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 boxout.fm] 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 boxout.fm 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 boxout.fm 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
   


Tracklist

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]