Monday, September 26, 2016

#BassMondays - OX7GEN (Interview + Dubplate 016)

For our 16th Dubplate feature, we have Aditya Ashok who goes by the name, OX7GEN. One of the promising names in the current Indian music scenario, he is a Mumbai based DnB/Ambient producer. Producing since the year of 2010, he has released a bunch of EPs and singles, and has also been a drummer with some of the outstanding bands. We had a little talk about the thought behind his artist name, production and fields that he wishes to explore. Do not miss the exclusive mix set along with a few tips that he shares for the aspiring music artists.

1. Tell us the story behind the name and your choice of music?
A : OX7GEN came purely out of a need for a moniker. No fancy inspirational story or anything. I had just finished my first ever song Northern Lights in 2010 and was excited to put it out and needed a moniker. I went by Oxygen for a while, but soon realised how hard it was to find domain spaces so I added the 7 and changed the all the letters to upper case. I've spent a majority of the last 6 years producing and playing drum & bass but have been dabbling with other BPMs more recently. No one style in particular, just electronic music in general. I've really been enjoying playing my After Dark sets for the last couple of months where I get to play every other genre of electronic music that I listen to and that inspires what I do.

2. How and when did you discover Bass music?
A: In 2008, KRUNK bossman Sohail used to work at Blue Frog Bombay and he was playing a jazz/drum&bass trumpet player called Eric Truffaz. Even though I had heard the style a few times before, I was finally in a position to ask someone what it was and get some more info about it. He dropped a bunch of names that I should probably check out and the only one I remembered when I got home was London Elektricity. I got my hands on the 'Syncopated City' LP and his 2008 BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix, and there was no turning back from then on.

3. What do you feel about the Bass scene in India and what are your thoughts on its evolution so far?
A: I've only seen the evolution of the Bass scene in India from 2008 till today. And there has been quite a lot of change. Dubstep and Drum & Bass was quite underground in 2008/09 when BBC were playing Zenzi Mills & Blue Frog. Things really picked up in 2010/11/12 with the advent of Bass Camp festival and NH7's Dub Station, but at the same time saw Dubstep take a bit of a back seat maybe because it got too big too soon. Things are quite different now. There's a resurgence of the deeper/less cheesy dub step thanks to artists like Tarqeeb and international artists like Amit & Mala visiting our shores fairly regularly. The good people at Arms House & Supersonic are really speeding up the process of establishing bass music in India as a heavyweight by brining the best in the business to the country for the last 3 years. I do however feel like the drum & bass audience has diminished quite a bit at the moment with genres like Trap & Footwork taking over.

4.  You’ve been a drummer with various artists and have played with bands as well, how do you think it has helped you with your music production?

A: Being a drummer has definitely made all of the beat making very easy and intuitive. I'm still in the process of creating my ideal setup where my drumming ideas flow more spontaneously when I'm in the studio.

5. Apart from everything that you’ve learnt being a self taught artist, what are the areas you would still like to explore?
A: I really would like to strengthen my knowledge of music theory as well as more advanced music production concepts. I rely a little too much on just my ear and trial & error which can slow down the learning process.

6. What’s next in the to-do list, something coming up that we’re not aware of?
A: I have a bunch of new material that I've been working on this year which I plan on putting out as soon as I can and after that's done, I've been toying with a bunch of new ideas in terms of production approach as well as departure from singular music styles.

7. What according to you are the pros and cons of being a Bass artist in a country that is still coming to terms with this genre? Any word of advice for the DJ/Producers that are pursuing their dreams in the Bass genre?
A: One of the biggest pros is that it's still comparatively a nascent scene so if you put in the time and have a flair for it, it's fairly easy to come to the forefront of it and create a sound and a following of your own. But with the way Nucleya has blown up over the last 2 years, the next couple of years might see a good number of contenders which is definitely exciting, provided they're bring their own flavour to the game. One of the biggest cons I've always felt and still constantly feel being a bass music artist in this country is the lack of a dedicated clubs with good sound systems where this music can really be experienced the way it is meant to. I think this is very essential not only to the growth of the bass music scene but also to create unique experiences for kids who might be trailblazers in the genre in time. Bottle service clubs and shitty sound systems are not going to inspire anyone to do anything groundbreaking.

