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Mixtape Talks About Jacob Collier In India

features Aug 12, 01:29pm

Mixtape CEO Naveen Deshpande elaborates on the ins and outs of setting up the Jacob Collier gig
 Photo Courtesy: Naman Saraiya, Morgan Hill-Murphy

Jacob Collier has been making huge waves in the international music landscape over the last five-odd years. From his beginings making music by himself on Youtube to his current status as a musical force signed to Quincy Jones Productions and doing tours around the world, Jacob’s incredible talent has marveled anyone that’s come across his content. Those Youtube videos have now turned into appearances with Snarky Puppy, collaborations with Herbie Hancock and studio albums. Next month, Jacob will be coming to India for the first time courtesy Mixtape; he will play at the Tata Theater in Mumbai as a stop on a multi-country Asia tour. We spoke to Mixtape CEO Naveen Deshpande about the genesis of the gig and more.



1. How did the show come together? What was the idea behind bringing Jacob down to India?

I met Jose Ortega (Jacob’s Sound engineer) in 2016 while working on the Oya Festival in Norway who planted Jacob’s music in my head.  Jose also connected me to Quincy Jones’ team who manage Jacob, and since 2017, I have been in touch with them to see how we could make India happen. We were very close to locking a tour with him last year but it got moved to this year since he got busy writing his 4-part album DJESSE.
At Mixtape, we have always been pushing the envelope in bringing the best of live/electronic talent to India. In the past we’ve hosted many legendary acts such as Tinariwen, Telefon Tel Aviv, Dubioza Kolektiv and many more; this is a continuation of bringing forward-thinking acts to this side of the world.


2. DJESSE is a massive undertaking; a 4-volume concept project involving traditional genres of music from tons of different countries. Considering India’s heritage and diversity musically, do you think there might be scope for the world music genre to really take off here?

‘World’ music as we know it has been around in India for a long time now. People like Zakir Hussain, Trilok Gurtu and many more were travelling around and collaborating with musicians from different countries years ago and it has always been a big genre in the country.


3. As we know, Jacob has enough talent for a full band and utilizes close to a full band setup for his one-man show. This is obviously an even more elaborate situation with MARO, Robin Mullarkey and Christian Euman in the live band (all huge musicians themselves). How has your past experience doing Mixtape gigs prepared you for the behind-the-scenes setup of this show? (I assume there’s a lot of backline and specialized gear that needed to be sourced for this)

Very honestly this is something we do day in and day out. Our production team and touring division having worked with multiple international artists for many years now have all the expertise in setting up the best experiences both for the artists as well the audiences. Yes, there is a lot of backline and specialized gear needed, but all of that is now available in the country and can be easily sourced. Specifically to this show a lot of gear is coming with the band themselves as they prefer traveling with their own gear.




“I don’t think any musician in this country is really worried about not having a stable listener base. Since the 90s, legendary acts like Pentagram and Bombay Black and even current ones like Raghu Dixit, Parekh and Singh and many more have stuck to doing what they have believed in and we have seen how their fanbases have grown.”
- Naveen Deshpande, CEO, Mixtape

4. Jacob first got big on Youtube doing arrangements and making music far beyond (as far as most laypeople were concerned) his age and experience. How do you think Youtube thus compares to regular and old media as a means of discovering and founding the careers of young and talented artists?

Youtube is one of the best platforms to discover any genre of music. We as a promoter have always preferred having a look at all the YouTube videos and stats of an artist before booking them. In fact, even for this tour, we received a full report from the management which ensured us we select the correct city for the only available date on this World tour.


5. It’s quite apparent that artists like Jacob make music purely from the love of the art and a desire to create. Listeners are another matter; they like to follow music they are for the most part comfortable with. Do you think that the music scene in India could allow for artists to be a bit more risky with their experimentations while keeping a stable listener base?

I don’t think any musician in this country is really worried about not having a stable listener base. Since the 90s, legendary acts like Pentagram and Bombay Black and even current ones like Raghu Dixit, Parekh and Singh and many more have stuck to doing what they have believed in and we have seen how their fanbases have grown. Almost everyone has experimented to have their own unique sound and the audience here has been welcoming that fully with a great spirit.


6. There has been an influx of live music in the country where artists that ‘challenge’ the musical tastes of listeners have replaced artists every person in the crowd might already know about. What is your opinion on the importance of this shift and do you think you are furthering this change in sensibility with this upcoming show?

Most of the festivals in this country have had 60% of programming with live acts. In fact the idea of hosting more obscure, ‘challenging’ artists has been there for quite some time now. Take for example, at SULA fest, there was a band called Dubioza Kolektiv from Bosnia that no one had heard of before. I had seen them at Glastonbury and was blown away, and I knew they would be a perfect fit for the festival. Unsurprisingly, their set turned out better than the headliner that year and people still write to us asking when we are getting them back.
By taking these performances to auditoriums our aim is to imbibe a culture of more relaxed and focused music listening. 2 years ago our Tinariwen show set a precedent for many other gigs which have happened in this format and with Jacob Collier’s show, we aim to push our own envelope by bringing in a production which people here have never experienced before.

Due to extra demand, another show at the same venue has been added on September 17.


Watch Jacob Collier's performance video below:



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