City’s unique music room
Bangalore's leading rock band Thermal And A Quarter has created a unique space for music.
In the beginning, Thermal And A Quarter faced a space crunch: there was just nowhere they could jam in peace. The options open to them inevitably boiled down to someone's garage or one of the band member's apartments - and there was always a pesky neighbour somewhere ready to snitch on the band for being too loud.
As the band grew in stature, going from gigs in Bangalore to the national scene and eventually touring in the UK, West Asia and South-East Asia, and coming to be seen as something of a lodestar for other fledgling bands in the city, it seemed important to them to create the kind of space and infrastructure they never had access to themselves. The concept of Taaqademy -- music school, recording studio and jamming space rolled into one - grew from a simple idea: make space for music.
While Taaqademy initially operated out of a smaller location on Queen's Road, its recent move to a larger, specially designed space in Koramangala is slated to be the big leap. Designed in consultation with French acoustical expert Didier Weiss from SOUND WIZARD and executed by the architecture firm Hundred Hands, it is a one-of-a-kind space with superb acoustics and a warm, earthy aesthetic. Special acoustic-friendly material was used to make sure the practice and jam rooms and recording spaces didn't end up feeling like "dead rooms", as band frontman Bruce Lee Mani puts it. "The intention was not to make everything 'soundproof', but to enhance a naturally pleasing sound quality," says Mani.
Taaqademy offers structured lessons and workshops in guitar, keyboard, bass, drums and vocals for everyone from complete beginners to advanced players. It has a full-time faculty of 11 music teachers and most classes are one-on-one, with a capacity to conduct 6-8 classes at the same time. Most of the faculty members are also practising musicians, informs TAAQ drummer Rajeev Rajagopal.
"That way, students learn from people who perform live themselves. They go for their teachers' shows and learn a lot of practical tips from their on-the-road experience," says Rajagopal. The academy has 200 students on the rolls and can just about accommodate another 50, he informs. Apart from lessons, students are also given leg-ups in many other ways, such as workshops that pit them against other musicians and the opportunity to go live at gigs in pubs and restaurants.
The jamming room is a big hit with young bands that need a music-friendly place with top-notch acoustics to practise. The most impressive room here, however, is reserved for the band to rehearse.
With curved walls that act as better reflectors of sound than flat surfaces and configured for recording, this space is not rented out. "It is sacrosanct," says Mani.
Courtesy THE TIMES OF INDIA