Monday, January 14, 2019

#BassMondays - Abhi Meer (Interview + Dubplate 035)

The very first #BassMondays Dubplate of the year 2019, features an artist who wears many different hats. Apart from being a DJ & a producer, he also happens to be a radio host [at] and a music writer. Abhi Meer discovered Drum and Bass years ago, living in London while exploring the nightlife. And now with about five years as being a professional DJ, he has come a long way and has already played at Boiler Room Delhi, and other important music festivals like Magnetic Fields. Each of his performance is like a mood story taking you on a heartfelt journey. We couldn't have been more excited to have him put together an exclusive mix-set for us, and share such details about his thought process and content. We here at DnB India, have heard the set three times in the last five hours. With a very fine bunch of tracks and it's seamlessness, this mix will grow on you. No doubt, one of the best ones from all our features so far. So, hit play, read on.

1. Abhi Meer as an individual involves being a surreal DJ, a music critic and a radio host. How do channelize your energies with each element and manage to bring the best out of everything that you do?
A - I guess the approach that works for me is to only ever take on things I’m really into and quite importantly, qualified to do.  “I start a picture and I finish it” is what Basquiat said once. I like that philosophy. I didn’t always think like that, but these last few years I’m more confident of seeing things through. As for writing, over the last 2 years or so, I’ve written a lot less, produced more music, spent time on synth DIY and made a full-time gig. I like it all, even though I find myself spread quite thinly sometimes.

2. You are known for your meticulous approach to your music and your intriguing DJ sets explain why. How do you approach your DJ sets?
A - In my case, I think my background as a music critic really helps. I’m picky about everything from energy to sound design, of course song selection, to the overall physical and emotional impact sound can have on a person. So when I start prepping for a show, I try and visualise the space I’m playing in and do as much research as I can on the audience. I still get a case of the nerves before each gig and I’m good with it. I also have a habit lately of making a playlist for each show, and then forcing myself to play out of just that. Building a serious collection of music takes years of course (I began buying vinyl in 2005 while living in the UK, CDs much before that). I guess when you look at it, it’s actually years of preparation condensed into small 3-6 hour performances.

3. How did you get into drum & bass and what’s your opinion on the drum & bass scene in the country?
A -   I was living in West London in 2004, training to be a cook, working restaurant jobs in the day, and checking out the club scene at night. Radio was an amazing way to get acquainted with different music, same with Internet forums. I was primarily a hip-hop and metal fan spending any free time I had with a rig of 14-odd guitar pedals making weird, spacey noises in order to avoid having to make any “real music”, so the stuff I heard at the first couple of Rebel Bass parties really had an impact on me. Electrowerkz, Ginglik, Fabriclive, all those spots were amazing places to take in the culture and the vibe. I do remember the first time I sat up and went “wow” was after hearing the first Source Direct full-length. It was as if hip-hop, metal and rave music had fused together into one perfect formula. 

As for India, if I’m to get this straight, the DnB scene is actually shrinking but quite focused on real heads who value the music, which is now the case around the world it seems. So I guess it is what it is. More power to all of you who don’t jump on trends and continue to stick to what you believe in.

4. You have had the privilege of playing alongside the likes the Roger Sanchez and Call Super. Tell us more about your experience of playing alongside such coveted names?
A - I’m grateful to have been asked to play big stages and high-profile things like Boiler Room and Magnetic Fields Festival just five-odd years into DJing professionally. Most of my experiences have been fantastic. I’ve made good friends, played alongside some idols. It’s a trip.

5. Tell us more about your ‘Light Drinker’ show on Boxout. How did it come about?
A -  When I sit down and produce music on the modular synth, it’s almost always a departure from what I would regularly play out as a DJ. The drone, ambient, neo-classical space is something I’ve always been fond of through metal so it was easy formulating a radio show around that. A year and a half in, Light Drinker (and my other show Beyond The Abyss) are now retired. I’m back on later this month with a new show so I guess you can check that out soon.

6. What can we expect from Abhi Meer in 2019?
A -   More gigs hopefully both DJ sets and live sets on the synthesizer, and a residency or two if I can get to convince some folks. I’ll have music out too.

