Neal Sekhri’s energy bounces off the wall: he fidgets, moves at a fast-pace and talks in an endless stream of thought. You see how this translates behind the decks as one-half of MadStarBase when he isn’t DJing, he doubles as the hype-man. Sekhri knows how to get the crowd on his side, to get them ready to party. Anant Ahuja is the counterweight to this energy. Ahuja is soft-spoken, bordering on shy. He’s laid back and pragmatic. His words are measured and never reveals more than what he wants. He’s the other half of MadStarBase – the New Delhi-based hip-hop duo.
Image taken at The Shift by Shubham Gupta
If you listen to ‘alternative’ electronic music in New Delhi, only a few venues in the city indulge your taste. After the clubs shut (1am, mostly) the after-parties start. The same several dozen people frequent both these places. Eager to trade names alongside lighters, they stay awake until the soft focus of pre-dawn. While most of the city sleeps, this particular group of people will share cigarettes while taking ownership of a scuffed up nook, a hardened piece of pavement. This is where conversations around ways to better the industry happen. They’re mostly repetitive and trite with people glowing in the shared confidence of the music that pulsates from another room. The romantic inside us wants to believe that all great ideas happen here, in these moments that seem to last forever. In reality, the conversations are just seeds being planted. It takes laborious, tedious work for one of these seeds to be fruitful. One of those seeds was Coven Code.
Image credit – Polina Schapova
For years, Gaurav Malaker and Sahil Vasudeva had been trying to figure out a way to work together. It was easier said than done; Malaker is BLOT!, and has been DJing and producing dancy electronic music for centuries (at least in terms of Indian independent music’s still-young timeline). Vasudeva, on the other hand, is a classically trained pianist, albeit one who’s constantly looking to push the form into the modern era, messing around with styles and formats and bringing those sounds into unpredictable spaces. “Nothing concrete came about,” says Malaker. “We’re from two distinct schools of music. Actually, I wouldn’t even call mine a school of music! We didn’t want to make this a fusion farce sort of thing, so it didn’t materialise.”
Image credit: Arka Alam
One day in 2017, after working on his music for 12 hours straight without a break, (“not long after quitting his job”) Somdev Thakur came to a realisation. “Maybe this is something I should be doing,” he says. “I don’t seem to be bored, I’m not complaining about the long hours. It makes me happy.” And thus was born National Animal, under which name Thakur released his debut self-titled album earlier this month.
Image: Golden Diskó Ship by Sara Perovic
It’s an odd kind of dichotomy that drives Theresa Stroetges. She’s hyper-prolific, juggling multiple musical and creative identities, constantly writing and creating. “I feel almost like, the more I do, the more inspired I am. The less time I have, the more productive I become. It’s strange,” …
Guitarist, composer, and now bedroom producer, Samar Grewal, grew up being the kind of teenager that had a nervous energy about him. One that manifested itself as head-bobs and foot-taps – following rhythms and keeping time. …
In Germany, techno thrives amidst contradictions. It exists within the walls of a former church where audiences indulge in decidedly unholy activities. It’s where pot smoking sixty-year-old men – wearing Grateful Dead t-shirts – dance alongside young adults consuming speed that’s provided by boys sporting the latest looks in grime/fanny pack fashion. …
Border Movement are excited to announce a showcase on Wednesday 15th and Thursday 16th August at Pop-Kultur Berlin in the form of live performances, DJ sets and an interactive discussion. Taking place at Club 23, and representing members of the Border Movement family from South Asia and Germany, there will be live showcases from Dan Bodan, Rudoh, Stupid Happiness Theory and Anika; interspersed with DJ sets from She’s Drunk, Lauf, and Andi Teichmann.
Image credit: Evolve Stills and Motion – Jamblu, REProduce Chhattarpur, October 2017
Speaking casually to a number of people in the Indian music industry, that’s the unified response I get when I ask why electronic music cannot seem to leave the main tier 1 cities (Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore). Interviewing several others, I repeat the question: how can electronic music spread beyond the congested spaces of major metropolises. The answer again is unanimous: “venues”.
You were wrong.
But don’t worry about it too much. With his recently released single, ‘You & Me’, Sahej Bakshi, the man behind Dualist Inquiry, has more tricks up his sleeve than even his best friends imagined.