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Watch: Underground Authority’s New Video ‘Microphone’

The Kolkata rap rockers address artistic freedom with the help of rotoscope animation for their second music video

Rolling Stone India
Rolling Stone India Sep 19, 2015
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We’ve heard of albums taking years together, but here’s a curious case of a music video that took Kolkata rap rock band Underground Authority and director Arka Gupta four years to complete. The video that was planned as the band’s debut showcase, in 2011, for their song “Microphone”, is finally out.

A lot of things have changed in these years for both Gupta and Underground Authority. Back in 2011, Gupta was a student working on “Microphone” as his diploma project as part of his Animation and Film course at the National Institute of Design, and Underground Authority were just gaining traction for their performance on TV show India’s Got Talent and wowing college campuses across the country with their renditions of Bollywood covers and originals, including “Microphone.” Says Gupta, “They were planning to release the song in 2011 with the album, but when the album got delayed, I took time too.” The song underwent a few changes by the time it was released as part of Underground Authority’s album You Authority in 2014 and Gupta even reshot parts to sync with the video.

The video features the band [including former guitarist Kuntal De] performing on rooftops in Kolkata. These shots are interspersed with an animated story about two separate artists who overcome obstacles to exhibit their art. Gupta used rotoscoping, a style that traces live-action footage into an animated sphere, in the project. Says Gupta, “The animation took two years because I was naively working on it on my own instead of getting animators. I wanted to capture the hand-drawn quality of animation and the realism of video.” Vocalist EPR Iyer adds, “We grew up on animated videos like ”˜Breaking the Habit’ [by nu-metal band Linkin Park] and wanted something like that. Arka has worked really hard on it and it shows.”

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