Gatecrash-ing the Music Scene in India !

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookShare on TumblrShare on Google+Pin on Pinterest

Gatecrash is a music agency that supports the growing independent music scene in India – by curating and promoting live music, touring bands, and developing social initiatives. The organisation frequently collaborates with the network of Alliances Françaises in India, including Alliance Française de Bombay. An interview with Emmanuelle de Decker (Founder, Gatecrash) on what it means to run a forward-looking music agency in the subcontinent :

Hello! Could you please tell us a bit about yourself? 

Hello! I studied Arts & Culture Management in Dijon in France, and started working and traveling abroad as soon as I could. I’ve always been more attracted to working on the ground rather than studying books.

Emmanuelle de Decker (Founder, Gatecrash)

Emmanuelle de Decker (Founder, Gatecrash)

One of my first work-related internships was at the Dublin Jazz Festival and I absolutely loved it! I worked in different fields of the music industry – for artist booking agencies, festivals, record labels. Furthermore, I also worked for the French cultural network (French institutions) in Morocco, South Korea, and Kolkata.

Why did you choose to settle in India and specifically in Mumbai?

I got a job in India as Deputy Director of Alliance Française du Bengale in 2004. It was an incredible experience and I fell in love with Kolkata. It was the love for music that called me back. That call along with the strange sensation of “feeling alive and at home” in India is the reason I’ve been here for fifteen years now.

Emmanuelle de Decker

Emmanuelle de Decker

I moved to Mumbai to work as the Head of Live Music Programming for blueFROG for five years. I loved the curious, responsive, and open-minded audience along with the thirst for discovery and sense of adventure amongst music entrepreneurs. It was an amazing opportunity and an eye-opening experience on the wide range of exciting possibilities in India where everything is getting built.

How did the idea of forming Gatecrash come about?

I was very interested in seeing how the live music scene in India was growing and I wanted to organise more jazz, blues, soul, world music but also hip-hop and reggae concerts. I wanted to work closely with musicians – to be involved in the festival scene and to facilitate interactions between Indian and foreign music professionals. I wanted to do my own projects so starting an agency made sense and, in 2012, I founded Gatecrash.

An image from the Goa International Jazz Live Festival - Gatecrash in charge of programming for the same

An image from the Goa International Jazz Live Festival – Gatecrash in charge of programming for the same

It’s been a crazy roller coaster since then – a path that forces me everyday to look for who I am and what I want to do. It’s tough, it’s fascinating, and I don’t regret any bit of that adventure!

What are the challenges that a music agency faces in India? What kind of opportunities are unique to the subcontinent?

The biggest challenge I’ve been struggling with here is the fact that in huge cities like Mumbai (or Delhi or Kolkata), how do you ensure that people who are potentially interested in live music know about the concerts happening in their city. Traditional media is not relevant and social media is not enough. And I still haven’t found an answer to that question!

An image from the concert with Erik Truffaz and Riatsu at Alliance Française de Bangalore - the tour was brought to India by Gatecrash within the framework of Bonjour India 2017-18

An image from the concert with Erik Truffaz (2nd from left) and Riatsu (left) in Bangalore – the tour was brought to India for a multi-city by Gatecrash within the framework of Bonjour India 2017-18

I believe that “everything is possible” in India is true. The opportunities are numerous but it all starts with the people. People here are positive and encouraging. I’m lucky to have long-time and new dear friends. I have also had the experience of a stranger in the audience coming up to me, holding my hand and saying “thank you for all what you’ve done for the music scene in India, I know it’s tough, but don’t give up”. All the amazing people I’ve met here have become my family, they’re the reason why I’m still here and I’m extremely thankful to everyone who has encouraged me over these last fifteen years.

Gatecrash recently launched Music Mulakatein – a unique initiative which takes musical workshops and performances to disenfranchised communities. How did this idea come about and how do you plan on sustaining it?

It started with the common desire between a few musicians and myself to take live music to people who can’t afford to go to regular clubs and festivals. Each time we see these people’s smiles and eyes lighting up, we all remember why we wanted to be in music to begin with.

The afro funk band SUPERGOMBO conducted a workshop as part of MUSIC MULAKATEIN at the NGO Apnalaya in Govandi on Nov 26, 2018

The afro funk band SUPERGOMBO conducted a workshop as part of MUSIC MULAKATEIN at the NGO Apnalaya in Govandi on Nov 26, 2018

We have done a successful crowd-funding campaign with Ketto in January, which is currently allowing us to organise a performance once a month in 2019. We are creating video content and will hopefully be able to raise more money for this project in the future. A clip of the 6th edition of Music Mulakatein which entailed a Live Concert by Laxmi Bomb at the CORP India community center in Darukhana slums (Mumbai) can be found below :

Which short-term and long-term projects are you most excited about?

Gatecrash’s team is growing – with Tanish Thakker as my Business Partner and Alice de Parscau as our Project Manager – and it is super exciting to be able to brainstorm, exchange, and grow together. This will allow us to take on more projects – like curating more venues, inviting more bands to India, and dream bigger!

Music Mulakatein’ second step is to set up and offer training to young adults from underprivileged backgrounds in order to help them in their professional career. That’s what I personally want to focus on in the upcoming years. If my experience and my network can support inspiring projects like these, then it all makes sense.

The schedule of Gatecrash‘s upcoming project – a multi-city tour of the Melina Tobian Quintet – is given below :

MELINA TOBIANA tour poster

Siddharth Bhatt

Rédaction, AF Magazine Inde-Népal

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookShare on TumblrShare on Google+Pin on Pinterest

Comments are closed.

Rédaction

Directeur de publication : Délégation Générale de la Fondation Alliance Française en Inde et au Népal

Rédacteur en chef : Laurent Elisio Bordier

Rédacteur/Coordinateur national : Siddharth Bhatt

Rédacteurs, contributeurs : Guillaume, Abhirami, Alexandre, Chintan, Cléa, David, Eleonore, Elie, Kanika, Karine, Nita, Thomas, Malvika, Marie-Joëlle, Meera, Mayuri, Mitushi, Alice, Prutha, Romain, Ritika, Manas, Supriya ...