Digging up the Underground is a nationwide tour, comprising six of Trinidad and Tobago’s most influential underground bands: Transylvania Zoo, Blood Red Clover, Cobolized, Krucifix, Necropolis and OverRdose. These bands helped build the foundations of today’s local rock music scene, and the members continue to promote original local rock music in various ways, not least of which is paying homage to the initial efforts that will be celebrated during the Digging up the Underground Tour this summer.
This week is the final instalment of The Underground series, and features the people behind The Digging up the Underground Tour.
People behind the scenes
Digging up the Underground Tour has been a year in the making. Sievan Siewsarran and Joanna Ali have been working on everything from the concept to the design, the bands and the venues. But perhaps most importantly, they have been working tirelessly on the ideal: a permanent avenue through which local original rock music can grow and evolve in Trinidad and Tobago. Together, Siewsarran and Ali developed The Digging up the Underground Tour, a local tour that promotes original rock music–music that is written by the bands that perform it throughout the country. So why do this now? According to Ali, the former owner of San Fernando’s Club Jenz: “I promoted local original rock bands for some years. I helped push the idea of original rock music as a staple at my then club. “When I re-emerged from life outside of the scene, I realised that rock bands were playing more and more covers, and I was surprised. “So many bands that had set the standard of original music were doing entire cover sets that were of little benefit to the development of the local rock scene.”
More than just encouraging local bands to produce original music, it seems that this tour has another objective in mind; to make it originality profitable and worthwhile for musicians. Siewsarran explains that “local bands scrape to put together a single or even an album, which gets minimal airplay and exposure.” Radio seems to have a long battle with local underground rock bands. But The Underground has found an ally in Mike Ross, the host of 95.1FM’s Thursday Night MRU (Mike Ross Underground/ Modern Rock Underground) between 10 pm and 11 pm. Siewsarran continues: “Mike’s total local programme is literally jam-packed with local original rock music, and it gives bands the chance to debut their new songs or advertise music and upcoming shows. “Most importantly, the show allows bands to have an outlet.
Most of the bands on this tour, if not all, only have their music played on radio on 95.1 FM’s MRU. “Thank God for Mike Ross and his support for giving local bands at least one hour once a week. But it is still not enough. “Digging up the underground as a sustainable idea is simultaneously lobbying for local original rock music to become a staple on air at anytime.” Apart from local original rock music advocates like Mike Ross, Ali and Siewsarran state that their team consists of many more supporters. Digital Media and general media have allowed The Underground to reach the masses which, in turn, garnered more support. Islandnoise.com and 420 graphics have been pushing the digital envelope. Islandnoise.com is the most popular rock Web site in Trinidad and Tobago. It allows bands, fans and interested people to communicate, share band info and sell equipment while advertising and marketing upcoming shows throughout the country. 420 graphics also has been in the forefront of building the local rock scene by helping bands with merchandising.
The company has been instrumental in creating band logos, t-shirts, Web sites, myspace accounts, CD booklets and the like for various local bands. Merineo Ramkissoon, Jignesh Khatri and Ricky Abdul are some of the notable people behind these scenes who are all faithful to the rock and roll cause. Ail and Siewsarran firmly believe that, “When all is said and done, local original rock music has done a lot for what Trinidad and Tobago calls its own. “Orange Sky, Jointpop and Incert Coin are examples of success stories for the rock scene in Trinidad and Tobago. “And more will be created, since it seems that we are living in history.”
Digging up the Underground Tour 2010
Kicks off on July 3 at Prive’s Lockdown and will be going across the country to various venues.
South: Prive Nightclub and Destination Bar and Lounge. Central: Sparky’s Sports Bar. East: Samaan Tree Rock Music Festival. West: Shakers on the avenue.
For tour dates and the complete itinerary, go to www.islandnoise.com for more info or visit the LOCKDOWN event page on Facebook.