Musical journey of four young architects — Tale of a traveling band – Nowhere Station


FEATURE | MAY 31, 2020:

By Jonathan Donald Syiemlieh

What began as a busking project among four friends, who were at that point of time pursuing a course in planning and architecture, transformed into a full-fledged independent band creating their own music.

The band would busk wherever an opportunity provided itself, and it was during one of their road trips that birthed the conception of a travelling music band that finds itself in the middle of nowhere. The band previously known as ' The middle of nowhere' is popular on social media by the name 'nowherestation'; hence, they have been known as 'Nowhere station' since 2017.

The current line-up roster includes Rijul Singh (vocals and rhythm guitar), Anurag Hazarika (lead guitar), Dhruv Dhingra (bass guitar and synth) and Anant Mital (drums). In eagerness of creating an impact as a band that is brought by the people, to the people, they launched a crowd-funding campaign to fund their first album. And their maiden single 'Oceans beyond' from this crowd-funded album released across all major music streaming platforms on the 8th of May, 2020.

Their debut album, 'Nowhere Station One' narrates a candid story of the band's journey — a journey of four architects jamming in the institution's music room to where they are now. The first single, Oceans Beyond, was also the first song the band composed and fittingly describes an 'artist's block', a moment of confusion and lack of direction resulting from the inability to create something original on-demand.

During the creative process comes a time when the ideas seem to run dry, and inspiration becomes sorely lacking which is a common dilemma across all of the creative fields together and plagues every artist. Oceans Beyond melodically marries the struggle of waiting for that 'aha-moment' with the idea of patience and inspiration. With the refrain "Do you know that all it takes is a while? Do you know that all it takes is a smile?", the song tells us to take a step back and wait a while – trust and have faith in yourself.

Oceans Beyond is a song that encourages us to be patient and embrace the mental block, which is a part of the creative process. Some people are of the opinion that creativity is an innate inherent talent, a switch that the gifted can turn on whenever they so please, this couldn't be farther from the truth. Many renowned writers, artists, and musicians have reported periods of stalled creativity at some point in their careers.

The timed release of this single during a pandemic where the socio-cultural norm is to make the most of this "extra" time is indicative of the band's stance against the hustle culture. We live in a time where one's self worth – especially artists' are so closely linked to their outputs.

Artists succumb to the pressures of productivity, which could manifest itself in many ways. Some could say the rise in mental health ailments can also be linked to this constant need to get back to the grind. The spark of inspiration for any creative individual lies in surrendering to the creative process – sometimes that means waiting patiently and moving away from the neo-capitalist hustle culture.

The band establishes their stand-point about using creative block as a period of inspiration by collaborating with their friends – violinist Bala (Balakumar Ravichandran) and digital artist Pranay Dilawari. The richness of the sound of the violin and the artwork compliment the layered sentiments of this song and further reiterate their belief about using collaboration and collective creation as a part of the creative process. Melancholic yet inspirational, Oceans Beyond leaves you feeling uplifted in a period of ambiguity.

Following their last single 'Baby Bye Bye' which was a fun song about fickle minded modern day lovers, this song delves deeper into the creative process – a message to all creators outthere.

The band plans to release a new song from the album every month, with the whole album being released in its entirety in September. The next single, "You've Got Me", picks up where Oceans Beyond leaves off, describing the superficially-enticing world that the band was thrown into, albeit with its own complexities and contradictions that weren't always explicit.

Nowhere Station has always placed an emphasis on individual interpretation and collaboration among artists, and therefore will be collaborating with different artists (graphic designers, musicians, painters, poets etc) for each release. While the original plan was to release every single in a different Indian city – the band setting up and leaving multiple 'Nowhere Stations' in their wake – the current situation with the COVID 19 pandemic has shifted the releases online across all music sharing platforms.