WORKING WITH LIKE-MINDED PEOPLE
True to the adage that every cloud has a silver lining, WAVLNGTH was born out of founder Aneesha Kotwani’s creative differences in an earlier work environment, and her subsequent realisation of the importance of mutual understanding when it comes to creative working relationships. “WAVLNGTH started in 2016 after an unfortunate creative fall out I had with the previous company I was invested in, because we were on different wavelengths,” she says. “Hence the name WAVLNGTH; I want to emphasise the philosophy of working with like-minded people, as this is the fundamental basis a lot of our relationships thrive on.” A premise that’s on its surface simple, the WAVLNGTH ethos demonstrates the value of being on the same page when it comes to collaborating, and the fact that if you’ve got a good working relationship as the cornerstone of a project then the rest will likely fall into place.
BRIDGING THE GAP
Aneesha pinpoints the inception of India’s independent and electronic music scene to around 2008, with the evolution of the scene gaining traction from 2013 onwards especially. In spite of the fact that the country’s industry has burgeoned over the past decade, Aneesha felt that the kinds of opportunities that exist in other places haven’t yet taken off in India. She sees WAVLNGTH as having an integral role in bringing Indian talent to a wider global audience. “There are so many talented musicians, producers and DJs who could be killing it if exposed to global opportunities, but it’s hard because the developed markets are also saturated and geographically we are so far from places like the US, UK and EU,” she says. “So the vision was always to bridge the gap between India and the rest of the world. Touring international artists was a stepping stone to build relationships and a global profile.”
It all comes down to perspective
As she points out too, the present moment is catalysing change that’s been a long time coming. “With so much emphasis on inclusivity and diversity I think things are going to slowly start working in favour of people of colour, minorities and emerging markets, and that is a hopeful sign!” says Aneesha. “I wish it didn’t have to reach the point it did and that it happened sooner, but it’s time.”
A CLEAR VISION
Knowing it’s the right time to strike out on your own can be difficult, in part because there’s no exact science to making this kind of decision. For some people it can be a matter of finally being financially secure enough to take the risk, while others might sense that there’s a gap in the wider landscape that they’re ready to fill, even if it’s personally risky. In Aneesha’s case, it was about being confident in what she wanted to achieve, and finding that other options came up short as a result. “I was contemplating for the longest time if I should go back to a job or start all over on my own and whereas I did meet and interview at a few places, I think in my heart I was ready to take the plunge on my own,” she says. “That was maybe because I had such a clear vision, or maybe because I was too stubborn to work for someone else.”
That’s not to say that launching your own company, or even making the pivot to being self-employed or freelance, is easy. But as Aneesha puts it, “Running a business is tough. But I guess when you know what you want to do in life, you just find ways to press forward.”
TURNING THE TABLES AROUND
Back in April we spotlighted how hard hit the global music industry was by the Covid-19 crisis, and the community in India was no exception. For Aneesha though, as well as being a time of challenge, it’s also been a time for reflection, and for facing adversity as it comes. “I had a tour the first week of March which got cancelled and I ended up losing a fair bit of money, then we went into lockdown and gigs haven’t resumed since, so of course it’s been tough,” she says. “But it all comes down to perspective. You have to have the knack for turning the tables around in the darkest of times, finding ways to keep yourself busy, adapting and creating opportunities. For me, even though I am not where I want to be yet financially, as a business woman I think I have grown exponentially because of the pandemic. So in a way I am grateful.”
T-SHIRTS ARE LIKE MUSIC
Aneesha had long debated launching merchandise under the WAVLNGTH umbrella, propelled by her desire to work with a friend too. “I really wanted to work with a dear friend of mine who works in the fashion industry and there were just so many conversations going on back and forth,” she says. “I thought, “Why not reach out to someone from Everpress?” and things just spiralled from there.” As for choosing T-shirts as the medium for their message, Lovedeep highlighted just how ubiquitous, and therefore important, the garments are: “T-shirts are such an important part of our everyday lives, just like music,” he said.
We are all equal
The cornerstone of the WAVLNGTH work ethos is putting relationships at the fore and letting everything else follow suit, so a collaborative T-shirt campaign with a lot of different actors involved slots in perfectly with what they’re all about. Still, it bears repeating, and remembering, that the best collaborations tend to come from listening and an open-minded approach. “It was such an array of individual mindsets and aesthetics, each person different, but each ready to listen and adapt,” Lovedeep explained. “There was a genuine response and sense of understanding that sort of developed from the very beginning.”
“This mutual understanding from the beginning was largely because everything was so properly laid out. We knew exactly what we were doing and how we were doing it,” he went on. And Aneesha agrees, “In collaborations everything comes down to mutual respect. We are all equal, and the moment we start viewing everyone around us as equal, the way we communicate and work together will bear the sweetest fruit.”
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