While the Indian independent music scene has since established its presence over the past few years, survival is still a tricky game in this pond of raucous creativity. Indian crowdfunding platforms like Wishberry have opened up opportunities to artists that used to be unimaginable, and Control ALT Delete is one of the torchbearers of this concept in India, organising gigs that allow fans to pay what they want to watch a fantastic lineup of alternative acts from across the country.
If you thought this fire would’ve burnt itself out by now, you better think again because these guys are back with a gig being held at High Spirits, Pune, in a banging 7th edition on 18th April that’s testament to the spirit of crowdfunding.
Organised with funds raised from the platform Instamojo, the line-up this time round is decidedly more electronically-inclined, with artists including bass hip hop trio ViceVersa (Mumbai), Assamese band Digital Suicide (Haflong), Raxit Tiwari’s solo project Your Chin (Mumbai), Shoumik Biswas’s solo electronic project Disco Puppet, acapella group Voctronica (Mumbai), two piece experimental electronic act Castles in the Sky (Pune), synth/dark pop act Aqua Dominatrix (Mumbai), electronic rock act FuzzCulture (Delhi) and DJ act 2Sensitive (Mumbai).
We dug a little deeper with ‘12 Indian Music Initiatives That Showed Us How Incredible The Results Of Crowdfunding Can Be’ to check out other events that found synergy with the manner of fund-raising, and in honour of Control ALT Delete’s upcoming gig, we decided to take a little stroll down a visual memory lane by way of recapping their poster artwork. It’s curious to notice how they’ve grown over the past three years and how the mood of the posters varies based on the genres of music the gig is showcasing. To get some real perspective about the ethos of the artworks however, we also reached out to the artists of each of these posters for their thoughts.
Let’s take it from the very beginning then, shall we:
I. CAD 1.0, 15th January, 2012
Artist: Anubhav Rattan
“I was interning with Rolling Stone during my first year of college, and Himanshu and Rishu came up with this amazing concept of CAD,” Anubhav says. “I knew a little Photoshop (more like what-button-does-what), so the brief was more like, “Bro ek achcha poster banaa na. Try your best.”. I’m really glad I got the chance!”
As for what made him want to be a part of the story, he says, “The idea of a gig that asked people to pay whatever they wanted to enter - this was reason enough for me to want to work for it! We knew from that moment itself that the concept had the potential to be huge - like how it is now! And I’m sure it’ll only get bigger and better, CAD after CAD.”
II. CAD 2.0, 23rd April, 2012
Artist: Grishma Rao
“Back then I used to work with a friend, Shawn, who’d come up with the idea behind this poster, which I really liked,” Himanshu Vaswani, co-founder of Control ALT Delete recalls. “Having a graphic with a cassette tape embedded inside a brain was representative of the cassette generation that we’ve all been a part of. It was a simple idea that really struck a chord.”
“Grishma used to write for NH7 and I’d seen her artwork before on social media,” he elaborates on the collaboration. “She’d also designed the cover of The Lightyears Explode’s first, self-titled EP, and I was introduced to her then since I used to manage them at the time.”
III. CAD 3.0, 30th September, 2012
Artist: Anish Sundaran (Bababanana)
“One day not so long ago, Udupa came to me with this radical idea for a gig that he was putting together,” Anish shares. “It was to be entirely crowd-funded, one could pay what they wanted to enter and be witness to some fresh new tunes by some fresh new bands. Basically, flipping a bird to corporate sponsorship, and making a statement that one does not need big corporate money to play a kickass gig with some kickass bands. I have known Udupa for more than a decade, his enthusiasm for the gig kind of rubbed off on me and I immediately wanted to be a part of it.”
“Given the impressive line-up for the gig, I decided to make the poster type-heavy,” he explains. “Every band name was given a typographic treatment, much like an alternate logo for each band.”
Each band name has been hand-lettered or stencilled, keeping in line with the DIY ethos of the gig, and the gig poster was then turned into a wearable version by printing it on a T-shirt. This was eventually featured on the NH7 website as the second best indie band t-shirt from India.
