indie artists


Fests seem to be a significant part of the whole college experience. And these fests are incomplete without a thrilling concert on stage. From sports fields to tour buses, several independent, signed, and Bollywood artists have toured the various colleges of India for their fests.

Here we count down five significant artists who are a popular sight at many a college concert. The following musicians and singers are featured in here in no particular order, just on the basis of genres and the space they have among the college-going youth. Many college fests take place over the course of two or three nights. The usual pattern is a rock band or a DJ making people jump for the early days, while playback singers from the film industry take over the final days.

  1. Electronic Dance Music (EDM)

Gurgaon-born DJ Zaeden is a popular pick of the new age electronic music producers. Zaeden has struck a chord with the youth, having performed at many colleges of University of Delhi (DU) and other technological institutes. Zaeden’s set usually features his originals like ‘Never Let You Go’, along with dance covers of Coldplay and Maroon 5 songs.

But if you want to hear remixes of mainstream film music, then DJ Chetas and NYK to a lesser extent could be your choice. Chetas’ rise is remarkable as his work might seem pretty mediocre in the face of new-age DJs like Ritviz and Mojo Jojo. Still, Chetas knows how to market himself. His career took off with making themed mashups of Bollywood songs that were featured on the 9X TV network; soon his mashups and remixes found their way in the fest circuit increasing his brand name.

Still, the most original music producer in this scene is Nucleya. With hardly any remixes, he cuts straight to the chase whipping out his classic trance tracks like ‘Bass Rani’ and ‘Laung Gavacha’. Sometimes, if colleges have enough funds, they can even call up foreign DJs to add to the star value. For instance, Quintino in his Indian tour leg even managed to perform his sets at IIT Kanpur and BITS Goa last year. In Delhi’s Sri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) it was rumoured that this year, the mask-wearing DJ Marshmello or Alan Walker (another DJ who likes covering his face) would headline their fest. But these were just rumours, as in the end, it was DJ Chetas who performed.

  1. Acoustic/ Rock

When it comes to light acoustic vibes, Prateek Kuhad is the top pick. Featuring a three-piece band, he smoothly sings and plays his guitar while the audiences just swoon. A critically acclaimed songwriter, his track list has both English and Hindi tunes, usually with slow instruments and themes of love and life. With most of his followers being millennials, it’s only apt for the ‘Cold Mess’ singer to be a sensation at college fests.

But when it comes to rock, there’s an even bigger force to be reckoned with—a band called The Local Train. The rock band is a recent phenomenon that started out with their first record ‘Aalas ka Ped’, an instant hit amongst a modest fanbase. Two albums old, they are touring all over the country performing in nearly every Hard Rock Café, and nearly every college fest. Churning out songs in a mix of Hindi and Urdu, their tracks like ‘Khudi’ and ‘Aaoge Tum Kabhi’ deal with various themes like following your dreams and waiting for a lover; stuff which appeals to the dreamy college kid. It’s safe to say that The Local Train is not so ‘local’ anymore!

  1. Film music

This is where the fest gets fully mainstream. Bollywood artists usually have many singles from film’s soundtracks, which make for popular music content for the fest audiences. Duos like Vishal-Shekhar and Saleem-Sulaiman are big hits in this regard.

Then there are popular Punjabi artists too in fest line-ups, like Diljit Dosanjh and Guru Randhawa. They sing originals as well as songs featured in films. While the background musicians manage the performance, and the singers’ bravado gets the crowds jumping, some do not consider them as true performers. A case in point is Diljit’s concert at Rendezvous (the annual fest of IIT Delhi), where many fans noted how the singer was lip-syncing for most of his songs.

Then there are a few other artists who manage to perform a varied set of both film and independent content. Farhan Akhtar assisted by his band Farhan Live! starts off his fest shows with songs from his popular films, Rock On and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara; adding in ballads from albums of his own. Assamese Bollywood singer Papon (who recently performed at Hindu College on top of a Red Bull tour bus) also manages to play a few non-film tunes. Amit Trivedi has also sung his MTV Coke Studio songs for many a college fest. On a side note, Amit Trivedi’s concerts are truly a team effort. He not only introduces all his background singers and musicians to the audience but sometimes gives them the stage to perform their exclusive pieces.

Featured Image Credits: Aakarsh Gupta for DU Beat

Shaurya Singh Thapa

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If you’re anything like a lot of people I know, you probably need music in your life like a good movie needs a soundtrack. Whether it’s to cut out the crowd around you in the Metro, or to give you company during work-outs or even just to sit and think, music makes for excellent company. The hunt for good new music is often overshadowed by the same Top 40 hits splashed everywhere, with only a few popular artists getting any attention.

