Kolkata Alt Rockers Ron N Me: ‘Musicians Aren’t Appreciated Here’
The songwriting duo on the local music scene, their new music video, and sticking together through lineup overhauls
You could say 2016 was a good year for Ron N Me, the brainchild of Kolkata musicians Angana Ghosh and Deepankar Guha (whose nickname is Ronnie a.k.a. Ron). The alt-rock band, which was formed in 2011, enjoyed a string of gigs in Kolkata following their successes at Channel V Launchpad 2015, which they won, and the Hornbill International Rock Contest 2015, where they placed as finalists. And last year, after years of going through session drummers and bassists, the band were finally able to find a bassist–Sudip Saha–who stuck around.
Ghosh, the vocalist in the band, writes the lyrics, while Guha plays guitar and composes the music. Their first band together, an early incarnation of Ron N Me, was called Short Notice because they had to pull a bassist and drummer together in three days after Ghosh caught the attention of her college’s festival organizers and was asked to open for the Pakistani band Raesh.
Since then, they’ve had a turbulent time with band members. Though Ghosh and Guha have remained the songwriting constants in Ron N Me, they’ve been through seven drummers and six bassists in the last two years alone. Ghosh puts it down to Kolkata’s fraught music scene. “Calcutta leans a little bit more towards Bollywood and old-school rock, so they don’t really get new music; they don’t really take it that well,” she says. “I’ve seen responses [when we’re outside Kolkata], they’re just like, ”˜This is a band from Calcutta doing this sound, and not old-school rock?’”
Ron N Me have just released a lyric video for one of the first songs that Guha wrote for the band, “Another Mind.” The video’s illustrations of jagged peaks echo the track’s sharp, gritty guitar riffs and bassline, and Ghosh’s Hayley Williams-esque vocals validate her remark: it’s hard for people to believe that this band came out of Kolkata.
“[In Kolkata,] every house has one musician. People love music here,” says Guha. “But they don’t go out to concerts, or buy albums. Musicians aren’t appreciated here.”
Because they find Kolkata’s music scene to be unreceptive to their sound, which leans into hard rock, with influences from bands such as American rockers Incubus and Swedish experimental outfit Freak Kitchen, both Ghosh and Guha have full-time corporate jobs outside of the music industry. Ghosh talks to me on the phone during her lunch break while Guha admits that he just woke up, and speaks to me sleepily before one of his shifts at work. “We’ve always wanted to do something different with our music,” says Guha. “Our sound has changed [since we began]. Nowadays, we use a lot of effects.”
While Ghosh notes that the band gets “immense amounts of respect” from fans in Kolkata, both Ghosh and Guha separately express their interest in leaving the city to perform elsewhere–so perhaps a move may be in the cards. “To be very honest, we’ve thought of moving out of the city and pursuing music as a career,” says Guha. “It’s on my bucket list. Bombay is the place to be.”
Watch the new video for Ron N Me’s song, “Another Mind”:
[youtube width=”640″ height=”360″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88Y5zLpH7WM[/youtube]