "We believe India is a very tech-savvy nation and the evolution of technology and the presence of social media like Facebook and others will only propel our growth to make us reach out to people, in the years to come. Our, shows have already been streamed live in the past," says Ash.
"We were the first band here to release our music album, 'Onepointnothing' on a USB drive as well," he adds.