Delhi-based electronica producer, Sahej Bakshi aka Dualist Inquiry gives us a lowdown on the electronic music scene in India.
It’s an exciting time to be an electronic musician in India right now – a small scene is slowly and organically turning into an industry. Audiences are as open-minded as they can be, and a whole new crop of artists is starting and learning to thrive in this fertile environment.
Here are 5 Indian producers whose originality, creativity and drive I admire the most, who I’m also lucky enough to call my friends.
I’ve had the pleasure of watching Sanaya Ardeshir aka Sandunes evolve over the years into the incredible artist she is today. Sanaya has this unwavering, uncompromising focus on producing and performing electronic music “the right way”, and it shows in her music. In the current environment of USB-toting, crowd-friendly DJs, it’s an encouraging and heartwarming sight to see Sanaya show up at her gigs with a big smile and 4 heavy synthesizers hanging off her small frame. Sandunes is a musical force to be reckoned with, and I think her upcoming record which releases end September will showcase just how far she’s come.
Sid Vashi grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, and when he moved to Mumbai a few years ago, he brought with him a fresh sound that instantly grabbed people’s attention. He produces large volumes music from a place of ease, which points directly to his immense talent as a musician. His sound is pop-influenced, but his training in jazz saxophone and peculiar methods of sampling vintage Bollywood put him in a category of his own.
Nicholson is, in my opinion, a rare example of what happens when extraordinary creative ability meets technical mastery. I have been privileged enough to witness this duo’s songwriting and recording process first hand, and every last detail is so meticulously thought out and masterfully executed, that it’s no surprise that they sound like no other artist in this country. I’ve heard snippets of their work-in-progress debut album, and I genuinely think it’s going to blow people away when it comes out next year.
The thing I appreciate most about Kumail is that he emerged with a style all his own a few years ago and didn’t deviate from it to take the easier path of playing uptempo music to suit the masses. His music is ethereal and cerebral, and he successfully delivers airy, vibey live sets even at the most jam-packed Mumbai clubs on Saturday night. Over the years, he’s built a dedicated following, and I believe Kumail could well become the flagbearer for downtempo and alternative music in India in the coming years.
Arjun has been one of my longtime heroes, someone I’ve looked up to since I started my own project back in 2010. How he’s managed to stay well-rooted in his underground origins and musical style while also smashing international barriers for other Indian DJs to follow baffles me and fills me with admiration. Talk to anyone in the scene today, and you’ll hear the same thought, that this man is a boss.
Dualist’s album ‘Dreamcatcher’ sees collaborations with some of the most exciting young vocalists in the country today including Sohrab Nicholson (Nicholson), Josh Fernandez (The F16s) and Kavya Trehan (MOSKO) as well as seeing several multi-disciplinary collaborations in the fields of art and video.
Collaborators include artist and designer Harikrishnan Panicker and Misha Ghose, a film director in Mumbai known for her highly creative videos.
‘Dreamcatcher’ is available now for free download on Dualism Records.