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We didn’t choose the Blues, The Blues chose us…

By Deepti Chanda

26 November, 2016

A band of four, from the beautiful historical city of Shillong, never thought of gaining national popularity. It actually happened when they became the only blue band to represent the country at the 23rd International Blues Challenge organized by The Blues Foundation of America, in the USA in February 2007 and 2010. They were the semi-finalists and performed at the Rum Boogie Café (Blues Club of The Year, 2007) and Ground Zero (2010) alongside 150 other bands and musicians from all over the world.


Soulmate- is the name which unites them together. The band is primarily made up of Rudy Wallang (guitar/vocals/songwriter) and Tipriti Kharbangar (vocals/guitar). Soulmate came together in February 2003 playing their first concert at the ‘Roots Festival' at the Water Sports Complex in Umami. Since then, the band has performed many concerts all over the world.


Let’s take a close look at their interesting journey.

Deepa-Hello, it’s a great pleasure to have you guys. The name Soulmate itself is so heart-touching. How did you pick your band name?

Soulmate- The band name comes from a song of ours from the first album “Shillong” and the song is “The Blues is my Soulmate". And we picked our name from there.


Deepa-Do you write your lyrics? Have you ever changed a song’s lyrics in the live set?

Soulmate- Yes we do write our lyrics. Most of the times, the lyrics of the songs are sung as they have been written already.


Deepa- Where do you usually gather songwriting inspiration? What is your usual songwriting process?

Soulmate- Life inspires us and Shillong too. Our lyrics are not complicated at all, we write about what we feel and about what we experience.


We usually write lyrics first, then compose the tune and do the musical arrangements around that.

A Blues Rock Band A Blues Rock Band  

Deepa-Do you use Band camp, Spotify or Sound Cloud to share your music?

Soulmate- No we do not. If people want to buy our music, they can do so at www.oklisten.com.


Deepa-Do you think that online presence is important for fans to find you and critics to find your music to write about?

Soulmate- These days, it is very important to publicize your brand or your creativity.Everyone is glued to their computers at one time or another. So it’s a good option to brand you online be it as a band or the release of a new song. It is also the fastest way to publicize a band's performance scheduled or a release of an album.


Deepa-What do you think about online music sharing? Do you ever give your music away for free? Why?

Soulmate- No, we have not given our music away for free.

It costs a lot to record an album and if fans love our music and support us, then we expect them to purchase the album or songs. That way they help us in recovering costs and we give them music that they love to listen to.


Deepa- Since everyone was a startup once, can you give any smaller or local bands looking to get gigs and airplay some tips?

Soulmate- All, I can say to upcoming bands is that nothing comes easy. You have to work hard to achieve your goals and make your dreams come true. They can put their music out on the sound cloud as well so that people get a chance to listen to them.

Be humble and remember music is bigger than you and always will be. We are all channels for music. It’s up to us if we want to be a good channel or if we want to block that channel with a thing called EGO.


Deepa-Anything you would like share, from new merch to upcoming shows/tours or songs/albums?

Soulmate-We have a few new tunes that we will be playing for our upcoming gigs. We will be in Bangalore on 27th and in Shillong on 29th of November respectively. Do check out our Facebook pages (Soulmate Shillong) for all updates.


Deepa- What are the challenges you faced to hold your feet in this industry and how have you overcome them?

Soulmate-Initially, the main challenge was playing the Blues in India. But through our determination and hard work, we have managed to get to where we are today. We have been performing our own music from day one, besides playing covers of Blues artiste's as we love our way of keeping the Blues alive. And we really haven't had any complaints from anyone as yet.

So this was Soulmate. They are again performing in ‘Echoes of Earth’ which celebrates music and the earth in Bangalore. With over 40 international and Indian artists over two days, you can expect live sounds of rock, jazz, classical, fusion, electronica, and a lot more on three very uniquely-crafted stages that will be centerpieces of the festival.


The festival is scheduled for the 26th and 27th of November 2016 at Embassy International Riding School, Bangalore. Ticket can be purchased via BookMyShow.

Echoes of Earth is the brainchild of Swordfish and Watson’s. Swordfish is an innovation agency in event and marketing space while Watson’s a popular neighborhood bar is known for its culture of bonhomie, good times, and passion for music.


Soulmate has performed at many prestigious festivals

  • International Jazzmandu Festival in Kathmandu, Nepal
  • Mosaic Music Festival" Singapore in 2009
  • "Du World Music festival" in Dubai 2011
  • Harley Rock Riders Season III in Bangalore in 2012 
  • Maximum India Festival,  Washington DC in 2011
  • Jakarta Blues Festival in Indonesia in 2009-10
  • Monsters Blues Festival Sweden, Norway
  • Baltic Blues Festival Eutin, Germany in 2012 
  • Mahindra Blues Fest in Mumbai in 2011- 2014.