In July 2011, Jubin Jacob, a student of architecture at the School of Planning and Architecture in New Delhi, was frustrated. Jubin loves music; he even plays a couple of instruments. For the last one year he had been waiting to attend a particular music festival in Pune, but this was the second year in a row that the festival was clashing with his exams or something of equal importance in college. So, instead of skipping exams and college assignments, Jubin decided to get together with a few friends, Unmesh and Vanshika, and start a music festival of their own and thus was born The Gig Week (TGW).
In the words of Jubin, TGW is a combination of a music festival and a platform for independent unrecognized talent in music. Structured in a series of back-to-back gigs held over a week in Delhi across various venues, TGW has managed to pack in unprecedented crowds even on weekdays, despite apprehensions of the more seasoned music aficionados. They’ve had some of the best indie Indian bands perform from Blackstrat Blues, Junkyard Groove, Barefaced Liar, Half Step Down, Cyanide and more.
Last week, we caught up with the 22 year old for a lively conversation about life, music, love and TGW. Before we knew it, we were two hours and four pages of interesting stories into the conversation. Here’s a little of what Jubin had to say –
Q)You’re 22 and we’ve met numerous people who say, “Everyone knows Jubin. He’s so cool!” You’re one of the most networked, recognized and loved college students in Delhi, especially in the music community. How does it feel?
A)Wow, thank you for the kind words! I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t matter. It of course feels good; especially when you meet new people and find out they’ve been attending TGW for the last two years and continue to look forward to it. It also feels incredible to be a part of the success stories of a number of musicians from in and around Delhi, who in some way or the other benefited from the TWG platform.
But irrespective of all this, there are times when I get a reality check about how little I’ve done and how much more there is for me to achieve. Especially when I look around and see musicians and artists who are doing incredibly well for themselves at my age. It is quite overwhelming and keeps me going and striving for more.
Q)Are you happy with the reaction you got for TGW?
In 2011, it was brilliant. However, in 2012 the two co-founders, Unmesh and Vanshika weren’t’t available, and so I didn’t want to organize it. But, people all around urged me to do it. In July 2012, we decided to keep the event after all. And it was explosive. In a gig at Blue Frog, while we were expecting 300-400 people, some 700 turned up. And it’s still going good. We’ve had people asking us about TGW since March. It’s an amazing feeling when people remember you for something you’ve done and are anticipating more from your end – it keeps the challenge alive, keeps you on your toes. I am very excited about the third edition, which will be held around August-September this year.
Q)How has TGW shaped your life?
strong>A)At my age, academics is considered the most important thing and it is difficult to get out of that mindset, especially since the corporate world treats you like a kid. But, once you get out there at this age the respect you get is overwhelming. Earning and maintaining that respect has taught me a lot. It taught me professionalism, something everyone has to accept sooner or later. It has taught me how to work in a team, and help the team grow instead of just the individual. I also learnt how to manage my time – organizing seven back-to-back shows, while going to college, doing assignments and staying at home isn’t’ an easy task. All in all, it made me a better human being.
Q)Did you face any difficulties launching TGW? How did you tackle them?
A)The first year was much easier in comparison to the second. The indie music scene in Delhi was going through a slump; both bands and venues were looking for opportunities for shows. However, corporates were quite skeptical given that we were still in college and didn’t have much experience. In the first year we didn’t manage to get any sponsorship. But that didn’t stop us, and the support we got from the student and music community kept us going.
In the second year, sponsorship was an issue again. But thanks to our track record, we managed a few good sponsors. In terms of the venues, it got a bit difficult because now there were many music festivals apart from ours and we had to explain to them how we were different from the rest. The bands were pretty responsive though because they got a lot of exposure through us on radio, magazines, online media and of course, future gigs. Since most people from the core team got busy or moved out for further studies, only three of the original eight team members remained. Training newbies all over again was a consuming task!
Q)What are your plans for TGW 2013?
A)The main focus is to provide a bigger stage for bands. We are looking for outdoor venues since our crowd has increased and we need more space. Also, this year we are planning to accommodate some new genres. In the first two years we focused on metal and EDM respectively. This year we plan to include both, along with a dedicated night for western classical music, singer-songwriters, jazz, blues, and some indie fusion artists. Earlier our crowd primarily consisted of students and young corporates, but now that we’re planning to target older age groups as well.
Q)What is in store for you in the next year or so?
I have two architecture projects to finish, apart from TGW 2013. My main profession will always be architecture and design, but I plan to make time for my hobbies too. I’ve realized the hectic regular lifestyle doesn’t leave time to randomly pick up a paintbrush and start painting; I want to be able to do that. I play the piano and would like to take music more seriously. I’m also looking forward to backpacking and traveling as much as I can.
Apart from that, sports has always been a big part of my life. I plan to continue playing basketball and football despite the scorching Delhi heat. And of course, catching up with friends – how else will I continue to be the well-networked guy?!