Nothing blends the various diverse cultures of the world like music does. One such band blending western sounds with classical Indian beats is the first ever Marathi rock band – Moksh.
We got in touch with Sagar Joshi, band manager and the regional metal music sensations base guitarist, and got chatty about their journey so far and future plans.
Moksh has been active since 2009, tell us everything about it. When did you guys decide to form a band? How did you pick the name?
Sagar: Back in 2009 Pushkar (keyboards) and I were thinking of working on different concepts for our music. It all began with a couple of discussions on social media, which later on turned into the first line-up for the band. We decided to name the band Moksh as we wanted the audience to experience a temporary feeling of ‘Moksha’ i.e. liberation; through our music. We wanted to do something in our native language, incorporating the almost extinct genre of Raagas.
Tell us about your first ever show. How was the response to rock in Marathi?
Sagar: There is no way I can put in words the experience of the first show, it was exhilarating. The reaction of our audience of witnessing something never heard before could be compared to Graham Bell listening to a telephone conversation for the first time. The feedback of the audience assured us that this was something that’s needed to be taken ahead to the next level.
What were some of the challenges the band faced in the nascent stages?
Sagar: There were so many roadblocks, we lost count. But there are two problems which we are facing even now.
a. Moksh is the World's First Marathi Rock Band but there is no second Marathi Rock band till date. Maybe, it’s because of the risk of getting into an untouched genre, or the market struggle with mainstream bands. For Southern India the regional music scene is wholeheartedly supported by the community. But, for Maharashtra the entertainment industry is taken over by mainstream Bollywood.
b. Piracy. For regional artists giving away music for free is not an option. The attitude of the crowds at large for demanding free stuff must change; at present Live shows are the only way to survive in the industry.
The band has also composed a romantic number for a Marathi flick. How has the reception from your fans been for that, as it’s not rock?
Sagar: So, the track we composed for the upcoming movie ‘Vadhdivsachya Hardik Shubechha’ feat Ankush Chaudhari is sung by Bela Shende and Rishikesh Kamerkar. Our goal was not to give commercial romantic track even though it was the need of the script. We wanted it to have our touch as well. So we worked on a Romantic Rock Power Ballad, our romantic number has distortion, full-fledged drums fused with tabla and saxophone blending in harmony with the guitar. And thus the reception was exceptionally well, not only by our fans but listeners from all over enjoyed this fusion of genres.
The present indie rock music scene in India is growing at an immense speed. But, there aren’t many regional bands from Maharashtra joining the trend, why do you think it is so?
Sagar: As I said earlier, it is risky doing something new, getting into an untouched genre while Bollywood is massively followed here is difficult. It took forever for a band like Indian Ocean to get their song in a movie. And this is the most popular indie band that the entire country is aware of, so one can imagine the happenings at regional level.
Do share a word of advice for upcoming indie artists who sing in regional dialects.
Sagar: Stick to your thoughts and keep experimenting with it. Never go for what people want, first satisfy yourself. People keep changing their likes according to the trends. Dedication to your music will keep you motivated enough to contribute to the spectrum of music. And finally, keep your regional culture alive, we need to protect our diversity and heritage.
Finally, what should your fans look forward to in the coming months? Can they expect an album launch?
Sagar: Yes. Moksh will be putting a crowdfunding campaign on Wishberry about their upcoming album ‘Swarajya’ which is a concept album based on life of Shivaji Maharaj. It’s going to be the World's First Marathi Rock Album and we want our fans and family to support create something which hasn't been done yet. Apart from that we are also working on a Marathi Romantic Rock EP which will be out mid-year, with Swarajya being our dream project to be released by end of this year.