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Limelight | Legally Blues

Swagat Baruah

Legally Blues is a blues band formed in 2015, by a group of law students of Gujarat National Law University. Ever since their inception, they’ve had an unimaginable winning streak across Gujarat, winning almost every competition they have participated in. The band is shaking up the whole music front in India by bringing in the blues in a revival like never before.

You’ve had an unbelievable winning streak in colleges in and around Gujarat. Tell us about it.

With the dearth of opportunities or maybe, because we are unfamiliar to the scene here, the only platform that we get is a college fest. So with the little that we have, we try to make the best out of these opportunities. Winning a competition maybe one of our objectives, but it is not the sole force that drives us. Knowing that earning laurels in such competitions is no reflection of the achievement of a band. Our greatest goal has always been to give the crowd something that they can take back from our performance.

To tell you more about the performances, we have played in a couple of college fests such as PDPU Flare 2015, PDPU Abhirbhav 2016, IIMA Chaos 2016, Spectrum NIFT 2016, NIRMA Vibes 3.0 2017 and IITG Blithchrone 2017 and we believe we have fared very well for starters and the experience we’ve gained is still inconceivable to us, given that it has been only a year and a half since the inception.

Pardon my posing this quintessential question, but are you looking for any tours or have you been offered already, given your invincible streak?

For a young band like ours it is always a dream to get a tour, and we were lucky to be considered for one such tour but unfortunately it didn’t fructify due to various reasons, personal and official. For now, we are trying to increase our reach and are open to all such opportunities.

Vaibhavi Rani Maske: Lead Singer

How many of your songs are covers and how many originals? Given that you’ve gained considerable prominence in this circuit, are you looking to create original tracks and go for recordings?

For now we have just been a band covering our favourite artists. Given our law school curriculum and other commitments, we have just been able to come up with one original composition.  This is something which has held us back in many aspects and now we are working on some new compositions. We are also planning to hit the studios very soon.

Avinash Kalikotay: Lead Guitarist

You have quite a unique genre for yourself to showcase. I’d say it’s the purest of all music- the Blues. But given the over-electronisation of songs and beat & bass music, how do you plan on sustaining your music, or rather how and as what do you project Blues music?

It’s true that the contemporary music is quite different from the music that we originally play and here we are at a juncture where we cannot neglect the desires of the audience for they are the ones who make us and break us. For a genre specific band as ours, it is very important to stick to the genre while giving as much variety as possible. Giving them different flavors that they demand, we try experimenting with our genre sans losing our roots. The genre is always above the band because the music is always above the band. The question is if we can become complementary in a relationship. Any great band for that matter has reached such levels after which the genre can’t survive without the band.

We came together as a band for our undying love for the Blues and we aim on keeping it this way. Blues will stay with us forever and the thrill will never be gone.

Akhil Ramesh: Keyboardist

It would strike anyone’s eye that your band’s lineup seems inspired by the Shillong Blues band ‘Soulmate’, with a female vocalist, two guitarists(lead & bass), keyboardist and a percussionist. How much of an influence has Soulmate played in your band’s life?

The line up is coincidental. But yes, we have really been inspired by this band from Shillong. This band has been instrumental in keeping the blues alive in the Indian Music scene, their originality and their character of not being commercial is praiseworthy. We had the opportunity to meet them on different occasions and their humility has left us in awe of them. They have been a source of inspiration for us and will always be.

Nabarun Ray: Bassist

How do you approach a song? Do you try to make a point through your music, the melody, or through your words, or through the notes?

It has been said that blues is easy to play but difficult to feel, the music that we play, its words, melodies, have an underlying connection with us and we try to communicate the same to our dear audience. We try to raise some of the most important social issues through our songs. For us music is just another form of communication, perhaps the grandest of all communications. Music speaks emotions, words which the tongue can’t speak out, feelings which can’t be replicated on the human face.

It’d be safe for me to say that you’ve adopted a fairly western genre of music, that being the Blues. But given the great exposure that you face, to Indian classical music, how does it influence your playing, or singing? Do you aim to achieve a subtle confluence of the both?

Most of us in the band are self-made musicians without any formal study. We are now trying to overcome our shortcomings, and yes we are in a process of learning. With the respect that we have for Indian Classic Music and just the basic knowledge in our own genre, we don’t want to experiment with it right now.

Iraiyanbu Prasad: Drummer

How do you deal with the audience? Is music for you the singular release of your emotions, or a communication, a dialogue with the audience?

The audience is the very force behind every band, their impact on performances is enormous. We consider ourselves to be blessed as we have been fortunate enough to play to a very good quality of audience. We understand music as  means of communications of human emotions, the more the audience interacts, the better. We talk to our well-wishers every now and then to take their views so that there is always a room for improvement.

Considering the fact that no great art is born in the present without references to the past, and that an artist’s work is the sum total of his experience of other artists, who have majorly influenced your music?

The list is long and will never end. All Blues artists have influenced us not only with their music but also with their approaches to life. There is a story behind every artist, and our attachment with them is something that we cannot express in words. To name a few, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, B.B. King, The Allman Brothers, Etta James, Soulmate, Beth Hart, John Mayor, Norah Jones. The list goes on…

How do you think music impacts people? What is the role that music plays, and what role would you want Legally Blues’ music to play?

The essence of music lies in the indelible mark that it leaves on the life of a listener. Music is just another reflection of human activities and emotions.

We as musicians want our listeners to enjoy our music and more importantly relate to our music. Music in itself knows no boundaries and we want our music to reach a varied range of audience. If we can contribute anything to this society then it is through music, and the contribution be such that we are remembered even when we are gone.

Music reaches the ends of this earth and the depths of the human heart and the mental space which can’t be reached through any other means. One listens to one particular song one rainy afternoon and breaks down, with memories of someone just flowing in and invading the mind, with no explanation at all. Words are just not enough.

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