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City Musicians Get Together For Fund Raising Concert

New experimental collective Square Routes makes their debut at You For Uttarakhand, also featuring Mumbai favorites like Blackstratblues and Spud In The Box

Rolling Stone India Aug 08, 2013
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Square Routes

Square Routes

In 2011, “seven Madrasis,” tooth aches and other ills that plague man and even a “day-to-day Buddha” made it to The Psychic Plumber and Other Lies, a collaborative project between composer Ashutosh Phatak and graphic novelist Sarnath Banerjee, one of the first projects that drew music and visual art together at Blue Frog, Mumbai. This week, Square Routes, a new collective of musicians from Mumbai, plan to follow a similar line of performance with music set to art from a graphic novel for their stage debut. As part of the fundraising gig, You For Uttarakhand, the collective will showcase an experimental set based on their yet-to-be-released graphic novel titled The Girl Inside The Robot, written by ad agency copywriter and singer-songwriter Shamindra Marcangelo Francis and artist/musician/ sound engineer Snehal T Jacob. Says Jacob, “We started Square Routes as a platform to get a bunch of independent, unsigned artists together. The idea is to build a community and encourage collaborations between them and even help record and produce their material.” Jacob and Francis are also currently setting up a recording studio in Mumbai and plan to release Square Projections, a bi-annual compilation featuring various music artists [sample their music here].

Page from The Girl Inside The Robot

Page from graphic novel, Girl Inside The Robot

As part of their 30-minute psychedelic set today, Square Routes will also feature spoken word artist Godfrey Borges, who will narrate a piece from their post apocalyptic novel, The Girl Inside The Robot, whose moralistic story is based “lightyears after the earth is destroyed.” Borges will be joined by Francis’s cousin Rachel on vocals, Rony Jose on bass and vocals, Pria Sule on keys, percussionist Eben Varghese on the cajon, Mohan Kumar on guitar and Jacob on the synth. Francis, who has curated the show, and is a vocalist and guitarist himself, will be playing the synth at the fundraiser. Says Francis, “I wrote this as a graphic novel and Snehal worked on the design. So for our debut show we decided to edit the book and adapt it to a musical format. Along the way, a few more artists joined in and added their bit to the soundscape.” With Square Routes ever-changing lineup, one thing he’s sure of is that no two gigs will be the same. “We could have easily got together musicians to do a few rock songs, but we decided not to take the usual path and do something different musically. We don’t want to be a set of rock musicians who necessarily make music to make people dance or headbang, but rather to give something that is interesting enough for people to sit back and pay attention,” he says, adding that they will take The Girl Inside The Robot to Delhi this October with a new set of musicians. 

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Tonight’s gig will also feature a bunch of other collaborations with Mumbai favorites Blackstratblues, Siddharth Basrur Project and pop rockers Spud In The Box, performing a 45-minute set each. Basrur, who performed at Blue Frog last month, returns with vocalists Naina Kundu and Spud In The Box’s Ankit Dayal joining him on stage along with Sankarshan Kini on the trumpet and flute. Says Basrur, “I’m trying not to play songs from my albums. I have a bunch of new material and some reworked old material that I plan to play this time.” Basrur will debut songs such as “Fire Drill Gone Wild” at the show. “A lot of my newer material is a lot heavier and has been composed on the electric guitar,” he adds. Spud In The Box vocalist, Dayal, adds that their set may include a few guest artists. “I can’t say much now, but we might have a musician collaborating with us on one of our new songs, ”˜Institute of Madness’,” he adds.  

You For Uttarakhand ft. Blackstratblues, Siddharth Basrur, Spud in the Box, Square Routes, Ryan Dias and The Other People takes place at Blue Frog, Mumbai on August 8th, 2013. Entry Rs 500. Event details here. Buy tickets here. 


Listen to “The Discovery” by Square Routes here:

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