It was early 2017 when Mohammed Abood aka DJ MoCity and Sahej Bakshi aka Dualist Inquiry came up with the idea of delivering to the ever-growing need for a platform for the alternative music and culture in India. Fast forward 2019, Boxout.fm has completely transformed the Indian music scene with care and precision and currently there is no other platform to can rival Boxout.fm.
Boxout.fm boasts a monstrous roster of some of the country’s most dedicated musical minds alongside DJs, selectors, commentators and cultural icons from all over the world. From IDM to Dancehall to Hip-Hop to Jazz, you name it and they have it.
The radio’s passionate support for Drum & Bass is unparalleled. Boxout.fm has been home to our very own Debjyoti Das aka The Untitled One and it has helped the Bangalore based DJ to showcase his art to the world. Just when we thought this wasn’t enough, Boxout is set to host another Drum & Bass show, featuring some of the most revered heavy-hitters in the Indian Drum & Bass scene, on the 24th of July, at Summer House Cafe, New Delhi. And we couldn't be more excited about being a part of the night.
First one on the line-up is Rohan Kalé. Delhi based Rohan Kalé has meticulously consolidated his name as one of the finest selectors in the country. His “Music without borders” approach has given us some stunning live performances. Rohan Kalé’s penchant for soul-stirring melodies and skull-shattering Jungle coupled with the his intricate take on his DJ sets makes him THE artist to watch out for. The Delhi badman also has some incoming music so keep your eyes peeled.
Next up is Delhi based Ravana; an artist whose music is synonymous with infusing traditional Indian music with his production styles in the most intuitive manner. The intricate approach to his sets makes him one of the versatile DJs in the line-up. Ravana’s knack to infuse Drum & Bass with Jungle, Break-core and Dub will always leave you with surprises throughout his sets.
The next artist on the line up is Watashi. The Bangalore based DJ and producer has made Neurofunk Drum & Bass his own realm. Watashi is known for his high energy sets which are packed with relentless tech steppers.
On supporting duties will be Shillong based Wave Diary and Boxout’s resident artist, Drum Attic.
We caught up with all these artists and had a quick word with them about their music, journey, future plans, their thoughts on the DnB scene in the country and a few other things.
|| Kalé ||
1. In your interview with us, you'd mentioned what liquid drum and bass means to you but we're also aware of how much you love Jungle. Would you like to release some jungle in the future?
A : Absolutely. Jungle will always hold a very special place in my heart. It has been one of the most prolific genres of our time and before. Simply put, it's timeless music. I would love to release some jungle, I have some loops and ideas that will turn into full songs (soon, i hope!)
2019 has mainly been about me working to elevate my production skills and it has been going great so far, so do expect a bunch of releases (Jungle included) from myself in the near future.
2. You've always been lyrical about the importance of using those classic r'n'b samples in your music. Can you tell us more about it?
A : RNB from the 90s and early 2000s is, again, absolutely timeless music. The soul that these vocalists poured into every word they uttered is beyond compare. So much love, so many emotions, such feelings! Just talking about it makes me smile. A LOT of this music has been sampled abundantly by DNB/Dubstep/Garage etc artists. You could easily spot a sample in every other tune within these genres and beyond. I have actually considered doing a show about the art of sampling in Liquid/Deep Dubstep because it's a masterful skill and it just adds that extra warmth to such music.
I am guilty of using these in the music I create as well! Keep an ear out, some releases coming through soon.
3. The Drum & Bass scene in our opinion has taken a beating in the last few years. It did peak 5 years ago but now it seems like we're playing catch up. How do you think the scene can be improved?
A : I think the most important thing is to keep believing in the vision and pushing the sounds to the people as much as we can. In my opinion, as soon as DNB is uttered people just assume its HEAVY and LOUD. That needs to change. There is a lot of subtle, gentle and soulful DNB music out there and it's our responsibility to share this music with the listeners here so it becomes a more accepted genre. I know there are a few shows on boxout.fm that are strictly DNB which is definitely a step towards the right direction. The other thing would be to curate more DNB focussed nights around the country and market the shows well so more people are exposed to this beautiful genre. Another helping factor would be to bring in some international acts which would attract more people to such events and would spread the music further.
|| Ravana ||
1. 24 EPs until now is QUITE something. Not many Indian artists have gotten near that number. How would like to describe your journey over the years?
