ONE AFTERNOON IN JULY THIS YEAR, inside the air-conditioned Mumbai office of the music company Only Much Louder (OML), 25 or so employees in their mid- to late-20s sat staring keenly into laptops on either side of a long table dividing the office’s expansive central area. The next installment of the company’s music festival NH7 Weekender was scheduled to be held in the outskirts of Pune in November, four months away, but its organisers had already finalised the line-up of bands that would play, and had moved on to the next stage of planning. Communication between the young employees was brisk and efficient: questions were asked precisely, answers provided instantly, decisions were taken without hesitation. The office had the kind of buzz one would expect to find in a newsroom.
Inside a separate room at the far end of the office, two curly-haired men sat editing videos on their 24-inch iMacs, while OML co-founder Girish ‘Bobby’ Talwar, wearing a T-shirt and shorts, reclined on a bed behind them, playing with his Blackberry. At the other end of the office sat Dhruv Jagasia, who, before joining OML in 2011, had served as the manager of Indian Ocean, the band often credited with kick-starting the genre of Indian fusion rock. A large, voluble man with a handlebar moustache, Jagasia is now NH7 Weekender’s festival director, in charge of the company’s most recognised undertaking.
Neither Jagasia nor Talwar have their own cabins in the office, an arrangement that will persist even when OML expands into a 10,000-square feet space in October this year. The move is in anticipation of an expansion in the company’s workforce—by next January, OML plans to add nearly 45 people to its current 75-person-strong staff. The employees will occupy an office free of dress codes, monotonous eight-hour shifts and sterile conference rooms; instead, the space will be equipped with features that may call its categorisation as an office into question—like the employee bar planned for the mezzanine.