Musically Bonded: The Local Train

Musically Bonded: The Local Train

Someone great once said that music binds the world together. It was this same musical bond that brought together a radio jockey, two demotivated engineers, and an Arts graduate, to form one of the most popular Hindi rock bands in India—The Local Train. Raman Negi creates magic while crooning on the mic, with Ramit Mehra on the bass, Sahil Sarin behind the drums and Paras Thakur strumming the guitar, The Local Train is bringing indie rock to the masses. Edited excerpts...

Let’s start from the beginning. How did the four of you come together to form the band? 
We were all doing different things, it was not like we met in college or at a coaching centre. We ended up jamming in a studio and wrote our first album, Aalas Ka Pedh. We wanted to write our own music which brought us, and kept us together. 

From forming a band, to releasing your first album, Aalas Ka Pedh, to becoming such a huge hit today; how has the journey been for you all? 
It’s been an amazing journey. We took our sweet time to create the album, but that was also a learning curve. Whatever we’ve learned through those years while making the album, touring and promoting it, is all part of the experience. Aalas Ka Pedh was made when all of us were really young, and it was our debut album as well. We can now make our own songs and create some amazing music; this is the outcome of just four people being passionate about something. 

Do you guys ever think of branching out to other genre of music, or do you want to stick to what you do best? 
We always like to explore new sounds and create our own vibe with it, but it is a process that has no set steps to follow. We have a particular sound for the band and are always exploring around it. 

Do you guys ever think of branching out to other genre of music, or do you want to stick to what you do best? 
We always like to explore new sounds and create our own vibe with it, but it is a process that has no set steps to follow. We have a particular sound for the band and are always exploring around it. 

Your album, Aalas Ka Pedh, went on to be one of the ‘‘Most Streamed Albums’’ on Apple Music. Do you think digital music platforms and social media has bridged the gaps between artists and music lovers? 
Social media and online music streaming services are very important. We released Aalas Ka Pedh independently, and now it is one of the top selling albums in India. Our music is playing everywhere, and we have fans from different corners of the world. Social media and streaming services certainly amplified our reach, and we were able to share our music with a lot of people. We love the fact that something we produced as musicians in order to express ourselves, has received such recognition from all over. 

You guys are a big hit amongst the crowds and all your shows are sold out. What has been your most memorable live performance so far? 
Wow, this is a tough question. To be honest, nothing gives us a better high than an entire crowd singing our songs word for word. If we have to choose one performance though, then it has to be the one at the OnePlus Music Festival, at DY Patil Stadium. Playing a stadium gig has always been a dream for us and we are very lucky to have experienced it as an indie band; sharing the same stage with Dua Lipa and Katy Perry. That one was right off the bucket list. 

In your latest album, Vaaqif, you have focused on topics like existential crisis, and the pain of nothingness in life. What made you pen down and focus on such issues? 
We try our best to write about things that we notice around us, and the songs are an amalgamation of ideas that we want to talk about. Also, none of our songs are close-ended. People look for different meanings in songs and take what they like out of them. So while there’s a song that talks about hope and overcoming challenging phases in your life, there is another that talks about self-actualisation.  

Who do you believe to be the biggest inspiration behind your music? 
With such a wide age gap between band members, all of us had different influences in terms of music. Our music influences range from Nirvana, Aerosmith, Porcupine Tree, Opeth, U2, Twenty One Pilots, and Alt-J and many more. Closer home, Lucky Ali is one of our favourites. 

Do you think the state of Hindi rock in India has improved since you guys started out? 
Definitely. The indie circuit in India was still in its nascent stage when we started out. Things are changing now, because when we go and perform in a small town, there are musicians who actually approach us, and speak to us about our technique and methods. It’s amazing to see artists and bands from different regions, showcasing their music and getting recognition for it.

What’s in store for The Local Train next? Can we expect a new album in 2020? 
Yes, we are working on our third album, and we are taking a new approach in terms of musicality, but at the same time, making it work for the game. We create what interests us at the time, and let it roll.

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