We all have done this at least once, hell, we have been doing this all our lives - playing music in the back of a moving vehicle irrespective of the tone deaf traffic sounds, cramped up space and bumpy roads (especially if you’re driving around the internal city roads). This very natural reflex of sitting in the car and singing our lungs out is what got media professional Rishi Kartik the idea for his YouTube series - Bombay Cab Sessions.We got in a conversation with this lover of the underground music scene to find out how he made the first season of an amazing YouTube series happen.
Creating a platform like this for musicians to come together and do what they do best- how did an idea so simple yet brilliant hit you?
Rishi: In the most natural way actually, I was with a couple of friends travelling back home humming random tracks in the back of a cab. I recorded a video, and to my surprise the audio was amazing, it was raw, random, real and fun.Our entire generation has been obsessed with being an entrepreneur and I immediately knew that this idea is just that. I began my research, ran the idea through a few friends and just like that began my hunt for all the gear one would need to shoot a music video in a Bombay cab.
How easy/difficult was it to execute this, given pesky cab drivers, bad roads and generally noisy surroundings? What challenges have you faced while bringing this project to life?
Rishi: Oh, it was not easy. We had our initial set of glitches. For starters, since the name of our channel is Bombay Cab Sessions we wanted the standard Black and Yellow. The sound of the engine itself was getting in the way of the recording. So, we had to find an alternative to that. As far as bad roads and noisy surroundings were concerned, we made it a point to shoot post heavy traffic hours and we researched areas where the roads were smoother. Also, as we didn’t have a permit to shoot on the streets of the city, a lot of guerrilla style shooting was involved. We did get caught a couple of times by cops, but wriggled our way out with student ids and excuses of shooting for a college project!
You partnered up with Ola Cabs for season 1. How and when did that happen?
Rishi: So, when I began figuring out ways to raise funds for the channel, I came across this platform that helps startups called The Rodinhoods. I attended a session by them, where they had a presentation on crowdfunding, that’s where my team first spoke about our idea. One of the marketing representatives of OLA Cabs was also attending the same session, we got talking and that’s when we solved our glitch number one. It did take a lot of time, we went back and forth on the plan, and finally, bagged OLA cabs to be our travel partner for the whole of season 1.
What has been the highlight of the journey so far?
Rishi: The best part of the whole journey was meeting these insanely talented indie artists. You won’t believe how many gifted people there are in your own city.We just put up a shout-out on various social media platforms looking for bands or solo musicians with an original song ready. To my surprise around 450 to 480 artists showed interest. However, because of limited monetary strength I filtered artists only from Mumbai to avoid the additional spends on travel.
Do you have any plans to monetize your content?
Rishi: We haven’t been able to monetise the series for season 1. Neither do we do charge the artist for performing with us. We know how difficult it is for an artist to get a video shot and distributed, charging them for this doesn’t seem good to me. But we do have a plan, the reason we’ve stuck to an original song only policy is in order to monetise the videos on that basis.Also, the entire recording is shot in a single take, which is not only difficult for the artist to perform in a moving cab but also very challenging for the videographer to control the movements. The idea was to capture art when it’s raw and blossoming.
You recently wrapped up Season 1. Anything unique in store for season 2? Tell us about your plans in terms of taking Bombay Cab Sessions to the next level?
Rishi: Well, this is a little hush-hush for now, but we do have a plan for our next season and it should be out by the beginning of next year.The entire thought behind Bombay Cab Sessions was to make artists believe in the power of their music and assure them that there is no need of an expensive studio shot music video; a track recorded amidst a noisy street can also be a beautiful experience.Our next season too would be all about that, with a few more sponsors so it’s a win-win for everyone. The sponsors can market their product, our platform grows bigger and the artist gets a video out.Watch the entire season 1 here! Don’t forget to follow Bombay Cab Sessions on Facebook and Twitter!