Gone are the days when a music band had to hire a truck to move expensive equipment during a concert tour. Here is a unique music band that has done away with this bulky requirement and yet dishes out foot tapping numbers at its performances.
Meet Bangalore-based Rave iBand. All members of the band are armed with iPhones and iPads and use various apps to play music as good as on actual equipment. The band is all set for its first performance in Mumbai at the Phoenix Marketcity mall in the central Kurla suburb Monday.
Not even a year old, the newly established band has five members - founder and music director Ricky Kej, vocalist Riccha Paul, pianist Charanraj, percussionist Vanil Veigas and DJ Andy on the synthesiser.
Established in December 2011, Kej came up with the idea while waiting for a recording session to start.
"During a recording session, while I was waiting for a musician to arrive, I started to fiddle around with a couple of music apps on a friend's iPad. In less than 30 minutes, I had created a song," said an excited Kej.
"Not only did the music sound professional, the manufacturing process of the song was entertainment too. That's when I called a few like-minded talented musicians and created Rave iBand. Everyone in the band was as excited as I was," he added.
Stating that this is the most fun she has had with music, Paul added that the band's priority has always been music.
"All the gadgetry and gimmicks are secondary. All of us are serious, full-time musicians who are experimenting with a new and innovative medium in making music. We want to be known for our music," she said.
Paul is one of the most sought after Jazz/Blues/Retro singer in southern India and is also the busiest jingle singer. Having over 500 jingles to her credit, Paul has also sung for albums with Virgin Records and Universal Music of the US.
Reminiscing about his initial experience on composing music on the iPhone, Charanraj said it was difficult at first, but he adapted to it.
"I needed to adapt my playing style just as anyone used to a normal computer keyboard would adapt to typing on a phone keyboard. I started using only two fingers to play the piano and developed my own playing style and technique. Also the future lies in newer and more innovative musical apps, which could one day replace the traditional keyboard," he added.
Charanraj is a classical and jazz pianist who has trained in London and is a Carnatic singer.
But do people always appreciate their style? Do traditional musicians buy the idea? No, says percussionist Veigas.
"We do face criticism from people, saying that we do not play on real instruments. But what is a real instrument? Anything that makes music is an instrument to me," he said.
"When the piano was first introduced, it was criticised. Then the electric guitar was criticised and so was the electronic piano. But now they are all considered to be valid instruments. Soon touch screens will be considered real instruments," he added.
Veigas is an award-winning composer and music producer from Mangalore. He has created over 1,000 jingles, along with numerous albums and Kannada film soundtracks.
The band is happy that it takes almost no time to set up before a performance.
"I love the fact that we take hardly any time to set up before a show, and our sound checks are the least complicated among bands. In fact, once we had had a complete rehearsal on a plane on the way to Chennai," said DJ Andy.
Asked about the band's future plans, Kej said all they want to do is keep playing at as many venues as possible.
"We are less than a year old and we have already done more than 30 shows. We plan to release a full length album," he said.
Rave iBand's version of the chartbuster "Sheila ki jawani" was an instant hit on YouTube and other websites. Also popular are their "Chammak challo" and "Summer of 69" versions, which will be played at the Mumbai show.
The band uses applications like Megaphone, Shaker, Garage Band, Bebo, Solo, Ocariana, DJ Pro and Drummer to create music their way!
(Mauli Buch can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)