The upcoming summer is the perfect opportunity to sift through some of the lesser known artists which will make you wonder why they aren’t more popular and why you didn’t tune in earlier. Here are our top 5 picks:

1. twenty øne piløts

twenty øne piløts for their new album 'Blurryface' Image Credits: warnermusic.de
twenty øne piløts for their new album ‘Blurryface’
Image Credits: warnermusic.de

This duo based in Ohio have got a cult following of sorts, with their fans called ‘The Skeleton Clique’, but are yet to be noticed by the mainstream media. Formed in 2009, the band consists of Tyler Joseph, who is the lyricist, lead singer and also plays the piano and ukulele, and Josh Dun, who takes the role of the drummer/percussionist. Their music is hard to define, going everywhere from hip-hop to raggae to alternative rock and Tyler Joseph switching between singing soulfully to rapping in a style that’s comparable to Eminem, only with no swear words and the lyrics a lot more poignant.

Their first album post their major-label signing, called ‘Vessel’, was an indie hit and has the most interesting bunch of songs that I’ve had the chance to hear in a while. With lyrics sure to get you thinking and Dun’s excellent drumming keeping time, twenty øne piløts are probably one of the most intriguing musical acts out there right now and their new album, ‘Blurryface’, released early last week, is out earning plaudits.

Start with: ‘Ode To Sleep’ (Vessel), ‘Stressed Out’ (Blurryface)

2. Halsey

Ashley 'Halsey' Frangipane Image Credits: billboard.tumblr.com
Ashley ‘Halsey’ Frangipane
Image Credits: billboard.tumblr.com

Ashley Frangipane, known by her stage name which is an anagram of her first name, is one of the most promising female voices to have hit the music scene in recent times. Halsey is known for being an excellent live performer and her Lana Del Ray-esque vibe. Her EP ‘Room 93’ has four songs which feature her hauntingly beautiful vocals and strong,empowering lyrics. She also has a very strong following on social media, owing to her strong views for feminism and body-positivity.

Her first full length album, called ‘Badlands’ will be out in August 2015 and has been described by her as an ‘angry feminist record’ which will feature songs that she has been performing live on tours and festivals. Give her a listen if you’re a little tired of sugary-sweet pop voices singing about the same old issues and are willing to try something that will challenge your musical pallete.

Start with: ‘Hurricane’, ‘Ghost’ (Room 93)


PVRIS Image Credits: stheart.com
Image Credits: stheart.com

Pronounced ‘Paris’, the alternative rock trio has just recently started making waves for their commendable music and for being one of the top female-fronted bands. Signed to Rise Records, their debut album ‘White Noise’ was released late last year and garnered positive responses and also comparisons with ‘Paramore’- a female led trio in the rock scene with similar sounds. Buzzfeed called them Paramore’s “cool indie sister”. In fact, for a better understanding of their music, think a mixture of Paramore and Evanescence.

PVRIS’s music ranges from electro to alternative rock; Lynn Gunn’s voice has been described by The Huffington Post as “..a force that cannot be denied, redolently poignant in both her most excitable and serene vocalizations.”

Start with: ‘St. Patrick’, ‘Smoke’ (White Noise)

4. The 1975

The 1975 Image Credits: pixshark.com
The 1975
Image Credits: pixshark.com

Known for their indie-pop, ear-pleasing synthy sounds, the 1975’s music would make for the perfect setting for a summer that is equal parts laid-back and full of adventures. Their debut album, released in the later half of 2013 was heralded as the best indie record of the year and is a mix of sixteen songs which boast of influences from the 80s to glitchy pop and RnB Soul.

Matt Healy’s voice, heavy with the northern English accent, gives the songs a heady, intoxicating feel which makes the album a surpringly soothing listen. Given the length of the album, one would expect listeners to run out of patience and switch tracks but their music manages to hold listeners’ attention, which speaks a lot about their music.

Start with: ‘The City’, ‘She Way Out’ (The 1975)

5. As It Is

As It Is Image Credits: fearlessrecords.com
As It Is
Image Credits: fearlessrecords.com

Widely being touted as the breakout band of 2015, the British pop-punk band is starting to go to places. The band-members’ ages, all just out of their teens, reflects in the music they create with prevalent themes of dealing with critics, growing up and a dreamers-against-the-big-bad-world vibe. Their music is the perfect soundtrack for a summer post gruelling exams where all you want to do is raise your middle finger to the rest of the world. They streamed their first album ‘Never Happy Ever After’ to a mostly positive response earlier this year, with some even calling it “everything a pop-punk record should be today”.

For a sense of their musical sensibilities, think ‘All Time Low’ mixed with early ‘Fall Out Boy’.

Start with: ‘Cheap Shots and Setbacks’, ‘Speak Soft’ (Never Happy Ever After)

Feature Image Credits: lhsepic.com

Shubham Kaushik

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