Santosh Lobo of IRMP3

  • Interview by: Vilasini Muralidhar
  • Date: November 23, 2009

He’s a man with a plan… a plan to keep everyone up to date about the Independent music scene, and a plan to promote and push Indian artists as much as he can. Headbangers India catches up with Santosh Lobo– the man behind Indian Rock Mp3, for a little chat. Read on…

HB: Tell us about War Dog and tell us about Santosh Lobo.

Santosh: Haha ! I don’t go by the name ‘War Dog’ anymore. When I first started the website I did not want people to know who I was, so I chose something that was random, but if you must know who War Dog is ‘He’s the coolest dawg who is fanatical about Indian Bands.’ As for Santhosh Lobo, he is an average guy who is rediscovering his musical roots. He is also an avid blogger who keeps track of the latest happenings in the ‘Indian underground scene’.

HB: Why did you decide to start Indian Rock Mp3?

Santosh: I did not plan for a website. Indian rock bands were pretty much scattered all over the internet, so I borrowed this idea from a fellow blogger of putting them together at one place, But it was only when I realized that there was much more I could do to promote Indian bands, I started to update the blog on a regular basis and that’s how Indianrockmp3 was born.

HB: How did you even get into Indian metal, considering you’ve been living in Kuwait for the larger part of the last 15 years?

Santosh: It is the age of the Internet; it doesn’t matter if you are living in Mangalore or in Kuwait or Siberia.  I got in to Indian Metal long ago, Back in my teens I was pretty much obsessed with great bands like Agni, Indus Creed, 13AD, Millennium to name a few. But then I had to leave India to earn a living, 13 years later when the dust settled down I thought of rediscovering my old passion and I am absolutely amazed what Internet can do to you, apart from finding bands of yesterday, I have found tons of new bands that are so talented.

HB: Your website has got more than 1.75 lakh hits in such a short time. You comments about this?

Well, the credit goes to Indian Bands, That’s all I can say… My website is just a tool to find these amazing amazing bands of yesterday and today.

HB: One of the reasons for the large number of hits is that you offer direct links for song downloads, immaterial of whether the band is big or small, or the song of high quality or not. As long as it’s Indian and it’s legal, the link is up Right? However, do you think this is what the Indian music scene needs right now?

Santosh: Haha! yes, I put up that list when I was in a ‘discover Indian rock mp3 frenzy’ , probably the list needs to be re done , but then every band has fans no matter how bad the recording is,  so I guess I’ll leave it as it is for now.
As for Free Mp3’s- We are Indians, ‘free loading’ is our birth right, If the bands don’t give away the music for free, we find ways to steal it.  It is not the right thing for the Indian music scene or elsewhere… but as we know music industry is at a spin and at the mercy of piracy. So my guess is giving away music won’t hurt as much as someone steals it from you.

HB: The way you keep yourself so prompt and updated about the Indian rock/metal scene is pretty amazing. Especially to others in the same business (like us!) It’s something that’s very difficult to do, and yet, you pull it off. Tell us how!

Santosh: I guess I have lot of free time on my hands and a flexible schedule at work as well. Yes it is difficult at times to catch up with so many bands. But then there are friends like Ashwin Sharma, Itihas Shetty, Jitesh Rajan, Ritesh Mayekar who pitch in with reviews and interviews. Indianrockmp3 wouldn’t be the same without their contribution and guidance.

HB: How many hours in a day do you put into maintaining the website?

Santosh: If I tell you the truth you won’t tell my boss right? Well ,I am not at the internet addiction stage yet, I have my information well organized so don’t really spend much time to maintain the website… I’d rather troll on Orkut.

HB: Let’s talk about the music that you listen to… What are your all time and current favorites?

Santosh: There is Kuwait FM playing at work 8hours a day, that’s a lot of Britney and Eminem, unfortunately it is mandatory, I can’t switch of the darn radio. Other than that currently listening to Napalm Death, Pestilence, Megadeth, Kalmah, Kreator and some country music like Alan Jackson and Keith Urban .

HB: Don’t worry about bands judging you right now, but tell us… What are your favorite Indian bands?

Santosh: Tough question, There are so many talented bands in India right now, tough to chose favorites. Right now my play list has  Inner Sanctum, Infernal Wrath, 1833AD, E-FLat, Half step Down, Demonic Resurrection, Sledge, Rabbit is Rich, Blind Image, Theorized and Amogh Symphony  to name a few . But there are tons of other bands that I listen to on Myspace and Reverbnation, can’t name them all here.

HB: People who are into the local scene usually are a part of bands themselves. How about you? Do you play an instrument?

Santosh: I did play some bass for my college band when I was in College,  Right now I have a nice acoustic guitar which was presented by my wife on my 30th birthday packed well in the case for the last 5 years … honestly I can’t find time to play again.

HB: Any plans of taking your website onto a larger scale in the future?

Santosh: No, I am a practical man, I don’t wish to chew more than I can, I know my limitations and I know what ‘the scene’ could offer. I guess I am pretty much content with what I am doing at this moment.  But I am keeping the option open.

HB: What do you think the Indian independent music scene needs at the moment? How do you see the local scene around 10 years from now?

Ameeth Thomas of JYG once said “Indian bands need to get their heads out of their asses and stop complaining like bitches”. I agree with him totally.  I see so many talented bands that don’t care enough to promote themselves. Indian Bands should know that recording a song or an album is the easy part, promoting it isn’t. Bands should go all out to promote their music, interact with fans, and make their music heard. In short Indian bands should ‘think BIG’. But unfortunately most of the Indian Bands just don’t know how to do the right thing. Internet is a God given free tool to promote music, use it. The Indian Underground scene is growing rapidly… so rapidly that the mainstream media is taking notice of it, and even Bollywood is taking notice of it! I am not sure how the scene will be ten years from now, but definitely it will be much bigger than it is now.