Bangalore singer-songwriter Mahesh has long been a favorite of the Sofar teams in India, so to celebrate the launch of his new EP Accept, Sofar India sent him on a six city tour in August, including stops in Shillong, Pune, Bombay, Goa, Bangalore and Kochi. The cities were revealed the night before each show. Mahesh talks to us about his most memorable tour moments and what the Indian independent scene is like:
His first Sofar:
I played my first show in 2015. It also happened to be my very first time at a Sofar show. I’d been a fan of Sofar because of YouTube for a while. But finally playing one in my own town? That was a special evening.
Artists he’s loving right now:
Tom Misch, Jordan Rakei, PJ Morton. I’ve been going back to some Paolo Nutini as well!
Favorite Sofar artists he’s discovered:
YEBBA! She’s one of my most favourite voices in the world. Thank you for showing the world that incredible gem of a soul. Lianne La Havas and Tank and the Bangas have been on my favorites too!
Dream Sofar acts:
I’d love to see Damien Rice on a Sofar show. That’d be real special.
Why a Sofar tour was perfect for his new EP release:
I named my recently released EP Accept because you’re only given one moment at a time in life and the only choice you have is to accept it. One of the perfect examples of this sentiment is a Sofar Sounds show. The lineup and venue is kept secret and people come to the show with a purpose around music and to enjoy the moment for what it is. And so, there was no better way for me to do my pre-release tour for Accept than with Sofar.
How he views the Indian independent music industry in 2018:
I’ve been around in the scene relatively short compared to some of the most relevant names in Indian independent music right now. So I would take my opinion as just that - an opinion.
The country is filled with extremely talented musicians and passionate music communities and venues. The number of music festivals have been increasing each year. We strive every single day to keep the spirit of music alive while trying to create a demand big enough for this supply. The grassroots movement (preceding a sustainable industry) is where we’re at if you were to ask me.
Throughout the Sofar tour, it was an incredibly insightful journey to travel the subcontinent and play music to people from such varied lifestyles and cultural backgrounds. But music was something they could all celebrate as one. And I know it’s the same all over the world. That gives me hope that independent music from this country could become more relevant in the lives of people here in India and beyond.
The cities on his tour most different from his hometown of Bangalore:
Every city had a flavour of its own. And that’s what made the tour so wonderful. Having grown up in a metropolitan suburb, I can never have too much of the hills and the seas; Sofar Shillong and Sofar Goa respectively were extremely special for that reason.
The most memorable moment of his Sofar India tour:
I have a song called “Your Mind” that’s about coming out of the bubble called the mind and facing the moment for what it is. It describes the purpose of this whole project called Accept including the tour.
My most stand out moments were those when I was singing this song in each city. Having the audience sing and celebrating the moment together for what it is felt surreal.
His post-tour plans:
It’s been a few weeks since Accept was released. I will reach the finish line on October 19th with the launch gig which also happens to be a live concert taping event. There are a lot of gigs to do for the rest of the year as well but I’m excited to be able to finally write some new music and explore sounds. I’ve got lots more music on the way!