Welcome To The Cosmos: Audio-Visual Mavericks Tell Us What To Expect At Budweiser’s #MadeForMusic Made Stage Event Experience

Welcome To The Cosmos: Audio-Visual Mavericks Tell Us What To Expect At Budweiser’s #MadeForMusic Made Stage Event Experience

“We’re trying to create these imaginary universes that start off somewhere at the beginning of time, and then traverse through them in response to the musicians.” - Shazeb Arif S .

More often than not, alternating focus between two different expressions/ mediums of art gets a little tiring. On the rare occasion that they do happen to come together in some stunning show of synchronicity however, playing off each other’s foibles and strengths, you won’t find yourself struggling to understand singular parts anymore.

It’s the holistic approach that’s got your attention - the ability for different loops to grab all your senses’ attention, and this is exactly what stunning audio-visual collaborations across the globe have proved to us time and again over the past few years. India’s been slower to the take but now that we’ve found some bearings in the crossover collaboration space, things are really picking up.

And more than a few audio-visual efforts have found themselves worthy of painting themselves black in a sea of white sheep.

Despite hundreds of singular examples however, no one’s really developed a space to host uncharted experimentation in audio-visual collaborations but Budweiser’s attempting to take a stab at it tomorrow with their #MadeForMusic #MadeStage event. Before you write it off as just another gig, allow us to vouch for the fact that no one has attempted anything even remotely close to this in the country yet. And then allow us to provide you with a little context.

Two of the most unpredictable, progressive minds in visual experimentation are coming together with 4 musicians to create a combined experience like we’ve never seen before. “An abstraction of mankind’s understanding of the universe, which they’re trying to depict in poetic, visual song,” if you will.

Intended to be a four-part series, this was designed to be a quest to work with local artist in India enabling them to showcase their talent, bringing together an eclectic mix of musicians, visual jockeys, graffiti artist, sculptors, sound & light engineers and performance directors from around the country to create unique experiences, following them as they work together creating new sounds, visuals and experiences, culminating in multi-city events in key metros – Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru & Goa.
Rather than try to explain it to our readers ourselves, we caught up with all the artists—audio and visual—involved to get their individual opinions on what they have in store so scroll on to see who they are, and what they have to say about the event for yourself.

I. Sachin S. Pillai (Director/ Visual Artist)

Having stacked up a hoard of accomplishments to his name in the alternative music space already (he’s directed and shot incredible music videos for Sandunes, Nicholson, and Monica Dogra to name a few) this will be Pillai’s first foray into the ‘live visual generation aspect,’ and he’ll be doing so in collaboration with Shazeb Airf S (more on him below).

Here’s what he had to say about what they have in store for us today, and how it’s going to stand out:

“We’re going to be generating live visuals to music off chemical trays and household fluids as well as ferrous sludge to try and make very cool things happen at a macro level which we plan to transmit through appropriate lenses on to the show as well as Live Video Feedback, which is a wonderfully analogue technique. The unique part is that all this will be done on the spot, creating an abstract narrative in a live environment.”

In case that was a little difficult to stomach, we had a little glimpse of what they’re talking about so if you happen to be a bit of a science geek, all we can say is that this is where you want to be tomorrow.

II. Shazeb Arif S

Currently a creative director at Grey Worldwide, Shazeb is the kind of maverick that defies conventional labels. He actively pursues an incredible array of interests right from microbiology to art curation and he’s also been one of the main minds behind some of the country’s most progressive hubs of creativity whether its the Carnival of E-Creativity or the KYTA residency that took place earlier this year. He’ll be collaborating with Sachin S Pillai.

When probed about what might set this experience apart from others, he had a lot to say:

“It’s different in multiple ways! One of the first things that makes this sort of, uncharted territory, is that this is visually revved and that somebody is actually supporting something like this at all. Then there’s the fact that nothing is rehearsed. We’ve had conversations with the musicians and artists involved but it’s really about taking all the experiments we’ve been doing for the gig straight onto the stage, and continuing them there. Additionally, the idea of using a video mixer as a tool in performances is something new I think because that gives us the liberty to cut between different camera plus we’re possibly using video hardware for the first time maybe in a performance. I think from a resources point of view the kind of stuff that we’re using, you need to come to the gig to check it out. But yeah, this is definitely a little different from whatever we’ve seen, and we hope that we’ll see a lot more of this stuff and is also kind of pushing the visual boundaries a lot more.”

