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Raghav Meattle Captures Mumbai Of Yesteryear in ‘City Life’ Music Video

The song is the singer-songwriter’s first solo release since his 2018 debut album ‘Songs From a Matchbox’

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David Britto Apr 09, 2020

Mumbai-based singer-songwriter Raghav Meattle. Photo: Courtesy of the artist

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The scene in which Mumbai singer-songwriter Raghav Meattle is seen sitting at a café in Bandra in the music video for his new plaintive song “City Life” was born out of a peculiar instance of tragicomedy. That shot was originally planned — in guerilla-style — to take place at an Irani café in Mahim with the musician, a few friends, director Rajdip Ray and cinematography Abhimanyu Sengupta.

He says, “As soon as you ask people in Bombay [for permission] they will be like give me money or its illegal so you can’t do it.” Meattle narrates the events that took place further and says, “Rajdip was just checking his camera and suddenly the owner comes and starts screaming at his brother [the cashier] and says to him, ‘You’ve not taken money from them to shoot and you’ve not told me about it.’”

What ensued was a lot of bickering between the two owners and plenty of yelling being hurdled towards Meattle and company with threats to even call the police. “The owner held my hand and said you cannot leave,” he says. As a crowd gathered at the scene, people began to help the musician and his friends escape by forming a human chain which prevented the café owners from keeping them. Meattle says, “We just hailed a cab and ran away.”

Before the musician was fighting off angry café owners, he was just trying to follow-up his debut album Songs From a Matchbox [2018] and has been going full throttle at it. He went on to collaborate on fellow musician Vernon Noronha’s bubbly track “Dream Sandwich,” perform extensively across the country, make it to the Top 24 of talent hunt Nexa Music and even nabbed a job as the head of marketing at label Big Bang Music. “It’s a lot of fun because I’m still working in the music business and applying everything that I’ve learned as a musician-entrepreneur over the years,” he says.

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The lyrical theme for “City Life” came about when the singer-songwriter took a trip to the hills in Bhimtal with his parents. Meattle explains that sometimes we forget what we are missing out on when we are caught up in our daily lives. He says, “All the pollution, noise, dirt and lack of time and empathy stops bothering you after a point, especially in a city like Bombay.” The musician would go on to complete writing the track in Coonoor while part of an artist residency called Dabaki. “I guess it’s just the kind of song that couldn’t really be written in a city,” he says.

When filmmaker Ray first heard Meattle perform “City Life” on comedian Abish Mathews’ talk show Son of Abish, he wasted no time informing the singer-songwriter that he wanted to shoot a video for it. What makes the clip for “City Life” unique was that it was shot on film using a reel “to give it a feel of the years gone by.” Meattle says, “It was pretty crazy, we only had four minutes of film available and there are no retakes.” The reel was eventually sent to Andec Filmtechnik in Berlin to be developed. In the nostalgic clip which depicts the colors of Mumbai, we see Meattle commuting around the city in a train, bus and taxi while also performing the song at quaint locations.

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Meattle tracked the song at Mumbai’s Island City Studios under the watchful eye of producer Zain Calcuttawala. Bassist Nishant Nagar and rock outfit The Koniac Net’s drummer Karun Kannampilly and guitarist Jason Dsouza also added their talents to the song. “City Life” was mastered by Indo-American prog-rockers Skyharbor’s guitarist Keshav Dhar.

While in self-isolation due to the coronavirus pandemic, the singer-songwriter has been busy with his day job and is also tying up the loose ends to a recently penned song. Next, collaborations with Hyderabad-based musician Shor and Calcuttawala’s duo Horse Garden Productions with guitarist Siddharth Talwar of alt-rockers Spud in the Box will be out soon. In addition, Meattle has been churning out plenty of memes on his Instagram handle during quarantine but says he’s “itching to start gigging.” He adds, “I just want to keep having fun with my music and experimenting with new formats that keep me excited to do more!”

Watch the video for “City Life” below: 

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