During our childhood, the radio played a huge role in introducing us to new music. We heard Suvamita, Rupankar Bagchi, Lopamudra Mitra- to name a few, for the first time on radio. Prior to this, we had cassettes and cassette companies encouraged new artists and new songs, a lot. That encouragement from the media is somewhere missing these days. Also, we are in a transition phase. Suddenly the radio fad died down and digital media took over. The audience gets confused too. They have slowly got accustomed to digital media now and we do get to hear new songs more frequently now.
Iman Chakraborty - Vocal
Ayan Mukherjee - Keyboard
Sohom- Bass guitar
Sumit Guha - Percussion section
Ram - Percussion section
Dibyojyoti Mukherjee- Various instruments
Gourab- Back Vocal
RK: How did you first meet each other? Has anything surprised you about it all so far?
Iman: Probably three to four years back… we think four years back, while I was still singing with a different set of people, I was introduced to ‘Babai’ by a friend. He assembled all of us under one roof and thus Team Togetherness was formed.
RK: When was the first show for Team Togetherness?
Team Togetherness: It was in Durgapur on 15th August, 2015.
RK: Please share some experience of first show.
Iman: Until this band formed, I was singing in a completely different set up. Frankly, as it was the very first day of our band performance, so no one opens up . We took some time to open up to each other completely. However, from the first day itself, I enjoyed singing with them. It was fun working with them. This was my first experience with them and it was such a good experience.
RK: What genres do you usually cover?
TT: We have no answer to this. We cover all types and all kinds of songs. Music has no discrimination. We try to do justice to the songs no matter what genre we choose. However, we have different sound scapes for these, designed in our own way.
RK: Does Team Togetherness have any plans of composing an original piece ?
TT: Of course! We do wish to compose our own songs. However, currently we are focusing on rearranging the songs sung by Iman, in our own ways and presenting it to the audience.
RK: Can the audience expect any song by Team Togetherness on silver screen, soon ?
TT: We don’t know. It might happen, it might not happen. If it happens, then it would be fantastic.
RK: You sing mostly in Bengali, wherever you go, not only in India but abroad too. How is the response of non-Bengali audience, who doesn’t know the language very well?
TT: Since we sing in Bengali, most of our shows are for the Bengali society of that particular area, be it within India or abroad. Once in a while, if there are non-bengali speaking audience we cater to their requests too. For instance, at a show in Asansol, a major part of the audience was non-bengali speaking. They requested us to sing songs in Hindi. We did so in our way and they accepted us really well. Music has no language.
RK: As per your experience, what kind of music earns the maximum response from the youth?
TT: Our content structure for college fests to corporate shows, remain the same always with modification of one or two songs here and there. Yes, we also perform additional songs on request from the audience. Other than that, it’s all the same. The presentation of the song is important. If any song is presented as pleasing manner, it will be accepted by all.
RK: Back in the day, the media promoted the new artists to a great extent. These days, we get to hear music only from established singers. What role do you think the media plays in promoting good music ?
TT: During our childhood, the radio played a huge role in introducing us to new music. We heard Suvamita, RupankarBagchi, LopamudraMitra- to name a few, for the first time on radio. Prior to this, we had cassettes and cassette companies encouraged new artists and new songs, a lot. That encouragement from the media is somewhere missing these days. Also, we are in a transition phase. Suddenly the radio fad died down and digital media took over. The audience gets confused too. They have slowly got accustomed to digital media now and we do get to hear new songs more frequently now.
RK: Bengali music industry has become a lot more film oriented industry. What do you think ?
TT: The scenario is same all over India. In fact, the music industry has become hit film oriented industry. A song is very easily accepted if it is from the hit film. Other songs might take time but they are accepted too. There are many good songs that have not been accepted well. We have to do our work and leave the rest upon the audience.
RK: Music is diverse and your band is a perfect example of unity in diversity. What brings the band together?
TT: We treat each and every song in the same manner. We rearrange the songs before we perform. We have even re-arranged a song as popular as ‘Tumi jake valobaso’ too. Even before the band was formed, we all had one common principle that is to create something new by amalgamating our individual contributions in our own ways. In fact, one of the major reasons we are being accepted is because we have a good blend of both eastern and western music. For example we use the drums as well as the ‘pakhowaj’.
RK: What do you prefer more? stage shows or recordings?
TT: Obviously stage shows since there is a direct reciprocation from the audience.
RK: How has your different music schooling influenced you individually while composing songs?
TT: We have each received music schooling from different music schools and music teachers. We put in our individual ideas and create something new. Here seven people have seven different thought process. The idea is to bring the thoughts under one roof and create something new. Thus, we grow every day. We don’t repeat the arrangement of songs. We try to create something new every time.
RK: What’s next from Team Togetherness?
TT: We have performed all over the world at prestigious functions and stages. However, we don’t have an official music video. The next thing on our list is definitely music video. Let’s see.
RK: Albums don’t sell anymore. What impact do you think it is having on the music industry?
TT: Yes, records don’t sell anymore. We think the impact is quite negative. There are many people who are not yet accustomed to digital media. When you pay something to listen to music, that gives a different joy and teaches you to value music. We artists put in so much effort and time into creating music. Is it very hard to spend a few coins to get that music!
RK: Can’t established artists like you take an initiative to ban free music?
TT: We don’t put up our songs for free. But the media has so many loopholes. The songs can easily be downloaded for free from other popular websites. Moreover, even if one person does spend some money to buy a song, the rest don’t feel the need to buy it cause piracy exists.
RK: What are your suggestions to stop piracy?
TT: Unity is the only way out. We can’t eradicate piracy completely without implications of strict laws. However, in today’s time, we all artists need to come forward and stand together and stand by each other.
RK: Do you have any suggestions for new artists who want to reach out to the audience?
TT: In this age, if the digital platform is utilised properly, then nothing can be better. Keep making good music and reach out to the audience. The audience will listen to good music.
RK: We (Retro Kolkata) are trying to build one single stage for all the artists, because we believe that artists are the most beautiful creation of God and geographical boundary can never break their unity and harmony. Please say something about our initiative and any special message for your followers.
TT: Music never ever had boundaries. When we are listening to any artist, his or her nationality plays no role. We have always had cultural exchanges globally and this will continue in the future too. We want Retro Kolkata reaches out to all the artists with their thought provoking and intriguing questions and explore art all the more.
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