7. Five drum & bass /Jungle tunes you are digging at the moment?
A -  1. Sully x Outer Heaven - Dream Sequence
2. Falty DL - Day At The Races
3. Headgear - Dem Deh (Phuture-T Remix)
4. Enjoy - Criticize
5. Dillinja - Hoes & Tricks

Follow Abhi Meer - Facebook | Soundcloud | Instagram | Twitter

Dubplate #035 - ABHI MEER


1] Richard Devine - Takara [Hyperdub] 2] Aisha Devi - Time (Tool) [Houndstooth] 3] K-LONE - BB-8 [Wych] 4] Earl Grey - Hug Dub [Circular Jaw] 5] Zenwan - Spiritwalker (Etch Darkmix) 6] Etch - Untitled Hardcore #4 [Sneaker Social Club] 7] NaaR a.k.a. Dead - Goli Kha 8] Nuvaman - Cocaina Dub [Circular Jaw] 9] CARL - L-System [DRTY SHDWS PRJKT] 10] Engine Earz Experiment ft. Jenna G - Impossible [Etch Remix] 11] Simo Cell - Symmetry [Wisdom Teeth] 12] Aphex Twin - th1 [evnslower] [Warp] 13] Source Direct - Haunted [Astralwerks] 14] Houses - Left Alone (X-Coast VIP Mix) 15] Artilect - Zero Time [Samurai Music] 16] ABRA - U Aint Got To Lie (Coco Bryce Telling The Truth) [Diamond Life] 17] dBridge & Lewis James - Verloren [Air Texture] 18] Synkro - Luminous (Paradox Remix) [Synkro Music] 19] Kloke - Artificial Memories [Diamond Life] 20] X-Coast - Bailando (Tommy Holohan Remix) [Dansu Discs] 21] Aisha Devi - Time Is The Illusion of Solidarity [Houndstooth] 22] Direkt Jive - Remind [Detroit Underground]

Monday, December 24, 2018

#BassMondays - Dakta Dub (Interview + Dubplate 034)

Closing the year of 2018 with our 34th Dubplate feature, we have none other than 'Dakta Dub', a familiar name in the Indian bass scene. Better known to his friends and family as Bala, Dakta' career started in 2004 when he first visited Budapest, Hungary for a professional diploma course, but destiny leaded him to Tilos Radio, the biggest underground radio station of Budapest. At Tilos Radio, Dakta had an opportunity to learn DJ-ing and mixing several types of music such as world fusion, dub, reggae, drum n bass, dub- step , chill out, global Indian, jazz and various influences. His weekly radio show “Indian Lights” became the most popular among different programs. During his stay in Budapest he also appeared as a guest DJ on Tilos Radio's other programs. From 2006 started hosting Saturday evening Indian music show on Radio C Fm 88.8, Budapest, a gypsy radio station. Dakta played at several club parties and festivals: No man’s land festival, Hungary, Hanna Hanna festival Slovakia, RWTH University fest, Germany, Tilos Radio World Music Party series with fellow program makers on Radio.

He returned to Hyderabad, India in 2008 and has ever since been spreading underground music vibes to Indian massive, while he runs a non-commercial, independent radio station Monkey Radio India and monthly dance nights, Bass Sanskriti. We had a little chat with him while we hosted him in Bangalore a couple of months ago, read more to understand him better as an artist. Don't forget to hit play, brighten this Christmas Eve with this groovy set he has put together for you guys.

1. We've read about your experience in Budapest where you started your career. Tell us more about it?
A - Oh Yes. The whole Budapest Underground Music Scene gave foundation starting from musical and cultural institution called Tilos Radio. At the radio, I got to listen and learn various genres of music, from some simple living but wicked DJs.. All this gave me the exposure and knowledge to bring back home one day. I slowly got a slot on Radio and that's it, the journey began.

2. Your ability to infuse dub, drum & bass, reggae and trip-hop is very refreshing. How do you like to approach your music?
A - Bottom line is, I like 'Bass Music'. I listen and collect various genres of music that are bass influenced. Mixing them in a set, is a skill which can be achieved when one knows the music along with the vibes of the music being understood. 
For each show, I like to prepare with specific theme or vibe depending on the subject and then also according the position I am playing at in the line up.