I have a few things I'd like to say to DJs/producers starting out. The first one is be hungry. Search far and wide for all kinds of styles and see what speaks to you. On a more technical note, one of the best ways to critique your own production is to A/B it with songs that you think would possibly be in the same sonic landscape and then use your ears. Really listen to every element and hear how near or far they are, how much prominence they have. And in terms of songwriting, every time I'm halfway through a song, I ask myself who the star of the song is. Is it the drums? Is it the super gnarly bass or a lead line or a vocal line? Give every element their own role to play and try not to let the song become a cluster fuck of too many elements all crying for the attention of the listener at the same time.

8. What is your studio / DJ set-up?
A : In the studio I use a 15" Macbook Pro. My DAW of choice is Ableton Live 9. My go to mixing tools are the Waves SSL and CLA plugins, a bunch of Sound Toys products, and a lot of inbuilt Ableton delays, comps and reverbs. I have an Access Virus TI desktop unit and the VST's I mostly use are Omnisphere, Sub Boom Bass by Rob Papen, Massive and Ableton instruments like Analog & Electric. I've very recently picked up the NI Komplete bundle along with the Machine Studio and I'm super stoked to dive into that.

My DJ setup has evolved a lot over the years. I started off DJing on Ableton and then moved to Traktor HID mode with the CDJs a few years later. I moved to Rekordbox a few months after that and for the last few months I've been using the DJM 900 along with Traktor, running 4 decks and doing a lot of layering and mashups. I'm looking at adding the X1 to this setup to give me a little more control over Traktor's in built effects.

9. Can you list 3 tunes you are feeling right now.
A: Hugh Hardie - Everything Was Nothing.

Sepalcure - No Think.

MUTEMATH - Changes.

10. What is the best gig you have played so far. In terms of Sound Systems, Venue and Crowd Response?
A : Without a doubt NH7 Weekender 2013 when I closed Dub Station on Saturday night. There were about 8 other DJ's who jumped on stage for almost the entire second half of the set. The stage was shaking so much my laptop hung twice but luckily I was able to recover in under 20 seconds so it wasn't too bad. The sound system was top notch and the area was packed to capacity.

11. What's the funniest / craziest thing that has ever happened to you during a gig?
A: At the same gig that I just spoke about, NH7 Weekender 2013, Dub station, the stage was moving so much that before every drop I had to literally hold my computer with both hands so that the screen wouldn't shut because of the amount of movement on stage.

12. You just found out that your last gig ever is tomorrow, what would be your closing track?
A: Klute - Hell Hath No Fury.

Connect with OX7GEN :
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Dubplate #016 - OX7GEN

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1. Alix Perez - Suffer in Silence feat. Zero T [SHOGUN AUDIO].
2.Sub Focus - Close (Ivy Lab remix) [RAM REECORDS].
3. Bop - Blurred Memories feat. Synkro (Etherwood Remix) [MEDSCHOOL].
4.Lenzman - Broken Dreams [METALHEADZ].
5. Bachelor of Science - Wicked Ways [CODE RECORDINGS].
6. Etherwood - You'll Always Be a Part of Me (Pola & Bryson Remix) [HOSPITAL RECORDS].
7. Context MC - Listening to Burial feat. Slof Man (Cinematic Remix).
8. Reckless - Rumours.
9. Ivy Lab - Live On Your Smile [CRITICAL MUSIC].
10. Moleman - Imagine [VELCRO CITY RECORDS].
11. Nu:Tone - Broken feat. Kyan [HOSPITAL RECORDS].
13. Joe Syntax - Sightlines feat. Jono McCleery [MEDSCHOOL].
14. SpectraSoul - Glimpse feat. dBridge (Ivy Lab Remix) [SHOGUN AUDIO].
15. Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs - Garden (Calibre Remix) [NICE AGE].
16. Blu Mar Ten - Whisper [BLU MAR TEN MUSIC].
17. Subwave - Stars Get Down [DRUM&BASSARENA].
18. Enei - Runnin feat. Georgia Yates [CRITICAL MUSIC].
19. Logistics - Triangles [HOSPITAL RECORDS].
20. Whiney - Nightfall [MEDSCHOOL].
21. Phase & Whiney - It Means Nothing [LIQUICITY RECORDS].
22. The Vanguard Project - Rhode House [SPEARHEAD RECORDS].
23. Boston - Conscious [SYMMETRY RECORDINGS].
24. Zero T - Too Close to See feat. Steo [INTEGRAL RECORDS].
25. Kwabs - Walk (Nu:Tone Remix).
26. Fracture Design - Day Dream [OFF WORLD RECORDINGS].
27. Bop - Spiral [MEDSCHOOL].

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