And the latest I released under AMARRASS RECORDS on a Vinyl called. DUBFOUNDED (Folk + dUb)
Since my teenage days all I wanted to do was to be in a band and grew up dreaming about making music and creating lots of music albums (so old school). We even named the hypothetical band as, KALI DEATH :D. But the band thing didn't work out much and Electronica became a part of my life. I started Djiing in 2002 when I left my corporate job and dnb has always been my preferred genre to play around, but at the back of my mind was to always produce music albums that got realised in 2011, when I finally got my hands on a computer that I bought at a very cheap rate from my friend. The result was a Jungle mix that can be found here - https://www.mixcloud.com/Ravana/stop-tribal-hunt-ore-naheen/
Soon I started producing music and the search began for the sound I wanted to produce. It took me around 5 years and many tracks to reach a stage I felt comfortable and knew this this is what I wanted to do music wise. In 2016, I released my 1st album OLD DELHI, dedicated to the city I grew up in and music inspired by the Great MUSLIMGAUZE (also a tribute album). I don't think producing this many numbers of album is a big deal, I am just clearing the back catalog of all the ideas I had in the last 2 decades. My journey has been great to say the least, it has not been difficult at all but has been frustrating in the sense that a huge number of the audience is still very much where it was many many years ago and will always be there. Because the kind of sound I produce or play in mixes are so UNDERGROUND that usually it is not preferred by the masses, so in most cases RAVANA becomes not viable.
2. "Dubfounded" is a gorgeous piece of art. Tell us more about your experience while working on this tune?
A : Rana from Reproduce introduced me to Amarass (Ankur + Ashutosh) back in 2014. On the 1st of July 2013 I released an album called GHALIB (Tracks + Remixes) ravana.bandcamp.com/album/ghalib Probably after hearing the album he must have thought that I could do some collab with AMARRASS. Yeah, so I did my 1st eclectic show for Amarrass of Remixes I had done of Ghalib in one of Amarrass' folk festivals back in 2014, in dilli. Since then I have been a regular at their events. So when Jumme Khan (the poet and vocalist in the album Dubfounded) came to Delhi from Alwar, I was their choice of music producer. It was a great experience to work with Amarrass (because I had the creative license, without any external interference) and secondly I had to produce an album that would not compromise on the signature RAVANA sound but at the same time should not sound like a disaster for the masses, because this was to be a balanced act between art and commercial spheres. 3. The Drum & Bass scene in our opinion has taken a beating in the last few years. It did peak 5 years ago but now it seems like we're playing catch up. How do you think the scene can be improved?
A : Even back in 2002 when we were doing our DnB nights there were not many Pub / Club owners who preferred it, probably because of the rawness of the sound (Drum & Bass) and still the scene is the same. Just yesterday at a gig in jaipur a boy came up to me and asked if I can play something that he can dance to. :P I think a majority of the public are so used to and fed substandard beaty 4/4 sound that it is quiet impossible to change the scene upside down. There needs to be more promoters who have to come forward and just relax a bit about the commercial aspect of things and invest more on sustainability and building up the scene from bottom up. RANA has been doing this with Reproduce Listening Room (Noise + Anything goes kind of music), Amarrass have been doing this in the Folk area and i think now Boxout is also on the same wavelength to promote good music as well as artists/dj's who probably wont get a gig or place to play their sound.
|| Watashi ||
1. You've meticulously carved your way as one of the known drum & bass DJ/artists in the country. How would you like describe your journey so far?
A : Best way to put it would be "a big learning curve." I've improved as a musician and as a person over the last year and a half, I'm not so rigid when it comes to music anymore which is a great thing. End of last year, I played a lot of gigs and it's all a blur now, but they helped me sort of define my sound. This year has been a bit scarce when it comes to gigs but as an artist every gig has been more satisfying. The response has been great, especially from people who listen to me play for the first time. I'm much more certain about what sort of set I want to put out every time. And honestly, DNB community has been very friendly and has always given me complete freedom. I mean, the gigs with DnB India or the one in Kochi, I've always felt that trust to put out whatever music I want to. That Kochi gig with the Kekao crew was mad by the way. Nights like those make you feel like you're doing something right and can keep you going for months.
