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Mumbai’s Sitara Studio Launches Open Jam

Open Jam, starting August 5th, hopes to foster new talent, push artists to form new bands even

Megha Mahindru Jul 31, 2013
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Monica Dogra, Neel Adhikari, Ananda Sen jamming at Sitara Studio ahead of All Starr Jamm.

Monica Dogra, Neel Adhikari, Ananda Sen jamming at Sitara Studio ahead of All Starr Jamm.

Nikhil Hemrajani, who set up the jam studio at Sitara Studio with singer/songwriter Aazin Printer has spent many hours at music stores across the city. It is also the place where he’s made many friends. Says Hemrajani, “I’ve met some great musicians, exchanged numbers and stayed in touch after hearing them play at stores like Furtados.” He also knows that the staff at music stores can send the artists packing, albeit with silent looks of disapproval, if they decided to use the store as a space to practise their chops. “But it’s not like you can sit at Furtados and play their guitar for five hours,” adds Hemrajani.

Breaking away from the conventional jam room set up, meant for bands to rehearse, Sitara Open Jam, which launches August 5th, hopes to support solo musicians who want to get together for a jam. “There’s no formal place to meet artists. Mostly you bump into them at gigs but you talk about it and forget. This is a great way to meet and connect,” says Hemrajani.  Of course, what makes these meetings more appealing is that artists in Mumbai can book themselves a slot at  Sitara Open Jam for the price of a pint of beer at a dive (Rs 100 an hour per person). 

The studio space, which will be available to solo artists for jams between 9am to 1pm, will book no more than 10 artists at a time. “With Sitara Studio, the idea was not to have a regular tight place as a studio. It was always meant to be a multi-purpose space, rather than a standard jam room,” says Hemrajani. While the venue has hosted gigs such as the third edition of Control ALT Delete, a crowd-funded gig featuring Indian alternative bands and UK dubstep duo Skream & Benga’s Mumbai debut, bands such as Mumbai’s The Lightyears Explode and artists such as Monica Dogra, Suman Sridhar and The Supersonics’ Ananda Sen from Kolkata have showed up at the first floor rehearsal space for jam sessions. In June, the studio even hosted a mini gig in the form of a secret set by Pentagram on frontman Vishal Dadlani’s birthday.

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Gurgaon bar Speakeasy has been hosting similar Open Jam Nights since March, inviting performing artists to collaborate. Over 12 jam nights, the event has featured 51 musicians and eventually helped formed two bands. While Hemrajani is quick to draw a list of what makes his studio space more favorable for jamming [“affordable”, “state of the art equipment”, “intimate space”], he has no answer to the quandary when only a single artist signs in, making the jam more of a solo session. “A solo musician too has lots to keep him going. At a low cost, he/she can utilize our high-end equipment. We did not want this to be an Assisted Open Jam Session where we bring in an artist and then ask people to register. We wanted it to be more organic,” says Hemrajani. Printer, co-founder of the jam studio at Sitara, adds: “We want more people to collaborate. Often, I meet a guitarist who’s looking for a drummer or a bassist, this is where we will help. We will try and connect the dots. If a vocalist is looking out for a guitarist, we will inform him when a guitarist is schedule to play and so on.” Bands too have more to look forward to. While college bands get a 50 per cent discount on hiring the studio (they pay only Rs 250 an hour), non-college goers can also avail the discount during the Happy Hour slot at the studio from 2pm to 6pm every day.

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To register for Sitara Open Jam, call 022 2422 1666/ +919820117970 or email [email protected] Timings 9am to 1pm.

 

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