Born and raised in Dubai, Elvis Rumion claims he tasted freedom for the first time when he came to hometown Goa, at the age of 18. But that was the start to many firsts for this musician.
The sudden change of pace in his life and the ‘deafening silence’ in Goa, as he puts it, is what made a rocker out of him.
An alumnus of the world-renowned School of Audio Engineering (SAE London), Rumion’s career grew as an artist while in London. “My experience in London was a different spin. I started making Sattva music, music for relaxation. I was pursuing my recording arts degree in sound engineering,” he recalls when he first went ‘busking’, a term used for street musicians generally using a hat at the end of it all.
“I was too shy at first. The concept is looked down upon by few elitists, who make this look like ‘begging’. But one needs to be rooted in humility for true music to come through. So, one day I sat on a bench and started playing my sitar, on the South Bank (of River Thames) outside Tate Modern (art gallery). After about five minutes, someone left me money on the bench, then another suggested I keep my case in front, so he could put money. In about 15 minutes, I had made 15 to 20 pounds. Eventually, I was making more than what any student job fetches, which is no more than 30 pounds a day, by selling music CDs on the streets and playing music, ”
Meeting interesting people and contacts and playing at music festivals, which meant Youtube coverage, the highlight of his London trip was qualifying for the semi finals of the Emergenza London Battle of the bands.
“In London, a band doesn’t get paid by the venue. The band pulls the crowd and they take the door money,” he says, while suggesting a worthwhile model to promote musicians in Goa too. In London, the underground music capital of the world, he got to rub shoulders with bands such as The Asian Dub Foundation, Bushcraft, the drummer of Shakin’ Stevens, and several young artists from the underground scene in Camden. “I also performed my first gig in London, in the same place where bands such as Coldplay, Keane, AC/DC and many others performed their first gig in London, at The Bull & Gate in Kentish Town.” And that’s when it hit him. “With my online popularity growing, I then got into Myspace and Youtube. Having already played and sold music on streets in the real world, the only way for an artist to go was viral.”
Elvis has produced and sold CDs of ‘Space between’, expressing what he calls, ‘Sattva Music’ when in London. He came back to Goa and just about finished working on, ‘Elvis Rumion’ in 2009 – a rock music album. “It’s like the left and right side of my brain. One side is about Sattva music, meant for relaxation and the other for the release of more aggressive instincts with hard rock music,” he explains.
“The Sattva show posted online is a relaxation show for yoga, breathing and the like. When I first made Sattva music in Goa with Sajan Solomon on tablas, we started by meditating, to get us on the same relaxed level and just recorded what we played non-stop for two hours. I then worked on it and polished it to make it a more theatrical experience. After the music of this album first got used on the award winning documentary at 2010 (‘The Man Who Saved The Taj Mahal’), I then began devising the online Sattva show with this type of music. So I took beautiful shots of Goa at serene locations and produced 30 episodes all showing online. And then there’s the Elvis Rumion Rock show too.”
For worldwide online sale, by November 2011, Hungama.com signed Elvis and all his three previous albums. On August 3, Hungama.com featured the life, family and music of our very own Elvis Rumion from Goa in a ‘rocumentary’.
“All music is experimental and so is mine; it simply tries to connect different kinds of people with these two types of music. Ultimately, it’s all about spreading the love,” says this online music phenomenon from Goa – singer, songwriter, musician – Elvis Rumion. n