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Interviews |  02 Aug 2019 12:17 |  By Namrata Kale

We are the first to marry A Capella, Beat-boxing and 'vocal instrumentation': Voctronica band

Voctronica is India's first all-vocal ensemble that combines acapella, beatboxing and other innovative vocal tones to produce music that has the power of a full live band. Comprising of a melodious blend of beat-boxers, Indian classical, pop, blues and rock vocalists, Voctronica brings to you the real power of human voice. The live performance showcases a mix of originals along with popular English and Bollywood covers.
They do not carry any instruments or mics, their sounds are based on beatboxing and imitation of multiple instruments right from pop to jazz to hip-hop and reggae.
Voctronica was India's only representation among nearly 200 teams across the world at the Moscow Spring Acapella Festival in May 2019.
This unique band did share their wonderful thoughts on how the band was formed, how did they come together and much more:
How does it feel to be known as 'India's first all-vocal ensemble’?
Honestly, it's been really great. We've had multiple videos go viral, and have managed to introduce a fair few people in the country to all-vocal music, which is probably the biggest win amidst all. We aren’t saying this to claim that we have brought A Capella to the country; not at all. It's been here for a long time. However, we have been the first ones to marry A Capella, Beat-boxing and ‘vocal instrumentation’ in this fashion, and it's been a really rewarding journey. One of the biggest wins would be that our typical Indian families look at this as a real profession now, and don't ask us ‘what our real jobs are’, anymore.
We've also had some fans bring their kids backstage or write to us about them/their kids who attempt to beatbox or pursue A Capella. It’s extremely satisfying to not just be able to pass on whatever little knowledge we have gained through our experiments, but also watch parents encourage their kids in pursuing such creative musings.
When did you guys come together?
Voctronica was first put together by British Council India and Sony Music India, in conjunction with renowned beatboxer and vocal performer Shlomo (UK). The first setup dissolved shortly after but was restarted by some of the initial members along with a few new ones, about six years ago. This setup of six became a five-piece band about four years ago, then transitioned into a six-piece band again, as of 18 months ago.
What are some of the best memorable moments you guys have shared?
Our recent trip to Russia definitely tops the list. Moscow has left a great impression upon us, and we hope to go back soon. Opening for Alt-J, the collaboration with Amit Trivedi, and performing at the NH7 Weekender, are a few others that come to mind.
Where do you get your musical influences from?
As individuals, each of us has a varied taste in music from pop to Indian classical music to jazz to electronic music, progressive rock, even heavy metalto name a few; although different genres of music are enjoyed by the band as a whole, too. 80s and 90s pop and Bollywood have also played a fair part in our upbringing as Indian kids from those generations.
Despite humongous differences, how do you guys stick on one plan?
Wouldn't the world be a lot more bland with just one flavor? It would be far from true to think all of our personalities don't bring differing opinions and frequencies to the table, although they are not humongous. If you put six random people with musical talents and no instruments in a room, you need not necessarily get a band out of it. There has to be a common wavelength and shared goal in our band, and whatever the dissimilarities may be, our chemistry and friendship is a big part of why we stayed glued.
Any comments on collaboration with Vh1? How do you view Vh1 Listen?
The folks at Vh1 Listen have always been very supportive of our music, and given the timing of this happening, we couldn’t have been more grateful for a platform where we could directly engage with followers of indie music, perform some of our newer arrangements and talk about our campaign to represent India in Japan. VH1 Listen therefore justifies its position as an up-close and personal digital interaction with audiences who follow indie artists, and serves as a great way to be tuned into what they're saying. The listening is for the artist to do as well.
Being amongst the top eight teams at the Asian Cup A Capella competition at Vocal Asia, is the pressure too much to handle?
The first thing we did after coming back from Russia was to send in our application for Vocal Asia, knowing fully well that there were going to be only eight teams selected to perform at the finals. We had embraced our statistical chances of getting in, but obviously hoped for the best outcome. We were fortunate to get selected and since then, the focus has been on our preparation for the competition, and how we can get better as a unit. We hope to continue that process in Japan.
Who is the prankster in your band?
No one in particular. We’ve all got a sense of humor, but we are nice to each other in this band.
You have immense support from fans throughout the nation, what message would you like to give them?
Firstly, a big thank you to everyone who believes in us, supports our career and has taken the time to truly make an impact on us. This wouldn’t have been possible without a massive effort on the part of many individuals who came through for us. We look forward to doing our absolute best in Japan.
What are your future plans?
There is a lot of content in the pipeline. Through the last line-up change, pushing out our originals did take a backseat, but is ready to go now. We've recorded a couple, and intend to hit the studio with a couple more very soon. The most refreshing thing about all this is the opportunity to push the All Vocal Original space out to Indian audiences.
We also recently started a YouTube series called FanCam, where we go to the homes/offices of friends/fans, set up a GoPro on a ceiling/table fan (yes, quite literally fan-cam) and just bust a jam. (See what we did there?)This also allows us to connect with our patient and reliable audiences digitally, and more regularly as we'd like it to be. We are also keen on getting more active on the international A Capella and vocal music circuit, and bring a little flavor of India to the global community. For now, we have our next one year locked in, and we are excited about what the future holds for us.