Sherrin Varghese has played many roles in a career spanning almost 20 years - Singer, musician, actor & host. It all began with The Rubber Band, the first band he played with, before he was picked and packaged along with four other guys, going down in history as India's first boy band, A Band of Boys. The Boys hit the big time with their 2002 debut album, Yeh bhi woh bhi, performing numerous gigs all over India and venues around the world. In 2004 they did their first film Kis Kis Ko. Since then the band members pursued their individual careers but still got together to release four more albums over the years.More of an indie musician, Sherrin too charted his own path, curating his own brand of Electro Pop, Commercial EDM / BDM, Dubstep, Tech House, Techno & his own genre which he calls Bollytronica. He has acted in a few films and numerous TV shows and also done lot of music and shows in the South where he has a huge fan following. He has recently launched his online show called 'Circuit' where he hosts various artists to chat and create music. Raga to Rock caught up with this multi talented artist to talk about his new show.
What is your show The Circuit" all about ... and its USP?
The show is called "The Circuit" & this is a live streaming chat show with musical performances by noteworthy musicians hosted by me.
It has a couple of USP's, firstly that it is a live show in the truest sense, cos we are streaming live. Which means there is zero post-production and the entire live switching, editing, lower thirds, show flow, encoding, streaming etc., are all done live. Since it's a live show the audience watching can participate, give comments & suggestions & they are are all attended to, responded to in real time, which raises the presence & kicks in the reward algorithms of the internet a lot.
Secondly this is a show with only performances by artists with original compositions of either the artist themselves or perhaps a song which they have originally sung or performed for someone else's composition, arrangement or production only. The performances & interaction of these artists with me, most of whom are peers and colleagues along with the live engagement leaves the audience in an immersive feeling of participation in the now & that's what I feel is the USP of the show.
How did your show name 'The Circuit' come about? not any influence of Munnabhai MBBS....
The name came about cos I'm a singer & music producer with heavy Engineering & tech influences and the insides of my studio looks like a Printed Circuit Board and when the time came to build an IP, I couldn't think of a better name, cos it literally is my circuit of people who are being put out there and they are handpicked based on merit only. Also it spins into pop culture references such as Pop Circuit, Rock Circuit, Indie Circuit, Bolly Circuit, Short Circuit, Off Circuit etc.
How did the show come about?
This was originally conceived as a 24 minute episodic content of 7 songs where each episode would have an original composition of mine, produced by writers, musicians, arrangers & producers who are better than me & the initial 20 minutes of each of these episodes would be interviews by the several artists, lyricists, musicians, music producers, sound, recording & mix engineers who have helped, write, put together, arrange, record, capture, produce, mix & deliver a master to these songs. The last 4 minutes of each of these episodes would be a live performance by an in house live band of the same song. I pitched the same to Harman Professional Solutions of whom I am an endorser and they wonderfully supported & came on board as the chief sponsor & provided all the record, capture & playback gear for the same. Several other partners have joined in, namely Musikshack who came on board as the instrument partner, Desi Tortillas & Sagar -The family Treat as our snack & food partner.
While putting this together I realised that just putting these 7 songs just like that on the internet would not create a ripple loud enough hence decided to produce the current live streaming episodes of guests performing their songs with interviews as a prequel to build up the property to a sizeable number of episodes and then drop these 7 episodes with my songs as the hero content of the season finale
Who are the Artists featured...and the best part of each one of them...?
These are all artists who I have a personal connect with and most of them are from my Indi-Pop batch from the 90's and just the welcoming nature with which they have agreed to grace us with their presence has been the best part about each of them. We've had multi-intrumentalist, Sidd Coutto, ace guitarist Chandresh Kudwa, Indie baritone benchmark act, Anand Bhaskar Collective, ultra talented Raman Mahadevan, mademoiselle Shibani Kashyap so far & several other beautiful artists lined up for Season 1.
How do you produce it..Budgets, sponosors?
Producing this has been a lifetime of my studying, learning & understanding of all my engineering, conceiving, conjuring & production skills coming together. They have all been tapped into & put together to produce what I believe has the potential to be a very unique & interesting show. This series has the backing of a highly efficient & talented crew comprising of an Executive Producer team, "iDreamzzs", who does the live switching/editing, streaming, encoding etc, along with my live sound engineer Sigmind Quadros, who does the live mix, ensures top notch audio quality to the stream & makes sure that the tech riders of each of these artists are met with all the gear and instruments provided by our partners. Also 2 young musicians & producers Nischal Chaubey & Adrian Fernandez who don the roles of tech assistants are the hands and legs of this show without whom the show would just not work. Just the research, trial & error & execution required for such a show has been so rewarding that we all thrive in the knowledge share & the DIY nature of it. Our main sponsor is Harman Professional solutions
The difficulties being a producer?
