The fantastic four

Amrita Prasad
Thursday, 2 August 2018

Ahead of its performance in the city at Virsaa with Sanam Again, we speak to the band members who tell us about their journey, the city performance and upcoming projects.

Sanam, the band, is set to enthrall the Pune audience with its music and electrifying performance at Virsaa with Sanam Again, organised  by Trustfort Events. Sanam, the Indian pop rock band, which rose to fame on YouTube and is best known for recreating the magic of old and popular Hindi songs, consists of Sanam Puri (lead vocals), Samar Puri (lead guitar), Venky S (bass guitar) and Keshav Dhanraj (drums). Often referred to as India’s One Direction, Sanam’s renditions of classics like Gulabi Aankhen, Mere Mehboob Qayamat Hogi, O Mere Dil Ke Chain, Lag Ja Gale, Tuzase Naraz Nahi Zindagi etc, have created quite a rage among youngsters. Here’s chatting up the band members: 

Tell us about Virsaa with Sanam Again... 
Samar: The hardworking team at Virsaa made sure that we were comfortable and did all the preparations to make a successful event. It was probably our highlight concert last year, so we want to top that this year with an even more rocking concert. The street team, I am told, really reached out to people in the city. 
Ben Thomas (business manager of Sanam): The marketing and promotions were very well planned and executed which is imperative for the success of a live public concert. The team behind Virsaa is intelligent and hardworking and which is why amongst the multitude of ticketed concerts we had in the last financial year, Pune gave us the smoothest experience, effectively covering all essentials — promotions, technical, hospitality of entourage, PR etc. 

What is the feeling while performing in front of the audience in Pune?  
Keshav: Exhilarating! The city has so much love to give us and the energy we get from our audience is reciprocated back to them — we so look forward to rock out this Pune crowd.

You’ve recently been quoted as saying, ‘There’s more emphasis on vocalists and people are not very aware about the concept of a band’. But with bands like Pentagram, FunktuaTion, Raghu Dixit Project, Bombay Vikings etc trying to break the glass ceiling, don’t you think the concept of bands has become mainstream in India? 
Venky S: We hope people in India recognise music groups and bands with greater appreciation. There are definitely many good bands and even Indian movies that talk about bands, rock music, the culture around it etc. However, the emphasis still lies on singers. That’s not changed much.

Since you specialise in recreating classic Bollywood songs, where do you think the credibility lies in such projects?  
Keshav: What we really care about is making a difference in people’s lives through music. If that’d be with renditions of the classics, then great. When we get messages from our subscribers saying that three generations of a family are listening to our music and can bond on it together,  that makes us feel like we’re doing the right thing. Original music is what we started out with as a band, and with our latest original release Tu Yahaan, we hope to have made a song that’s as relatable to audiences as our renditions. The sound of our band is dynamic and we’re trying to innovate with each new song.

What do you enjoy more — recording in a studio or performing live? What are the advantages and limitations of both these creative expressions? 
Sanam: I think I enjoy the thrill and surge of adrenaline I experience while performing to a live audience. Making magic in the studio depends on many factors — how comfortable I’m that day, whether or not I’m feeling the vibe of the song, and so on. I really enjoy doing voice overdubs, stacking harmonies, etc.

Do you think there is a talent overkill — there are so many artists with YouTube at their disposal?
Sanam: There can never be enough music in the world. Talent needs to be nurtured and polished to make it stand out. I think we need to up the game and really prove that there is great music coming out from India — music that can cross boundaries and also acts that can travel the world and represent us.

What are some of the struggles that a YouTube artist faces? How did you overcome those hurdles? 
Venky: Working with small budgets and being smart and creative with it, is what the art of making YouTube videos is all about. It is possible to make a video that can change the world without much money. In general, it’s important to pick up skills that improve the quality of your video and audio — that’s something we did out of necessity. For instance, Samar picked up video editing skills because we’d shot the video of our original song Teri Aankhon Se and the editor, who was supposed to edit the video, didn’t have time to do it. 
Being consistent with your releases is important. Our manager Ben and his management company Kurian & Co (KNC Talent) always remind us about this key factor and help us in many ways.

What are your upcoming projects?  
Samar: We are working on interesting renditions of Indian pop songs, many more originals and also some regional songs that are going to come out in 2018.

Sanam is performing at Virsaa with Sanam Again on August 5 at The Westin, Koregaon Park, 6.30 pm onwards. Tickets can be bought from Ticketexpress, BookMyShow, Meraevents, eventshigh,, PayTM, and Townscript

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