3. How do you think drum & bass as a community has progressed in India?
A -   I think it has come a long way. 10 years back, there were hardly a few DJs, doing DnB nights, like Bhavishyavani Future Soundz, Bay Beat Collective in Bombay, Vachan in Bangalore, and Bass Foundation in Delhi etc. Today we have world class drum and bass producers from our country like Bandish, Barasingha, Shivacult, Oxygen, Smokey etc., which is absolutely amazing.

4. Your return to India led to the birth of Monkey Radio and Bass Sanskriti. How did it come about?
A - The radio happened because there wasn't any radio stations in Hyderabad that allowed the same music as Tilos Radio. I mean like a community radio or something, where all kinds of music is accepted. I was looking to approach radio stations for possibilities of sharing the music genres they do not do, and I got some support from AIR Hyderabad initially, but it was looking very limited in terms of music and freedom of expression, both technically and morally. So, I had to look for an alternative ways of making it happen, and I was looking at making pirate radio. Not able to get proper infrastructure for broadcasting and also broadcasting rules, it was all so difficult that made us go online and exactly that time Mixcloud launched, and that was a perfect platform to make the idea of monkey radio india run. It's small, but it has got so much love from all over the world so far, without asking anyone to listen or like. That's amazing I think.
Bass Sanskriti too has similar story, now the ground is music venues and night life. In 2008 from Friday night dances at Pmatka to Dub’in & Step’in nights at downtown venue 10 Sports Bar, to outdoor dances at Farm World Cafe outdoor sessions to now having so much happening in the city, we've come a long way. It has also been a great journey influencing so many youths of Hyderabad with Bass Culture.

 5. How does your ideal downtime look like?
A -  Ideal downtime, is chill at home, while mom prepares me a bowl of hot dal rice with ghee, while I chill and vibe watching some cool National Geographic Channel nature discovery and contemplate the whole existence, or ponder about the same while watching some spiritual stuff or reading a book.

6. What can we expect from Dakta Dub in 2019?
A -   Lot of good things in roll for 2019. Most excited about with this nail biting wait for Sound System. From 2019 its all about Sound System Dances and some good music on Shakuntala Records.

7. 5 tunes you are digging at moment?
A -  I dig a lot of music, both in vinyl and digital. I can not really pick as such.. but let me try. On my recent Goa Sunsplash mix, I got to make a mix and this roots artist Zap Pow has made me go wow with the 70s style roots music… so spiritual. Another amazing album I bought is Another Channel Dub Excursion(s). Run is the tune. Al Cambell - I & I Meditation, Dubkasm - Victory, Victory - Mala Remix, Babe Roots - Spiritual Connection. Digg them all.

Follow Dakta Dub - Facebook | Soundcloud | Instagram

Dubplate #034 - DAKTA DUB



1] Dakta Dub Dubplate - REDS feat Delhi Sultanate and Begum X  (Fever Riddim)
2] Shivacult - Bengaluru to Yelahanka
3] Paramount - Twilight
4] Subdivision - Music Talks
5] Tokalosh - Steller Debris 
6] Imba - From Within
7] Barasingha - Sarmasta
8] Invisible Landscape - Brothers & Sisters
9] Numa Crew, Robert Dallas, Petah Sunday - Impossible
10] Macca - Original Degree Soul Rebel Recordings
11] Congo Natty - Jungle Souljah
12] Barasingha ft. Shivacult - In Memoriam 
13] Malay & Identified - Children of The Sky
14] Barasingha & Nuphlo - Tabla bass (Remix)
15] Bill Laswell - Shiva Myth

Monday, November 19, 2018

#BassMondays - Mirasi (Interview + Dubplate 033)

Our November Dubplate features 'Mirasi', an artist who has been in our personal favorites' list, ever since he released 'Hidimba', a soul touching track with an equally powerful video. The track was awarded with the award of Music Video of The Year at the BMT Film Festival, UK, 2017. Based in Delhi, Nakul is deeply influenced by traditional Indian sounds, and with 'Mirasi', he infuses the same with various other genres, creating something unique each time. Apart from taking music production classes, he is currently working on a couple of projects which are to be out soon. Listen to this fresh set he put together for us, while you read and find a little more about him.