2. Your recent release on Nrtya packs a punch. Can we expect Watashi to make some proper industrial stuff soon? A : Honestly, that track was just an experiment. Drum and bass production is really technical and it's easy to get lost tweaking a snare sound for six hours. And I get frustrated because I'm not finishing nearly enough tracks. So all the other stuff I keep making is just an escape from that since it gives me the feeling of being productive and having some output at least. I'm focusing on putting out more DnB releases this year, all the other stuff will have to wait. I'll definitely play some unreleased tunes for this gig. But yes, I've developed some fondness to industrial/broken techno and would love to make more music with a similar vibe, maybe under a secret moniker, who knows. 3. The Drum & Bass scene in our opinion has taken a beating in the last few years. It did peak 5 years ago but now it seems like we're playing catch up. How do you think the scene can be improved? A : I agree. I keep thinking about this way too much. It's sad to see the thing you love dying. And I have no decisive answer for this. Sometimes I feel it's the fact that the younger generation is getting used to slower tempos which is easy listening music and on the other hand DnB is such an acquired taste. Also, Dnb is meant to be underground music yet it never could identify as rave music in India. I mean, I'm sure you know a few artist friends in Europe who are playing huge underground raves, Jungle/DnB has been at the forefront of rave culture over there. We have to somehow make that happen here as well. Young listeners are getting introduced to new music by watching boiler room sets and when was the last time you saw a complete DnB set on boiler room? It is very rare. I mean, people do throw in a few jungle tunes now and then, but that's not doing much for promoting the genre. We have to involve the younger generation of DJs and producers somehow, they tend to be more passionate about what they like. And do more gigs with proper DnB lineups that represent our music in its raw-unadulterated form. Maybe gigs in smaller cities, people tend to be more open to new music there. And above all, stick to it.
|| Wave Diary ||
1. How did you get into drum and bass? And how would you like to describe your sound? A : Born and brought up in Shillong, i grew up listening to a lot of metal and punk rock music, my favorite child hood memory was to see my dad perform which inspired me to pursue my career in music. When i started my career as a DJ i got into techno, but every time i got on stage I would fail to deliver and connect to the people which i loved the most. I just wasn't really connecting to that style of music, this made me start exploring different genre until i found Drum and Bass. Having said that growing up listening to metal music, the influence of heavy percussion's stayed within me. I've always loved the sounds of classical instruments. The juxtaposition between the two is what defines my taste. 2. How do you think is the drum and bass scene bubbling up in your hometown?
A : About 5 years ago, there weren’t many events dedicated to Drum and Bass in Shillong. Most artists (really talented and great friends) were pushing the Club scene in town while there wasn’t much work in DnB.
Knowing that people of Shillong are open to different tastes of music ,a bunch of us were really excited to start our own scene in Shillong which inspired me to start ‘Bass Block’. A thing that initially started as an after party ritual.
The first ever ‘Bass Block’ wasn’t typically successful, but that really got me thinking about how to keep people entertained while still staying under the genre . For the second show, I started adding elements (something they could relate to ) in my set. This continued for a couple of shows after which I could see people really jamming to proper Break Beat.
Krunk coming in with ‘Bass Camp’ for two years straight played a major role in the scene.
Even though the scene is still young and upcoming, I think it is a really exciting time for DnB in Shillong.
3. The Drum & Bass scene in our opinion has taken a beating in the last few years. It did peak 5 years ago but now it seems like we're playing catch up. How do you think the scene can be improved? A : Drum and Bass started as a Break Beat hardcore style, but over the years evolved as an umbrella term for sub-genres like Reggae Dub, Liquid, Jazz Step and so on. Every genre enjoys a peak phase, and leads towards a starting point for a new cycle, in this case a new sub-genre. I think the most important thing for us is to keep producing more music for the core DnB community because I believe in making music that I love and not just take it as a trend. Drum and Bass will re-emerge taking on a new form to complete the cycle of music or perhaps starts a new one.
DO NOT miss it because this promises to be a mayhem!!