Everything about the show has been a huge learning curve. I had to take a call on whether to use the sponsorship monies towards hiring the right equipment & a professional crew needed to pull this off or to buy the gear and learn how to do a #LiveConcertStream with a skeletal crew myself as the former had no direct advantage except the launch of 7 songs for me.
I consciously chose the latter which meant researching, learning & figuring how to do everything right from lighting, camera work, switching, encoding, streaming on my own and then figuring a crew which would learn to do this with me & work through the trial & error. We finally bought all the equipment including lights, stands, chroma, cameras, switcher, encoder etc., & fixed my studio space into a shooting floor with all the audio video treatment needed. Then we created a design, look, feel, tone & the content needed to produce a show of this nature with this crew along with paid consultations from experts around the world who do such shows. I spent 3 months scouring the internet figuring compatibility, requesting demos, commissioning & buying the right equipment with zero tolerance error cos the budget restrictions meant that I couldn't afford to buy the wrong gear. The hard work paid off & I have put together a unique show which could become a way of life with me henceforth & right now I could give a master class in streaming anything!
My influences for the same are PhotoJoseph, Snarky Puppy, Sofar Sounds, Cercle & locally our very own Coke studio. All in all it's been a very rewarding experience and the very fact that in 9 episodes with 3 of them being completely trial & error ones, we have managed to pull off what generally takes an entire television network and channel to figure, I'd say we are in a good space right now with the merits far outweighing the difficulties!
How has been the response to the show..Views, Interactions..etc.
The response to the show is amazing. All our partners are very happy with the visibility and the interaction is top notch. Subscriptions have gone up on my channel and the comments keep us going and the best part about the internet is that anything you plant there, grows!
Plans for season 2?
Season 2 will see us going into product placements and endorsements and an upgrade into the content where I'll be calling singers, musicians, & artists to guest & collaborate with me on an original composition of mine which they will perform live with me & the in house band. This I believe will be the turning point of this property and if all goes well I see myself producing original Indie content and becoming a force to reckon with in the music field as a composer, producer & artiste.
I would love to be filling in the Joe Rogan, Jimmy Fallon space in our country with an extension of "The Circuit", currently on Thurdays to an alternative "Celebrity Circuit" on Wednesdays and also "Circuitry" featuring DJ's & Live Electronica artists on Fridays. Given that I have had first hand experience of working with Shekhar Suman on Movers & Shakers ( Sony Entertainment Television) for the same, I hope & pray all that experience comes in handy!
What are your future plans...songs ..album ,shows,etc..
This whole program has been conceived to release one original song, every week, constituting albums of work & eventually boosting the Live stage gigs which I'm prolific for. I met Prasoon Joshi on a flight who remarked that in India one has to constantly churn to be relevant. It is true for himself, Javed Sahab, even Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy & A.R. Rahman. Therefore I believe I have produced a platform which lets one churn at the economic & efficient best of oneself. I look forward to associating and acquiring more business partners onto this IP. Here on it is all up to the almighty. Praise the Lord!
Those of you who have been around from the 1960's through the 1990's will remember the vibrant live music scene in almost every starred hotel in India. Those were the days when you walked into a nightclub like 'Rendezvous' at The Taj Mahal hotel and 'Supper Club' at the Oberoi Sheraton in Mumbai to see curtains going up on a band that was the prime focus of these outlets. Every seat in these restaurants allowed an unobstructed view of the band that performed every night on resident contracts. Today all this has disappeared thanks to some ridiculously high entertainment taxes on live music. Today, non off these hotels have complete bands playing save for a few that feature small duos or solo singers. The Lodhi in New Delhi, recently listed among the world's best hotels, decided to step in and rewind to the good old days. They got Goa's premier jazz quartet 'Jazz Junction' to move to Delhi on a resident contract and the decision has paid off in terms of footfalls generated by the band. Jazz Junction featuring singer Daniella Rodrigues, pianist Tony Dias,
bassist Colin D'Cruz and drummer Angelo Colasco began playing at The Lodhi in June 2018. Four months into the contract the band generated a sizeable following, with quite a few high profile guests choosing to celebrate their special occasion at the Elan bar where the band performs. Against all odds the rewind option proved to be a huge success and hopefully other properties around the country takes the cue to trigger a whole new revival of live music.