Initiated by Stephen O’Regan in an apartment in Dublin, BalconyTv is a musical phenomenon that has introduced the likes of Mumford & Sons, The Script and Nouvelle Vague to the world. Incepted only for online viewing, BalconyTv is a space, rather a balcony, where unknown, underground bands can come, set up and do what they love doing best – perform!
So what do three music enthusiasts living in New Delhi do when they get a wind of this? They decide to rope in their city as well. Comprising Pragya Tiwari (a documentary filmmaker and journalist), Kavi Bhansali (a producer, documentary filmmaker and photographer) and Rishi Majumdar (a journalist) – BalconyTv Delhi raised its curtains less than a month ago and has till now featured artists like Adil & Vasundhara, Avi and The Uprising (which went viral and hit 75000 views within a couple of days), Kunal Datta, Sajid Akbar, The Underknowns and SPACE. Open to all sub-music genres and languages, the focus, Kavi shares is to, ‘give listeners a fresh, original track every Friday, which they can listen to through the week. Since we are not associated with any label or sponsor, we can focus on showcasing music that we really feel deserves to be shared.’
In a technologically equipped environment, which is teeming with unfathomable talent, there has been a sudden explosion of new wave musicians, sounds and identities. BalconyTv Delhi curates and promotes music which they feel has untapped potential. The platform also functions as a litmus test explains Kavi, ‘Indian musicians get the chance to perform and be heard alongside artists like Mumford & Sons, The Script and many more from all over the world on the same platform. This immediately helps them understand how international audiences react to their music and whether their ‘sound’ is global enough or not.’
All that is alright we say, but shooting a music video in open-space locations, which are continuously exposed to traffic sounds, calls by cacophonic thellawalas passing by and fame-deprived pigeons, how does BalconyTv Delhi go about overcoming the unwanted background score? Well, they use it to their advantage, of course. ‘Recording audio in a setup like ours will always sound different from a studio recording… The audio track reflects what the band sounds like live and acoustic. Most bands in fact have loved their BalconyTV versions and are keen on featuring it as an additional track on their own albums.’ Yet the team is extremely particular about their recording process. They use industry-standard equipment and practices to record sound. Unwanted sound is either filtered or minimized, or incorporated into the audio as ambiance. ‘For our latest episode with SPACE for instance, a train goes by in the distance blaring a siren around the 1-minute mark, and the band agreed it blended well so we used that particular take.’
Not restricted to New Delhi-based bands alone, BalconyTv Delhi is open to featuring those who are passing through the city for other gigs. Their next episode is with a LA-based band which is currently visiting the city for a holiday. With a lot more in store for its escalating audience in the months to come, BalconyTv Delhi is just getting started._
By: Radhika Iyengar