IV. CAD 4.0, 28th September, 2013
Artist: Namaah Kumar
“The image borrows from vintage pin-up style, to old engineering drawings of a complex circuit I had lying around from college,” Namaah shares. “It’s meant to be bold and energetic, and reflective of the demographic you’d be likely to run into at a gig like this; lots of engineers by training, mostly young males, loud, and assured fun because that’s how I came to know and love the scene. As for the t-shirt, it was a re-illustration of one of Rishu’s drawing.”
Namaah has been a part of the music scene as a consumer since her early teens, and most of her work is heavily influenced by the subculture. Having known of Rishu since her first gig when I was only 12, she was delighted when he saw some of the artwork she sporadically shared on social media and approached her to do some posters for his Bomb Thursdays event series.
”He put a ridiculous amount of faith in me and a few dozen posters later he said that he’d like for me to do one for CAD,” she elaborates. “I was obviously thrilled, but again, the brief was simply to “make it mind-blowing.” Now, that kind of thing can be a double-edged sword, seeing as the more artistic freedom one has, the more confused one gets when looking for inspiration. So I stuck to what I know and tried to inculcate as much of what I knew about CAD into an image that was largely representative of my visual style (lots of colours and nudity.) Rishu, Himanshu and Nikhil, along with Bhanuj, these guys are what makes the scene great; they’re relentless in their contribution to it and anyone would have to be a fool and not want to be a part of it, given the opportunity.”
V. CAD 5.0, 1st June, 2014
Artist: Aaquib Wani
1). Tell us a little bit about how you went about conceptualising your artwork for Ctrl Alt Del (what was the brief, and how did you interpret it?)
“I worked for The Metal Chapter, #SurviveThis, the meanest edition CAD had ever witnessed since its inception,” Aaquib elaborates on the ethos behind his artwork. “To be honest, there was no brief given. The guys at CAD had seen my art and had given me freedom to create something that could well interpret what the night had to offer. I’m quite influenced by outer space and forming my own mutated lifeforms. You can see a classic angle, mixed with heavy metal/hardcore punk art. The idea is to have a certain romance blending disparate histories and themes, which can give the overall presentation a recognisable yet unique flavour. The intention was to make something stand outside the realm of an ‘artwork’. It is tricky and definitely a requires striking a balance.”As for what made him want to be a part of this crowdfunding initiative, he says, “The association in itself is to help the scene grow from the underground to the mainstream, and to be a part of its growth sure means a lot.”
VI. CAD 6.0, 14th September, 2014
Artist: Denver Fernandes
“The guys generally give artistic freedom to whoever is designing the poster, just as long as it can be adapted nicely enough to a t-shirt, sticker, etc.” Denver relates. “The only thing Nikhil told me was that he wanted to see boobs (One option I was working on did). Having an open brief is quite taxing because there’s so much that can be done and this version spanned multiple genres. I had too many ideas and no ideas at the same time. But I came up with something that was liked unanimously and I think it did quite well overall.
“I had been to a couple of editions just as an attendee,” Denver elaborates on why he wanted to do his bit for CAD and be a part of the story. “The first edition I was properly involved in was The Metal Chapter (850+ walk ins including 2 bus loads from Indore. It was mental). It came after I had started working at BAJAAO full time with Himanshu. I had gotten to know Rishu and Nikhil by then also to an extent. With Himanshu sitting right next to me in office, he’ll always turn around and be like, “Sweety, help kar na please?” and when you know that they’re genuinely just trying to do something good, it makes you want to help out. It helps that it’s quite fun and entertaining too.”
VII. CAD 7.0, 18th April, 2015
Artist: Aniruddh Mehta
“The only brief is the Genre and the Line-up; and you have the complete freedom to interpret that as you would,” Aniruddh tells us, jumping straight into it. “The 7th Edition of CAD the line-up consists of Electro-Pop acts. It’s a sound that is reminiscent of the past but an interpretation of the future. That is precisely what I tried to recreate in the artwork.”
”It’s a great concept!” he exclaims when asked about why he wanted to be a part of CAD. “A 100% DIY gig at that scale is definitely something I was happy to be a part of. Moreover, working with people who are powered by a strong passion for music is something I respect. It’s for the love of it, and not the money. Also an artist, they respect your work and trust you with what you are doing. You don’t get that kind of freedom too often. So to any artist, graphic designer, illustrator reading this, if the CAD boys approach you, you know what to do!”
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