Being a musician in India is a constant challenge, especially in New Delhi. It’s why so many of us choose to be in it I think. The hustle. Everyday, there are new sounds being made, new technologies being developed and industry practices that are changing for the better.
Just knowing the music is not enough anymore. There is so much that the artists need to do within and outside their craft. Making a statement as a musician in your chosen space is not child’s play anymore.
I recall when I was a drummer starting out with my school band called FTN was just about trying anything and everything. There was no sound, no trend, no social media to help you break the Internet. I could play anything and I was able to put it down on the shells note by note while playing in front of raging crowd was the only way to gain respect and approval from them that you were stage worthy. But I was young. Soon after, I started playing with different bands with completely different sounds. Although principally I still thought myself to be bulletproof and from that emerged a style of playing that I could call my own. That’s when things started to get more interesting. I was told my signature was an accent on the snare drum called ‘Flams’ that I used to execute flawlessly. It’s not much but it still evoked a reaction from my fellow musicians and that was enough for me to keep exploring and moving ahead.
Fast-forward 10 years and roughly about 200-400 gigs later to 2007. By this time I had managed to establish a solid footprint in the market as well as in the sights of the most known musicians in the country. It was around this time, I was introduced to House Music. To be honest, although I will always love smashing a drum kit into pieces but learning about house music just seemed to be a refreshing change from the usual rock and roll all the time and from here is where I learning about the art of Dj’ing.
As I learnt a fragment of the skill, I could assess what I needed to do to beat match my tracks, polish my mixes and get the right tracks in sequence. Then came the hours of practice. I found myself feeling the same way I felt when I first played with FTN. I felt bulletproof. I was learning a new skill altogether and so far away from what I did for so many years. With this I could somewhat anticipate where this was going to go. Very shortly in the grind of working my mixes, I started getting into production and carving a style on the basis of sound and skill.
Making this transition from a Live musician to Dj’ing was in a way the best move I’ve made so far in my music career. It doesn’t mean that I’ve stopped playing the drums. It only means that I’ve found another way to express and translate my skill as a drummer and as a musician focused on writing original music. In fact, balancing studio sessions with instrumental jams and studio time is what I would suggest to everyone. It’s amazing how possibilities work out by themselves musically when you have such a balance. It really changes your approach musically to interpret other music & write original tunes.
The point I’m trying to make here is that there is no superior or better way to write music but there will always be a different way of doing things. Exposing yourself to the experiences that are not in your comfort zone are often the ones that solidify your thought process for the near future. It’s not all good or all bad; it’s just there.
So be bulletproof. Try everything. Not just synthesizing for hours on end in the studio or jamming so much your can’t feel yourself. Do both in harmony and I assure you, you will notice the difference in the way you approach your music next.