Very few brands are willing to sponsor metal events in Mumbai. This is due to a variety of factors, apart from the fact that metal itself isn’t as accessible, and therefore an even tougher sell than rock in a music market that’s only now opening its ears to alternatives to Bollywood music. The result is that the few brands that do sponsor, sponsor most of the festivals. This also has to do with the fact that the promoters of these concerts are usually the same people. They build relationships with sponsors over a period of time and, as a result, can always go to these when there aren’t any other brands sponsoring events.
Furtados is one of the oldest music stores in Mumbai. Located at the Metro cinema junction, Furtados was, till the early 2000s, not as involved with live music in Mumbai as it is now. With almost a complete monopoly over gear sales in the city, there wasn’t much of a need for the store to make many marketing efforts. However, with the openings of more music stores in the city and also the availability of instruments for purchase online (via Bajaao.com) there was a need for the store to make its presence felt.
Most live concerts that feature independent musicians, even metal, in Mumbai have gear provided by Furtados. Even if it’s just the drum kit, Furtado’s makes sure that it has its banners at events, and its logos on the fliers. As a result, people looking for a gear sponsor in Mumbai today almost all head to Furtados.
Demonstealer is the alias of Sahil Makhija, who plays for the death metal act, Demonic Resurrection and the humour metal act, Workshop. Makhija has been at the forefront of promoting metal in Mumbai and the country for much of the last decade. In the mid-2000s, he started Demonstealer Records, which runs out of a small studio. The label features the self-produced music of, apart from all the acts Makhija himself is associated with, some of the most promising metal in the country including Myndsnare from Bangalore and a few international metal acts as well.
The label is one of the few that has used the internet to its advantage through forums, Myspace, blogs and the like. Makhija’s humour metal act, Workshop, for example, regularly posts video blogs featuring the band. The idea is to keep costs low, but with a little creativity, create a relatively wide impact.
(music video for Workshop’s song “Bunty Aur Mallika Sherwath”, made using Photoshop, Windows Movie Maker and a bright idea — pot shots at popular Bollywood stars)
Metal gig promotion in Mumbai is pretty difficult because of the lack of mainstream media coverage that metal gets. However, most promoters use the internet to spread the word about new events. This is done through a few forums and websites. RSJonline’s forum is a pretty popular destination among Mumbai’s metal heads. Promoters create gig fliers using image editing software and post these along with the gig details on these forums.
The aesthetic of the gig flier, and for that matter, Mumbai metal bands logos, is very interesting to observe. The general colour scheme is black and dark red, while the band logos feature predominantly goth styled fonts.
Split Magazine is one of the few e-zines that covers independent music in India. Though not updated very frequently, it does feature interviews and MP3 downloads of metal acts in the country. It is run by Arun Kale who started the website a few years ago. Kale also started Split Radio which is an online radio station that allows listeners to stream music from Indian indie artists from their computers.
Split Radio also features short, podcast based radio interviews with artists that can be streamed via the website.
Rolling Stone launched its India edition in 2008. After a shaky start, the magazine seems to have found its feet editorial-wise and gives much coverage to the Indian independent music scene. The mag is one of the few that features interviews with metal acts in India and, in October 2008, presented a complete metal issue timed with the launch of Metallica’s new album Death Magnetic.