Why Delhi’s The Local Train Are Rock’s Next Big Thing
There aren’t many Indian independent rock bands in the 1 million-views club on YouTube, but New Delhi’s The Local Train are already past the 5 million mark within 5 years of actively making music videos.
Bassist Ramit Mehra says with a laugh, “We have one of the fastest growing YouTube channels right now, for an indie band. I can’t compare ourselves to cover artists, which people do on YouTube!”
The Local Train have been around since 2008, but it’s only recently that the band has had their time in the spotlight, playing shows across the country, amassing a fanbase onstage as well as online.
The band’s straightforward pop-rock leaning Hindi tunes found a home on their debut album Aalas Ka Pedh in 2015, but the newer songs seem like they’re just made for the biggest stages.
The latest addition to their discography (and super-popular YouTube channel) is the carpe-diem, philosophising music video to Khudi, starring Arjun Mathur in a quest for meaning, his journey guided by colourful, emphatic music that brings in big-room drumming, twinkly guitars and a vocal hook that sticks instantly.
Vocalist and guitarist Raman Negi says that Khudi has been 2 years in the making, undergoing regular changes as and when they played it live, but reached completion in March.
They teamed up with production house Jungle Book Entertainment’s Gaurav Dhingra, who had previously tapped the band for the film Angry Indian Goddesses, which featured Aaoge Tum Kabhi.
Raman says, “Gaurav really liked our work and when he heard Khudi, he really wanted to work on a video with us for it. He introduced us to (filmmaker and VFX artist) Vijesh Rajan, and we’d already seen some of his work, like the video he’d done for Your Chin. He explained about 10 concepts and we zeroed in on one.”
The song has already ramped up over 1,50,000 views in 10 days, even as the band points out that the 5-minute song wasn’t picked up by any radio stations.
Raman adds, “We have to admit that we do have a huge fanbase now, which makes it easier for us to reach people.”
With that kind of reach, The Local Train is also fairly confident that they don’t need a record label to push their music ahead. They’re working on their follow-up to Aalas ka Pedh, a second album that’s set to release in September.
“We’re recording the fifth song right now. We’re thinking of putting in 8-9 songs on the album, depending on how many we finish!” Ramit adds, “The next album and songs will be a little heavier, with our own take on rock ‘n’ roll,” says Raman
With writing and recording in full swing, the band says they’ll keep the gigs to a minimum, to focus on completing the yet-to-be-titled album.
Ramit plots it out, saying, “September onwards, we’re going to have a proper album tour. Until then, we’ll have 1-2 gigs a month to try out stuff. It’s like an open-mic with stand-up comedians.”