“Everybody has a great album in them. Everybody has a great song in them. Anybody can make music. It’s not the preserves of the elites or people who make great solos. “
Bhanuj Kappal, Music Journalist
Bhanuj had to put up with all my selfie taking during my two weeks in Mumbai. He graciously accepted my offer to be my host and guide to Mumbai’s punk community for this project.
Bhanuj and I met on the internet through a now defunct Facebook group that brought together desi’s and punks from all over the world. Bhanuj introduced me to Ennui.bomb compilations and I was hooked from there. I was curious to learn more about punk in all these different cultures that influenced my sound. I messaged Bhanuj and said I’d be coming to Mumbai and needed a right hand man for the project. Luckily Bhanuj was fluent in all the many punk cultures I had been influenced by, and he had an interest in documenting the growing and super tight-knit punk community in Mumbai. We spent a few weeks chatting back and forth online, making plans, fleshing out the questions for the interviews, and doing logistics for our trip to Pune to see the NH7 festival.
It turned out that Bhanuj had been going to punk shows in Mumbai from the jump, and all the bands really adored him for being there from the beginning. Bhanuj also holds a MA from Cardiff University in International Journalism and is currently a freelance journalist who has been writing on punk and other music scenes in Mumbai for many years. (Check out his piece for GQ India – Inside India’s Jazz Revival). Bhanuj also curates his own experimental/noise oriented music space called “The Listening Room.”
I am immensely grateful to Bhanuj and his partner Nisha and their cat Milo, for their hospitality and warmth – it’s not easy traveling through an Indian megatropolis that’s undergoing demonetization, meeting new people, going to shows late at night with audio and camera gear, as a single woman, and their support made it so much easier (as well as providing much comfort for my parents!).
Bhanuj was instrumental in this project and his love for the subculture is beyond compare. Below are just a few snippets of the many really insightful conversations I got to have with Bhanuj about punk, music and the many cultures that make us during my time in Mumbai.
Bhanuj talking about what is punk for him (please note that Azaan (the Islamic Call to Prayer) is happening way far away but the audio recorder picked it up in the background because the windows were open! You’re going to have to crank up your volume for this interview!)
What the first punk shows in Mumbai were like:
On the Listening Room and taking risks with artists as a community: