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Ahmedabad’s Compass Box Studio Turns One

Producer, bassist and guitarist Raag Sethi says there will be a compilation album out featuring live sessions from Hanita Bhambri, Second Sight and more

Anurag Tagat Feb 10, 2020

Raag Sethi (second from right) sits in on a live session at his Compass Box Studio in Ahmedabad. Photo: Courtesy of Compass Box Studio

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The offer of free recording in a studio in Ahmedabad might just be one way to keep the quality of musicianship in Gujarat’s independent music circuit steady. Launched in January 2019, Compass Box Studio celebrated its first year running last month.

Founder and producer Raag Sethi says, “We hope that its incentivizing more people to write original material, because then they can get a chance to come to the studio to record their song for free, with a top class production job. Through the live sessions, I have worked with different artists from Ahmedabad to produce EPs and full length albums.”

Sethi – also part of jazz band Heat Sink – is referring to the Compass Box Studio Live Sessions, a performance video series that’s been churning out one video nearly every week. The performers have included the likes of singer-songwriter Samar Mehdi, jazz-fusion artist Aditi Ramesh, New Delhi-based Hanita Bhambri, Meghalaya rock act Fame the Band and Gujarat’s own emerging indie talent – singer-songwriter Meera Desai, singer-guitairst Shashwat Bulusu, instrumental rock band The Malakar Experience and more. Sethi says when he started Compass Box Studio, he only wanted to take on recording work. “Unfortunately, there aren’t too many bands or artists recording enough original work to warrant a large space with drums and tube amps and mics. Since there was a lot of down time in the studio, that’s when the idea of one take, live sessions with different artists came to mind,” he adds.

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With about 1,400 subscribers and just shy of 100,000 total views, the Compass Box Studio YouTube page offers a good insight on the new and notable in Gujarat’s indie space. The live sessions are entirely voluntary based and Sethi gets to rearrange and produce one track. “[It’s] like having one unique performance for that space only,” he says.

To mark the one year anniversary, there’s a compilation album in the works featuring all the songs from the live sessions. While recording facilities such as Benchmark Studios in Thane have previously released compilations, the Compass Box Studio Live Sessions album might be a first of sorts in terms of a live recorded indie album. The eight-track compilation will feature songs by Aditi Ramesh, Hanita Bhambri, Mumbai singer-songwriter Sahil Dhandhia, Vadodara/Mumbai rock band Sulphur Snow, singer-songwriter duo Second Sight, Pune singer-songwriter Navya Sharma, Bhopal/Ahmedabad artist Prayas Rokde and The Malakar Experience. The album will release by the end of February.

Meanwhile, the live sessions continue, alongside more explorations such as podcast-style video interviews and more. Sethi says, “Originally another challenge was trying to find good indie talent to come and record, as we didn’t think anyone would come down to Ahmedabad for a live session. Now our inbox is flooded by artists and bands from across India asking about the live sessions and if we’d be interested in producing their work.”

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Watch Hanita Bhambri perform “Nothing Of Our Own” below. Check out more videos from the Compass Box Studio Live Sessions here

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