Regional music, language and lyrics scale up at the Deccan Alternative Music Conference in Bengaluru

Feb 7, 2024


target | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

What is Sangeet Sammelan and what happens there? Well, judging by the schedule of the upcoming Deccan Alternative Music Conference, the answer appears to be “a lot.”

According to Prarthana Sen, co-founder of Neon Culture, a Bengaluru-based music business consultancy, the first edition of the event is the best combination of both a conference and a music showcase. “Most such conferences held in India are on a larger, more prestigious scale. But now, as the Indian independent music industry has started growing, there is not much conversation happening at the real stakeholder level,” says Pratanna.

“Artists need to know how to run themselves as a business; Typically, professionals who want to work in the music industry have to work five jobs to make a living. We saw this gap, so we wanted to make it a business-to-community conversation,” she adds.

Deccan Alternative Music Conference (DAMC) will feature people who are running their own companies as well as talent and management agencies, conducting workshops and master classes. “DAMC is aimed at artists, students and mid-level career professionals in music who will shape the future of the industry. We want this conversation to start at the grassroots level and grow from there,” says Prarthana.

Prarthana and co-founder Vishruti Bindal believe that regular events like this will open up conversations about the music landscape, especially in the Deccan region. “Places like Kochi and Odisha are starting to explore their own music industries. So we are ready for hyperlocal regional conversations.”

Vishruti Bindal and Prarthana Sen

Vishruthi Bindal and Prarthana Sen Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

“It's called Deccan Alternative Music Conference because our approach is hyperlocal. We are starting with Bengaluru as it is the home city of Neon Culture, but we plan to take this conference to a new city every year. The idea is that performances by the city's artists will help attendees delve deeper into the local music scene each year.

While DAMC invited applications from all artists, an anonymous jury chose musicians “who already had some music and were ready to take it to the next level. These artists were recognized for their live performance as well as their The potential to explore other avenues of presenting their music outside of the home city must have been realized.

Eight musical acts have made the final list and participated in a series of virtual workshops. “We coached them on how to put together pitches for sync opportunities or for pitching for other showcases globally. It's expected when you're performing to a room full of stakeholders.

“I believe this is particularly appropriate as there are only two-three composers on this list who perform in English – most are writing in the regional language.”

Finalists include Tulu band Alva Kuuto; Clan Bocca Fod whose USP is Dakhni rap; Ghole Bhai, a group of Nepali musicians who met in Bengaluru; Kaali, a Kannada rapper and Lakshya, an instrumental band whose signature is contemporary music with elements of jazz and classical Carnatic music.

Conference attendees can also benefit from masterclasses and workshops on topics such as Rights Administration and Music Licensing, How the Money Flows, Artist Management 101 and similar topics.

Ghoule Bhai

Ghoule Bhai Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

“These conferences are a little unusual because we only have master classes and workshops for mid to experience level career professionals in music. Presentations will be made by companies that can create opportunities for artists, students and other music business professionals.

Additionally, there are networking slots intentionally built into the conference to make the conference as effective as possible.

Bengaluru Creative Circus (BCC) is the venue for the conference during the day, while Social Indiranagar and The Raft at Koramangala will be the venue for the showcase in the evening.

“We chose BCC for its circular economy because we have seen many incidents where there is a lot of wastage. We are working with BCC to make DAMC sustainable by using as much scrap material as possible,” says Prarthana.

Tickets for both are being sold separately, “since anyone can come to a show, whereas a convention would draw people with different interests.”

Tickets for the Deccan Alternative Music Conference to be held on 9th and 10th February are available on Skillbox. Details of the workshop schedule are available at or on Instagram.

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