Touring the college festival circuit and playing concert-production gigs meant Hindi rockers The Local Train would have had it easy. But the five-year-old band have seemingly been regarded as outsiders in the Indian indie scene. Calling themselves a “DIY band,” the Delhi-based band have always been certain they’re in it for the long game. Founder member and frontman Raman Negi is backed by drummer Sahil Sarin, guitarist Paras Thakur and bassist Ramit Mehra. The band is finally ready with their debut album “Alas Ke Pedh” produced by indie-record-whisperer Ashish Manchanda. They recently put out the music video of the first single off the album, Aaoge Tum Kabhi on YouTube that has already won testimonials from the likes of Hindi rock hero Raghu Dixit. We spoke to the band about their hits, misses, obstacle races and their biggest year yet.
Q-1. How old is The Local Train and what is the complete band lineup?
The Local Train is older than it wants you to know . We’re a DIY band and without a support system we’ve been handling everything ourselves over the years. From designing our own posters, to paying taxes three years in a row, we’ve been doing it all. Raman Negi the vocalist of the band is an ex-engineer with six years of work experience to fall back upon if this band doesn’t work out. The other members aren’t so lucky with the guitarist Paras Thakur and bassist Ramit Mehra dropping out of college to pursue music as” a-lot-of-free-time” musicians. Sahil Sarin the drummer was the only one who knew his true calling from the age of five. But took another 20 years looking for the right guys.
Q-2. How would you define your sound?
We’re straight up hindi rock pop with a lot of influences from everything that’s happening around us. Growing up in India gives you that exposure. There’s so many different styles of music that is blasted at you from all directions and what goes in must come out.
Q-3. You’ve been working on your debut album for a while now, can you take us through the songwriting process, recording and production process?
The debut album is our Ithaca. Getting there was the journey that is churning us into who we are. We stalked/approached Ashish Manchanda (the man behind the mixes of “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag,” “Dev D,” “Coke Studio @ MTV,” to name a few) and got him to hear our tracks. He liked what we doing and invited us to come to Bombay and record in his studio! The dream soon turned into six gruelling months in the studio and reminded us that we needed to become better musicians. Like exponentially, songwriting is a process that is inspiration driven and you never know what the journey will be like.It usually begins with Raman penning down a melody and then it goes everywhere from there. Ashish really helped us get the sound of the band right. He’s the mentor that we needed actually. Recording happened in Bombay in Flying Carpet Productions under the guidance of Ashish Manchanda. We had the pleasure of tracking live drums at Nirvana Studios (Ranjit Barot’s Studio) in Mahalaxmi Mumbai. The mixing and mastering is all the genius inside Ashish coming out.
Q-4. What is the name of the album and what can you tell us about the first single that you put out?
The album is called “Alas Ka Pedh.” The tracks are ready and we’re divided about what to christen the album with. We’re focusing on the video releases we have planned out. With the first one being Aaoge Tum Kabhi. This song took the most out of us with so many different versions being taken out before we finalised the one that’s coming out. Paras actually made 50 different intros for Aaoge. We still don’t know where he got the patience for that. The video was another arduous process and was shot live at our shows with four different camera crews across five states and seven cities. Being a DIY band we hit many road blocks and in the middle even had to scrap a two day shoot that cost us over a lakh. (No chicken for an year now). The video is finally ready and we couldn’t have made it any better. (cause we ran out of money)
Q-5. What is your plan going forward? Tours, gigs, festivals, more releases etc?
The show must go on. Luckily we’ve been getting a lot of live shows thanks to word of mouth marketing and generating a decent name for ourselves in the circuit. Yes a tour is being planned. Gig season is hopefully gonna see us getting busy. Alongside we’ve planned a couple more video releases in the coming months. This year is the make or break year for us. So we’ll be burning all bridges and making a dash for the top of the hill.