The independent music scene is replete with talent. Yet, it’s a very steep uphill climb when you are looking for relevance and trying to make a living off of it. But that’s what drives bands like Laxmi Bomb. I spoke with lead singer Keegan Pereira and he had me convinced that you can either have the money, or the music. You can’t always have both. Here’s more about his journey with Laxmi Bomb so far and a promise of what’s coming soon. Thank you for reading.
2Blue: Whose brainchild is Laxmi Bomb? How did the off-beat name come about?
Keegan: Firstly, we refer to 'Laxmi' as a love-child. She has been spawned from the brains of a certain Levin Mendes. The name, however 'off-beat' it may sound, does justice and truly represents everything that the music envelopes. How did it come about? We were almost soul-searching for a name that straddled the two distinctive facets of our music; folklore love + foreign lust. A good friend of ours, whom we shall speak about later, suggested that we name the project 'H?'. We loved it! It was fresh, imaginative, and original. But another brain-wave happened and Levin suggested the term 'Laxmi Bomb'. It seemed perfectly placed to deliver our message. That's when some serious deliberation began. We were caught in two minds. Laxmi Bomb or H?? We eventually used both; the former as the name of the project and the latter being our first EP.
2Blue: Within a short period since your genesis, you have garnered a fair share of media attention and fanfare. Tell us more about the journey.
Keegan: Now that’s partially untrue. We approached you for this interview [Keegan laughs]. But if the journey, thus far, has to be chronicled, it began with the release of a simple yet suggestive logo. The single ‘Reggae Rasiya’ followed thereafter. A few live renditions of the band appeared on the scene like Ragasthan/Blue Frog etc. Then came our first EP along with the artwork. This was sustained by a music video for ‘Major Major’ and further collaterals such as our first appearance on Balcony TV so on and so forth.
I guess people started taking notice of the individual elements. ‘Reggae Rasiya’ has its fair-share of takers. The logo has been well received as well the graphical depiction of Laxmi herself. Then ‘H?’ as a nomenclature stood out. Some prefer us live while others have simply enjoyed the video. But individual elements apart, people are now seeing the entire picture. And like any good story, they want to know what happens at the end.
2Blue: What are the challenges faced by non-mainstream artistes such as yourselves? How have you managed to circumvent them? What is it that drives the outfit?
Keegan: Ahh, challenges! Here’s a little story that will elucidate the answer you’re looking for. Laxmi Bomb was playing a corporate gig a few months back. Along with us were a bunch of “mainstream” artists on the programming schedule. Big names in the circuit! Names we wouldn’t dare mention; not for us but their own safety. We opened the show, obviously. The crowd enjoyed our set. I wouldn’t say they went ga-ga or felt we were the biggest thing to happen to earth since Albert Hoffman (definitely debatable). However, post our set, the ‘biggies’ performed. There was a folk act and thereafter headlining the show was a Punjabi MC. Man, he brought the house down. The crowd was literally eating off his hands. At one point, he clicked a ‘selfie’ on stage with a throng of women surrounding him. It was truly a highlight of the performance.
And then came reality. The ‘after-party’. We were chilling and having a few drinks when he approached us. He mentioned to us that he loved the set and was totally digging our music. But he had a simple question. “How do you guys make money?” To which we really had a very simple answer, "we don't". We explained that we just make the music we want to make and hope the best comes out of it. He seemed very dejected and almost broke down. He later explained that he always wanted to make his own music for all that it was worth, but he really needed the money. Think about it. Here was a guy who totally killed it on stage but found no solace on his life outside of it. He wants the money, we want the music. Now that is what drives us big time [Keegan smiles]!
2Blue: The music video for 'Major Major' never fails to raise an eyebrow. Tell us more about the story behind it.
Keegan: The first time I heard 'Major Major', the bass groove stuck in my mind. Where have I heard that sound before? Of course, it was the hypnotic percussion piece of the lady who follows the "devil whip-lasher" around the city. The exact same sound. It drew an extremely vivid imagery. And we knew we had to capture that intensity into a music video for the song. Further research illustrated that the name of this “devil whip-lasher” in common parlance is “kadak-laxmi”. Co-incidence? Who knows? The rest is out there for you to see.
P.S. The main character in the video is the same guy who conceptualized the term ‘H?’.
2Blue: What are your views on crowd-funded music projects?
Keegan: Well, it becomes a 'crowd-funded' project, music or otherwise, only when the crowd OWNS it. Else, it’s a poorly thought-out campaign without commercial/corporate backing. What you are really asking us is if they work or not. Of course they do. People fail to see that every project in the history of projects have been crowd-funded. It’s just a matter of whether it’s an 'x' amount at the start or the end of the excel sheet.
2Blue: For an outfit that gives out its music for free, how does it break even?
Keegan: Or how do we cope with the loss [Keegan laughs]? There are a few ways to earn money. LIVE GIGS! LIVE GIGS! LIVE GIGS! Not even your CD sales, Spotify accounts, iTunes distribution sales, merchandize etc. can ever make up for that. Who buys music these days? People buy tickets. People buy into events. As for tackling the latter bit, we just signed up with 'Sony Music. Hopefully they know a thing or two more than we do.
2Blue: What is likely to have happened in Laxmi Bomb’s life when we exchange notes in say, a year from now?
3 EPs. 1 full-length album. 1 tour in Firangi Paani. No, not the club in Bandra [Keegan laughs].
Article & Images By: 2Blue
2Blue (a.k.a Tirthankar Poddar) forayed into the Mumbai rock circuit in 2000. Having gained notoriety for his powerful high-pitched singing and on-stage charisma, he was soon invited to sing for Vayu. After 5 years in Vayu and countless monumental shows, 2Blue formed the hard rock band Zedde (pronounced z?d). Always a man for his heroes, the self-taught singer attributes his vocal prowess to his childhood heroes: David Coverdale, Joe Lynn Turner, Ian Gillan, Ronnie James Dio, and Bruce Dickinson. For him, if a thing was good once, it always is.
Image Credit: Laxmi Bomb