Is a music band only supposed to talk, live, and breathe music? Or can they use their musical prowess for larger causes too? Anyone who has followed music over the years knows that music is most powerful when it appeals to us in more ways than one: think of all the anti-war songs we have witnessed. Or the multiple songs we have heard against attacks on women in our country.
This is the theme that guides Bottle Rockets, a multilingual band from Assam, who believe that music must offer more than just entertainment. In its quest to finding a greater purpose for art, this band not only delivers soul-touching music but also work for the greater good of the environment.
Formed in 2016 by two like-minded youths, this band went through its ups and downs before becoming home to Riaz Ahmed on guitar, Riyan on Violin, Arwin Marbaniang on the keyboard, Nilarnab Sarma on drums, Arghadeep Barua on vocals and Mrinal on the bass.
“Arunav, a friend, formed this band, but subsequently, some of us couldn’t sustain it. Three years later, we sat and decided to make Bottle Rockets India and ever since, it has been there. Our greatest influence and inspiration was our company as well as the environment around us,” said Argahadeep Barua when asked about the formation of the band.
“We got the opportunity to experience nature from such an intimate level. The impression it left on us helped us express the music you hear from us. It’s that exposure to nature and life that have helped us express ourselves,” said Arghadeep while talking about their compositions.
Riyan Bora added, “Until and unless you experience something, the feeling of care doesn’t take place. But thanks to God and the universe, we got the opportunity to visit places like Shirgaon in the Palghar district of Maharashtra. There, we witnessed beautiful landscapes along with meeting loving and caring people. As a result, it left a strong impression upon us, and things beautifully fell into place.”
Both Arghadeep and Riyan mentioned how lucky they are to have met people who understood their vision. “The contribution of our extended family in our journey is immense. I feel that so many souls have contributed to our songs. Maybe that’s the reason why the greater audience connects to our songs,” said Riyan.
The band’s close connection with nature and the people around them is reflected in the themes they pick: mental health awareness, cyclones, floods, etc. They are seen lending support and help to every issue that needs a humane touch.
Talking about performing for a cause, Arghadeep Barua said, “We are still evolving. We are committed to doing something for the society and the environment at large or doing events for a cause. We have to understand the greater purpose of art, and we are still trying to understand it, and we strongly feel that art has much more to offer. Whenever we get a chance: whether it is for the cyclone or covid relief or flood relief, we never shy away from it.”
Riyaz mentioned how some people have inspired them to perform for a cause. Both Arghadeep and Riyaz mentioned Assam artist Joi Barua and how he showed them a path to stand up for a cause for society, for the people and the environment at large.
Bottle Rockets India has performed at various concerts, mesmerising audiences. “For any artist, performing live is something that we all crave for and the experience is also dear to us,” Arghadeep said.
When asked about whether performing live is one of the biggest things they miss because of the pandemic, Arghadeep said, “Definitely. The pandemic has been a huge jolt for us. We miss performing live because the interaction you can have and experience during a live show cannot be matched, and you can’t compensate for that with online performances. We look forward to performing live again. I hope everything passes soon.” But can a pandemic hold the musician away from music? No! Bottle Rockets India will soon release a new song of theirs titled “Bhaagorua.”
Currently based in Guwahati, Bottle Rockets India plans to move to greener pastures. “As a band and most probably as an individual, we feel tired working from very urban space. This helps us get more contacts, but deep beneath, we are more village people or nature sort person so if we get an opportunity, we will definitely move to a greener and calmer place, but as of now, we will be based out of Guwahati only,” said Arghadeep.