Bassics Pace

“A metal band broke up two years ago. After that we were left with nothing. We wanted
to get back to making music but it was hard going back to the same old industrial metal
sound.” This band was called Egotrip Project. Ved played the guitar, Maitreya toyed with
samples. “At the same time, the bass-heavy wave hit Pune big time. We got into Pretty
Lights, Grammatik, all that, and we started producing.” They’re currently, at the time of
writing, Pune’s only bass music outfit. They go by the moniker TripShot Crew.

Says Maitreya, “What we listened to also changed. We grew out of metal-”
“You don’t grow out of metal,” snaps Ved.
“We grew out of metal as in, we don’t listen to metal twenty-four seven, dude.”

TripShot Crew scored their first gig in Bombay, at Cool Chef Cafe. “That was when we
realized what we’re doing is not something shitty. That was our proper debut.
We then played a couple shows in Pune, at One Lounge and High Spirits,” says Ved.
“It was good fun to look at how people responded to what we played in Pune. The city
especially doesn’t have many bass-heavy acts as of now. The only bass-heavy acts we
have in India are based in Mumbai or Delhi. Bangalore as well, to a certain extent,
but it’s not that hardcore over there,” says Maitreya.

“But it’s good fun. We have a lot of room for experimentation and lot of scope for trying
new stuff out. That’s ‘cause we’re not part of a scene where things are happening full-
force. We’re not committed to doing something because it works or sells.”

“TripShot Crew started as a chillstep act, but we were mostly looking for a direction back
then. You know how it is – you sit down when you’re in that inspiration phase, and then you
don’t produce anything else for a month.” He pauses. “Actually, that’s pretty much how it
still works with us.”

In a wonderful turn we’ve noticed these past few years, it’s no longer chic to pigeonhole.
Listeners now flit genres with gratifying ease, preferring to give everything a chance
before it’s relegated to the Youtube ‘last seen’ pile. It comes as no surprise, then, that this
teenage Crew’s influences span from death drones to the carnatic classical. New artists
feel the constant need to keep researching – not only in terms of technology, but also basic
rhythm. Hallo Bum Bum!’s a good example.

Alternative music took on a whole new meaning when the duo went on a pooja-hop
through town, looking to religion for that right beat to introduce to their first track. They
finally found what they were looking for in M. S. Subbalakshmi, and the sound they picked
up then stayed – it set them on their aural journey.

“We were drinking tea at a Madrasi Cafe back here in Pune, just back from the Himachal,”
says Maitreya. “That’s where we heard this devotional music playing on loop and, in our
heads, it clicked. It connected to the vibe we’d been experiencing in the hills.” With the
sample, the rest came quickly.

“The name ‘Hallo Bum Bum!’ is a tribute to a sadhu we met back in Himachal Pradesh.
All he’d say was ‘Hello, bum bum. Do you want something to smoke, bum bum?’ He was
fascinating.”
TripShot Crew produces, in their own words, ‘floor music’, the kind you’d find in a
club. “We still play with some psychedelic outfits and dabble in the odd DJ set, so we
haven’t disconnected from everything else, per se,” Ved adds. “But TripShot Crew is
where it’s at, in the end. We’ve made the tunes we wanted to – I won’t say we’ve stopped
trying to evolve, because that’s where creativity goes to die. But no, we won’t be adding a
drummer or something – no drastic changes anytime soon. It’s more about tweaking things
to perfection from this point on.”

Unfortunately, like most artists starting out India-side, they have to cater to the crowd
and bring out the pleasing guns – the covers. “The originals have to be slipped in subtly,
although we push more and more of them into each set. A set populated entirely by
originals sounds pretty fucking great – and as people hear us and hear about us more
and more, they want to hear our own music… so it’s not as distant a dream as we first
believed. The scene’s certainly opening up, audiences are getting more receptive
and accommodating.”

The word artists like to use for not-too-large crowds is usually ‘dedicated’ – the people
pulled in definitely don’t show strength in numbers, but sometimes they make up for it with
their interest.

At a TripShot Crew show you’ll find two guys, a console and a guitar. “We’re not glorified
DJs, we’re not commercial whores,” says Ved. They dislike DJs. “Even with other artists’
tracks, you’ll find me playing the guitar to some grimy dubstep, fiddling, flanging, mashing
beats up, repeating into tempos and looping out of them. We design the sound live as the
flow takes us. Expect to catch us burying some Gorillaz into some Grammatik. Of course
there’s a vague plan, but let’s be honest – it doesn’t stick.”

Though uncertain, the duo is optimistic about its prospects. “In our circle of friends, as a
group, what we listened to suddenly started changing. It went from industrial metal to djent
to electro to bass-heavy music. I’m telling you, the bass-heavy wave just took over, no one
really saw it coming.”

“Now bass-heavy music is getting accepted at normal parties as well. It’s hit Pune, it’s
basically hit the whole mainstream,” says Maitreya. “Everyone knows Skrillex.” To that,
Ved brings up that one time wobbles showed up in Bollywood. “Because of Soundtripping
that kind of music showed up on MTV as well. It was also on the Gangs of Wasseypur
soundtrack.”

Low frequencies have a bone to pick with a lot of local venues. Most of them have such
shoddy acoustics that the bass reverberates off of every wall and trips on itself. The
ensuing sound is more of a rattle than a groove. TripShot Crew have mixed their tracks
at home on regular speakers, on which, it’s tough to discern minor hitches. Such hitches
oftentimes get amplified when played on a PA. The effect is similar to how a low-res
stream turns to a series of squares if blown up on a 51 inch television. But so far, the
duo is happy with the results of testing their mixes live. “The songs that we played live,
surprisingly they sounded good on the PA. They were all home based mixes but they
weren’t muddy at all. There were no fuck-ups in the mixes and EQ-levels,” says Maitreya.

They’ve got the sonic aspect covered, but beyond the music, what sets TripShot Crew
apart from scores of mooning DJ duos? Crowd interaction. “If he’s mixing, I’ll take the mix
and keep the crowd engaged. In Bombay, we plugged the mic into my guitar processor,
threw on delay and held it out to the crowd. They could hear themselves processed,” says
Ved. “One thing we like to do on stage is at the beginning, we pull the volume down, and
just as everyone’s confused and begins wondering, ‘What happened to the music?’, we
yell, “Fuck you all, we’re from the future,…” and we drop.”

“It’s so pointless, it works.”


written by Ritwik Deshpande & Tej Haldule

NEWS - 09. October 2012   CITY - Pune ARTIST - TripShot Crew

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