Come May 20, London’s Southbank Centre will light up with the best of music, dance, literature, comedy, fashion and art from South Asia. In its seventh year now, the Alchemy fest celebrates the cultural connect between the UK, and the Indian subcontinent. Its music line-up has something for every listener, and includes tabla maestro Zakir Hussain, Bollywood trio Shankar Ehsaan Loy, Kuljit Bhamra (known for his West-meets-East bhangra), and a number of rock acts.
Bengaluru’s Rahul Giri, aka _RHL, known for hiphop, grime, footwork and even dubstep, is also a part of this gig list. While it’s his second outing at the Alchemy fest, he will perform at the ‘massive’ Liverpool Sound City Music Festival, and Bristol’s famous Watershed Club for the first time, before heading to the Southbank Centre.
Giri, one half of the contemporary act Sulk Station, let us in on what to expect from his UK tour, where he will be accompanied by other Indian outfits — Peter Cat Recording Co, Lifafa, and BLOT!, “We will make our first stop at The Great Escape in Brighton on May 19. It is a platform to showcase new sounds. Then Suryakant Sawhney (of electronica act Lifafa), and I will perform in Liverpool, and Bristol. All of us will come together again in London for Alchemy.”
What has he in store for the European crowd? “It’s a mix of alternative rock, hiphop, footwork, basically a lot of my solo stuff. We are also working on light arrangements,” says the 34-year-old artiste.
While Giri is not much of a traveller, it’s difficult to resist going around cities like London, and Bristol, he admits, adding, “It depends on the money situation (laughs).”
After flying back home, Giri will get busy with his solo EP, and a few releases coming out under his new label, Consolidate. It started out as a Facebook community of electronic musicians from Bengaluru in 2013, to fill in the void of record labels in India, and tap into new talent. Currently, they are a collective of 15 artistes, including Worm’s Cottage, Oceantied, and Pardafash.
Consolidate put out its first EP in 2015, called Peach Tea Since July, and released its first album, Frnds & Fmly 2016, this January. In the next three months, Aniruddh Menon will release an album, and Disco Puppet, and Oceantied will upload an EP each, as part of Consolidate. “2016 is more about output,” Giri concludes.
Listen to Consolidate’s music on soundcloud.com
— Barkha Kumari