III. Arfaaz Kagalwala/ Fuzzy Logic (Musician/Producer)

One of the country’s most experimental and versatile musicians around, he’s got his fingers in many pies but he’s usually most comfortable in spaces like these, which allow him to adopt different measures of exploration to get to a final musical product. Having played many gigs with ‘live visuals’ before, Arfaaz admits that this one is a whole different ball game.

“In most of those cases it’s been a play of transitions and effects over pre-recorded or sampled video loops and images. As it has been with “live” electronic music as well which, for the most part is a similar play of effects and transitions over pre-recorded audio, loops, samples etc. This showcase however, is unique because it involves the creation of the elements (that make up a visual or the audio), right then and there. It brings the audience closer to the creative process and even allows them to interact and see the results of their corresponding interactions take shape on screen or through the speakers. Thus connecting with them at a deeper and more holistic level.”
On a more personal note, Arfaaz has been working towards strengthening the organic side of his electronic music by using analogue synths/sequencers and voices as his core tools for creating the sounds. “The idea was not only to be able to actually create and “play” electronic music rather than trigger it, but to also make performances more interactive and spontaneous. So I will be using my analog synth rig and a mic to spontaneously create sounds and rhythms as interpretations of the visuals instead of the other way around,” he explains.

Things get more abstract still when he tells us about the possibility of him literally live looping people’s voices as they speak about how the visuals on the screen make them feel and then integrate it into the track which he irreverently refers to as a ‘bunch of sounds that he hopes will correspond well together, and with the visuals.’

IV. Vandana Bhalla/ Bassister (Musician/ Producer)

Having carved a cozy niche for herself as a deep/acid house DJ, post more formative years playing bass guitar, Vandana’s always had an easy going approach to her artistry. She’s been comfortable pushing exactly what she loves, so it’s going to be interesting for her to be involved in a gig with such an elaborate visual set up.

Here’s what she had to say about her plans for the night:
“I’m really looking forward to seeing what Sachin & Shazeb have been working on. I’ve kept my set very tight and liquid though to go with the visuals.”
Something you’ll definitely hear from her if you swing by:

Vandana Bhalla felt a day go by’ remix by Vinayak A

V. Sohrab Nicholson (Musician)

We’ve been talking about Nicholson, someone whose sound we think has tremendous potential to go far, a lot here on Homegrown. In fact, we’re bang in the middle of releasing 3 of his music videos in collaboration with Sachin S Pillai, so he’s no stranger to the art of holistic conceptualising when it comes to his music. Still, he’s never been a part of a showcase of this scale either, so he’s looking forward to breaking new territory too. Especially since everyone partaking in it happen to be such good friends.

“Well we all have significantly different styles and sounds, so the evening should take you through a range of sonic and visual treats. My material because i play in a larger outfit, is fairly structured and rehersed. I’m only playing a 15-20 minute set for this show, but we’re trying to make it an impactful 20 minutes.”
Keep your ears peeled for ‘For What,’ a title track on his debut album that he’ll definitely be playing at the show.

VI. Arman Menzies/ Zokhuma (Musician/ Producer)

Possibly in the most nascent stages of his artistry off the lot, Menzies has a lot to prove but a handful of his recent releases have done their bit in showcasing his mettle. Given the fact that he’s only recently started to play live shows, this kind of audio-visual collaboration is a first for him personally but he’s been around the block enough to know exactly what sets it apart.

Here’s what he had to say about it:

“There’s a lot of freedom on this one. I’ve never done an audio visual collaboration before so this is quite exciting. Moreover, the kind of music being showcased is poles apart from a party gig. It’s more about taking all the sights and sounds in and just having a really weird but awesome evening. As far as my own set goes, i’ll be playing a lot of my own music off my EP. Plus i’ve just started doing this live set so there’s this excited nervousness that keeps me going. But I know Sachin and Shazeb are going to provide some stunning visuals for my music for sure.”

Conclusively, this isn’t the kind of trajectory that can be foretold or deliberately explained. Given the level of artistry involved on most accounts, this is likely to be one of the most interesting experiments in audio-visual design you’ll witness this year, and maybe even next. And since we don’t know if something like this will ever see a truly public platform like this again, you’d do well to show up and experience it first-hand.

Don’t know how?  Don’t know how? Just RSVP by emailing your contact details to rsvp@budweiserindia.com or just mention the names in the facebook comments below!

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