Sunday, April 29, 2018

OX7GEN talks about his new track on Med School Music, live Drum and Bass, his love for Hospital Records and more.

Drum & Bass in totality has had an astonishing start to 2018. We have already seen some enthralling releases from newcomers like QZB and Monty alongside some big releases from the likes of GLXY, LSB, Mefjus and many more.Thanks to the comfort given by labels with providing space to experiment, Artists have pushed the boundaries and they have dished out some mind bending releases but one artist we would like to pay our attention to, is our very own Aditya Ashok also known as OX7GEN.
OX7GEN's love for Drum & bass is no secret. He is one of the flagbearers of the recent rise of Drum & Bass in India. A drummer for one of the biggest bands in India, one moment to a solo producer making Drum & bass, the next, Aditya is one the most revered artists in the country and now with a soul stirring track on Hospital Records’ sister label, Med School Music, Aditya has put India on the map of this massive competitive and daring world of Drum & Bass. Maybe people don’t realize how big this is but it's HUGE.

Part of Med School Music’s ‘New Blood 018’ compilation, ‘Trinity’ is a deep stepper with some sophisticated drum work, exemplifying OX7GEN penchant for ambient sounds. The compilation features some immensely talented artists like A.Fruit and Lakeway, so like we said, this release is HUGE and it is a testament to the tremendous amount of graft Aditya has put in his music and to celebrate the release, we sat down with the ingenious producer to know about his thoughts on the release, his early days, Live Drum & bass and much more.

The idea of ‘Trinity’ Aditya was always vocal about his admiration for Hospital Records and Tony Colman aka London Elektricity and to have his first release on Hospital Records’ sister label is massive. “To have a release on Med School Music is more than inspiring for me and after going through all the ups and downs as an artist, the feeling is surreal. Before sending tunes out to labels, I had to be vary of what I was sending. I just didn’t want to send tunes which I didn’t feel confident about because it would put my work and my name as an artist in jeopardy. ‘Trinity’ was sent to Tony for feedback but he liked the tune and we spoke about the possibility of having the tune released on ‘Med School Music’ and that’s how it happened”.

Introduction to Drum & Bass Aditya’s music tastes have evolved and before he started listening into drum & bass, he listened to a lot of House, Techno and then his focus shifted to Rock and Metal in 2005. “Back in the day, I used to listen to a lot of House and Techno and then my tastes shifted to Rock and Metal in 2005. After that, I was introduced to drum & bass because I felt that drum & bass was the closest aesthetic to what I was listening to, back then. I started with LTJ Bukem and later I was introduced to Black Sun Empire by Tarqeeb”.

Thoughts on the release and sharing stages with Alix Perez and London Elektricity OX7GEN back catalogue is huge and it’s inspiring. Having toured Europe as a drummer with Sky Harbor and sharing stages as a DJ with some of the biggest artists in the drum & bass spectrum but Aditya humbly says that he wasn’t planning any of this. “I was not setting any milestones throughout my journey. It just happened. I was making music and I was enjoying what I was doing in that moment. I started playing gigs with Krunk and eventually I got the opportunity to open for London Elektricity and Alix Perez. I was releasing music periodically but ‘Trinity’ is technically my first release on a offbig label.”. Fast forward 2018, OX7GEN is one of the most technically daring producers and DJ in the country, known for immaculate mixing and his high energy sets. Talk about drum & bass and OX7GEN is the first name on the list.

Thoughts on the concept of Live Drum & Bass Whilst drum & bass enthusiasts love the idea of swashbuckling sets and stomping to pulsating tunes, they always dig the live element in it and so do artists and DJs. On the biggest stage we have seen the likes Pendulum, Noisia and Icicle, dishing out their live sets to perfection but the concept still remains to be in the fringes. We asked Aditya what he feels about the concept of Live Drum & Bass and turns out that he has accomplished it already.

In 2014, I gathered a lead singer, two guitarists and I was the drummer and the concept of OX7GEN Live came up. I did a 6 city tour where I took my OX7GEN Live project and we had fun touring the country. During gigs, we performed tirelessly without those conventional song breaks and it was fun. For me, it was very refreshing because my of penchant for the live element in it. But eventually the costs behind the project shot up and travelling to places with the band and carrying everything to each place became difficult. So I decided to turn my attention to DJing and making music, because the Live concept consumed a lot effort and time and I couldn’t channelize my time towards making music.
India’s perception towards Drum & Bass Well, it is very evident that drum & bass in India is not upheld in the same bracket as House and Techno. It has a stigma attached to it of being repetitive and for the heads who attend drum & bass gigs will always find familiar faces. Like it or not, finding familiar faces isn’t a good sign for a genre as good as drum & bass and Aditya echoes our thoughts. “Since I started playing drum & bass, what I felt is that drum & bass remains to be a fringe genre and it probably will remain in the fringe realm unless heavily explored”. When we asked if being in the fringe realm is a blessing in disguise?, he said “Yes, it does help but more than anything, India lacks the right tools required to make drum & bass a big hit in the country. We lack the right soundsystems and the right environment to pull of drum & bass gigs”. Our thoughts exactly. Drum & Bass gigs are supposed to be dark and sweaty with monstrous soundsystems. Unfortunately, we can’t replicate the environment which exists in the UK and other parts of Europe, which makes the genre one of the most followed genres in Europe.

Admiration for Hospital Records and London Elektricity OX7GEN supported London Elektricity when he toured in India but his love for the label and Tony Colman stretches years before that. “I love melodies and Hospital records exemplify my loves for melodies”. Rightly so. Hospital Records has the most impressive rosters in the drum & bass fraternity which includes the likes of S.P.Y, Metrik, Fred V & Grafix and many more and the label’s sounds resonate Aditya’s affection for melodies. “Syncopated City by London Elektricity was the first drum & bass album I heard and then his BBC essential mix later intrigued me and honestly it is hard to describe the influence Tony and Hospital Records have had in my journey. I feel my music goes in tandem with the way Hospital Records approach their releases.” While the label is known for their unassailable hold in the industry when it comes to melodic drum & bass but lately we have seen the label changing their sounds and we have seen a lot of gritty low-end releases from Whiney, Keeno and Urbandawn signaling a new variation to the label’s approach towards their releases.
With this, Aditya confirmed that he is working on two tunes and whilst being a big ambient head producing soothing tunes, Aditya says that the tunes he is working on, are going to be more enterprising and club oriented releases.
In the end, we asked Aditya a fun question.
You are closing Sunandbass. What will be your closing tune? For the ones who aren’t aware, SunandBass is one the biggest drum & bass gatherings in the world which takes place every year on the Beautiful island of Sardania, Italy and it goes without saying that it is a dream for drum & bass artists to perform at SunandBass. When we asked Aditya, he took a long pause and fondly asked if we know Apex. [chuckles]. We lost Apex and Marcus Intalex last year and it was really hard for the drum & bass community to fathom the fact that they lost two legends in the same year. “[after a long pause]The Apex remix for London Elektricity’s Just Once Second would be my closing track. I think that the original resonates our feelings and life in general and Apex seamlessly remixed which the tune, which I believe is one the best drum & bass remixes, ever.

Nab yourself a copy of OX7GEN's release on Med School Music here:

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