1. We are really intrigued by the name ‘Mirasi’. How did the idea of Mirasi come about?
A - Mirasi are traditional singers and dancers from India and Pakistan.They were nomadic musicians, who used to perform at different places to earn a living. The noble cause of enriching people’s lives by sharing stories, learnings and inspiration through the medium of music and dance has travelled down generations. I have always felt connected with this, and thus the name.

2. How would you like to describe your style?
A - My musical style is deeply rooted in Indian traditional music, yet it is unique in the way that it draws from various international genres, like bass music, dub, reggae, drum and bass, trap. Each piece pulls inspiration from genres that reflect the mood and essence to portrayed to the listener. The soul of each piece tells me what genre it belongs to, and I ensure to not restrict my creativity by defining the genres.

3. You seem to have flawlessly commingled the signature eastern breaks vibe with a new school drum & bass flavor in your tune ‘Hidimba’. Tell us more about it?
A -  The track “Hidimba” is a piece of work that is close to my heart. It attempts to showcase the innate power within us that we are ourselves are incognizant to. It employs the high energetic, tense atmosphere rendered by the use of eastern breaks sounds, to portray the tense moments of this specific realisation, when it does happen. This overall theme is echoed through indian ragas which takes the listener through the pain and struggle which must ensue before we uncover our true potential and powers. The video of this piece has very efficiently showcased the theme of this track, and was awarded with the award of Music Video of The Year at the BMT Film Festival, UK, 2017.

4. How would you like to approach your productions going forward? Will we always get to hear those eastern breaks influences in your output or would you like to produce something else?
A - This is an interesting question, because as I have shared earlier, I am an artist adept to go with the flow of the musical river. To be able to say for sure that which genre I shall be working on in the coming future is difficult, though it is for sure that you will be seeing a lot of variety in my work and not just eastern breaks music. I draw inspiration from what my fellows in the industry are making at the moment, though my renditions almost always rely on indian instruments and vocals, and hence a rich indian flavour shall always persist in my work.

 5. How do you like to approach your DJ sets?
A -  I usually play on cdjs,but I’ll definitely start playing live sets also.I would love to introduce some indian instruments in my live performances.
For the Dj sets,I use ‘mixed in key’ and then take it to ‘rekordbox’.
I try to add some variety and depth to my mixes, so you’ll find around 4 to 5 different genres in a mix.The live audiences reactions require quick judging and response from my end,DJ sets are great opportunities to share my work and see in situ reception, thus are highly insightful for me.

6. What other genres do you listen or would like to produce other than drum & bass?
A -   Hip Hop, Reggae, R&B, Jazz etc. I'm also working on two other projects at the moment and one of them is a group formed with these rappers from New Delhi.

7. 5 tunes you are digging at moment?
A -  1. Mad zach - Airport Chronicles
2. Mad Zach Kobza Da
3. Alfa Mist - 7th October
4. Jon Casey - Dirt
5. Mo Vibez - 24k

Follow Mirasi - Facebook | Soundcloud | Instagram

Dubplate #033 - MIRASI


1. Masala Dosa - Shiva Express 2. J Kenzo - Bloodlines 3. Pushloop - kula kula(The Widdler Remix) 4. Perverse - feat Gantz Seismic 5. Biome - Shaman 6. Compa Ipman - Let Them Bookah 7. Biome - Shadows 8. Kryptic Minds - Organic 9. Kryptic Minds - Alone 10. Pushloop - Purple Tapestry 11. SPMC - Oh My Ghosh 12. SPMC - Declassified 13. Pushloop - Drum Circle 14. Pushloop - The Jungle 15. Kwizma - Shelby 16. Radikal Guru feat Solo Banton - Back Off(DJ Madd remix) 17. Causa - Cruel Record 18. J Kenzo - Body heat 19. Samba - Kami 20. Oxossi and Samba - Orbitals 21. DJ Madd - Peng Teng 22. Epoch - Ribcage