Nakash Aziz: We Did a 5-City Tour for Ericsson and Trust Me, it was Like a College Show!

Entertainment | November 11, 2016 | Interview

Ericcson NCPA Aricent Puma Sony

Singer Nakash Aziz, who is perhaps best known for his songs ‘Selfie Le Re’ from Bajrani Bhaijaan, ‘Jabra Fan’ from Fan and his songs in 'Banjo, is also an artist who’s well-acquainted with India’s LIVE music scene, having only recently performed at the Bollywood Music Project. He frequently performs at weddings and for corporates, and has performed gigs at ‘My Holi Fest’, an event by Optimal X, a division of the Times Group;  an event managed by Platinum World Group for a French bank; launch events for Le Eco; and a lot more.

In this interview, Aziz talks about what its’s like for him performing at corporate and live events, his favourite venues, and how an artist management company make it possible for artists to focus on what they do best.

Do you approach corporate events, weddings and concerts/festivals differently? What are some things an artist must keep in mind for each format?

From what I have seen, artists treat concerts and corporate events differently and have different sets for each. What I have tried to do is incorporate one set list which I think is going to be great, because people are people at the end of the day, and it doesn’t mean they all come with a different frame of mind. What I want to do is give everyone a wonderful experience because that is something I enjoy doing. As a musician, what everyone likes to have is a concert where they sit down and listen to what an artist has to offer, and enjoy the musicality and the whole energy of the show.

So I kind of wanted to break away from doing one corporate set, or one set for weddings or one for public shows. I’ve been doing stage shows from Class 7 professionally, after that I was into music production so I had taken a break. When I got back to performing, I wanted to do shows which were not ‘chindi’ - where I just do it on a 2-piece band - because this doesn’t feel right. I feel I can give an audience a very good experience with the entire setup and all.

When I work with a corporate, what I want to do is to get to know the company, their ideologies, where they are coming from and why they called me in the first place. I try to also understand a little bit of their history and incorporate some of that in my show, and maybe engage their employees. There are singers and dancers in these organisations, too, who are their office stars, so I try to also give them a little bit of exposure and understand what they’re about. It is like a party for them so I try to make it as if I’m invited for that party.

Looking at your own experience with corporate gigs, what do you think about the opportunities created for artists by the various events corporates organise, not simply in terms of the number of gigs, but also opportunities to try new things in new setups?

We did a 5-city tour for Ericsson recently and trust me, it was like a college show. The employees were like college students. It was too much fun! So I think somewhere I have been able to crack that. But now I’m also looking to improve my content – that’s what I’m working on right now, in terms of new songs and I also want to incorporate of a lot of technology into my shows.

When people come to watch a show, they are engaged visually and sonically as well. So, there’s the light, the sound and the songs you have.  There are 3000-4000 people in every show and you have to cater to all of them. And you have to find a middle path. Which is why I have made a playlist containing the kind of songs I think people will like. And I don’t want to have that whole ‘Abhi Kya Chal Raha Hai?’ approach. It’s about what I’m comfortable doing and what I think I can do best.

I also do shows with Pritamda. A few days ago we both performed at the Fortuner car launch event. Then I did something for Aricent Technology, Puma, Sony, Intel…these are a few names that come to mind.

What’s your opinion of the venues you’ve performed at? What areas would you like to see improved.

I think venues in India are a little expensive because normally we don’t get anything to do with the acoustics of the venue - so if they can work on the acoustics of the venue that would be great.

I really like performing in open air venues or auditoriums like NCPA, which is one of my favourite auditoriums in Mumbai. Other than that, I think Kingdom of Dreams in Gurgaon is one hell of a facility. With open air venues there’s no issues with sound usually, unless there’s a building somewhere. At Reliance Jio Grounds, there were some issues recently.

Recently I went to Bhubaneshwar to this place called Utkal Mandap, which was very nice, like an amphitheatre, very beautiful.

What are some challenges you face as an artist performing at diverse events?

I think for me the biggest challenge is quality. I want to satisfy myself and have a great time on stage. If I’m not having a great time, I don’t think I can give anyone else a good time either. It’s really important that me and my band are on the right head-space, first of all, and we want to do the best quality show - give them something they’ve never heard before, surprise them. Normally, people go by that herd mentality. This is good now, ‘abhi ye chalta hai’. I don’t believe in that. If something is good, it is always good. Things like that inspire me.

Time is sometimes a problem. With the tech aspect, we often want a longer sound-check to get everything right, because it really helps to go ahead with the show.

How does having a good artist manager help with issues you face?

My management (Kwan) takes care of most aspects. Some days there are problems, but they only teach you to get better. To grow. Without this you’d get very stagnant.

The thing with Kwan is they are very professional, they have a hierarchy and are like a corporate themselves. It’s good to be answerable like they are and to have targets. I can really approach them in a professional way if I want something done, and if it’s not done I can raise that up with them. They have rules in place.  We also share a personal relationship, but when it comes to work they are very professional.

In this interview, Singer Nakash Aziz talks about the phenomenal opportunities corporate events present to artists, how he approaches shows, and the importance of an artist management company!

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