According to you how has music in India changed over the years?
There are some truly inspiring artists coming up now. I love hearing the kind of attitude that young artists tend to have. Yet there is sometimes a lack of knowledge as per how the scene got this way in the first place and the people that made it happen. For the most part, I am excited at the state of indie music in India.
Could you tell us more about Karsh Kale Collective?
Well, the band kind of came together when I came to India to promote my album Cinema. I had played with some of the musicians before and had to put a band together for a series of shows supporting the album’s release. Things worked out so well that the same band went on to do an episode of Coke Studio and the rest is history. For me, it is the dream band I have always been striving to put together. I get to explore rock, electronica, classical and film music and so much more, all at the same time with this band. I also see myself improving as a musician collaborating with such a great and creative group of artists. The band consists of Warren Mendonsa, Ajay Prasanna, Jai Row Kavi, Jayant Luthra, Benny Dayal, Shilpa Rao and Karsh Kale.
At NH7 Weekender in Delhi, who all will you be performing with from NH7 All Stars? What are your expectations from the Delhi leg?
Bacardi NH7 Weekender is an amazing festival, and a place where indie music comes together, and I love playing at the festival each year. The Karsh Kale Collective + NH7 All Stars, which is the finale set for the festival, is a celebration of all the music that’s played at the festival, and the music that we’ve grown up on.
Has your sense of music changed with time? Any new favourites or preferences recently?
I like different aspects of different artists and take inspiration from all angles. Today in India there is a wellspring of new and fresh takes on music, like Shaa’ir + Func, Dualist Inquiry, Nucleya, Advaita, and of course, the veteran rockers that have been keeping it alive for years, like Pentagram, Ankur Tewari, Midival Punditz, Blackstratblues, etc.
Tell us about your most memorable performance or gig.
So many to name. I’d have to say generally the Bacardi NH7 Weekender experience tends to take the cake as it seems to be a culmination of a lot of energy, and we are all surrounded by friends and fellow artists, so there is always an added excitement. We’re performing the finale concert along with some special guests for all four festivals this year, across Pune, Bangalore, Delhi and Kolkata.
What next for Karsh Kale?
I plan to do more in terms of writing and recording with the Collective, not to mention more concerts. I am also working on an album of my own vocal songs, which is a first for me. I’ll be collaborating with Salim Merchant, Gaurav Raina from the Midival Punditz, Nitin Sawhney and Warren Mendonsa on songs for this project. I have wanted to do a vocal record for a long time, but now I feel my voice is ready. There are a few film projects on the cards as well, that are more interesting and left field.
Why the name Nucleya? How does it describe you?
Nucleya was my e-mail password when I was in school. I was looking for a name, and this was what occurred to me.
Tell us a little bit about your own musical journey.
My parents are avid music listeners. We had music in the house all the time. My father likes Indian film music from the 50s and 60s, my mum is very fond of Ghazals, and brother prefers electronic music, so I was exposed to many different genres at once. When I was in school, my father bought me my first ever computer, and on that I started making electronic music. With a few like-minded friends, I formed my first band Bandish Projekt. Being part of a band, I was making one particular style of music for about 10 years. I wanted to explore and experiment. About five years ago, I started Nucleya, and with this moniker I started exploring and came across dubstep and instantly fell in love with it. I have major dubstep influences in my music and I chose this genre because it has strong bass throughout, and simple half time drums.
What is your opinion about the future of EDM in India? When you started it was at a nascent stage, how has it changed according to you?
The electronic music scene has changed drastically. Back in the day, there were no venues for electronic music and now we have festivals. But it’s not just that – all the best electronic musicians from around the world headline our festivals, play at clubs in India and support our artists too, so that’s awesome!
What were your thoughts behind developing your new album Koocha Monster?
My new EP, Koocha Monster, celebrates Indian street music in a slightly more bass heavy format. In Hindi, streets are called gali koocha, so the word koocha comes from there, and the word ‘monster’ comes from the sound of the bass. As far as the sound of the EP is concerned, the EP is a hybrid of many genres. I wanted to explore Indian street music and various sub genres of bass heavy music like Moombahton, trap, dubstep and reggae. I love sampling dialogues, news, so that’s there as well.
What can we expect from your set at NH7 Weekender in Delhi?
I plan to play a very special visual set this time, where the visuals are all mashed up and resynced to the beat live, which will be very interesting. I also plan to play some unreleased music.
You have performed at several international and national festivals. What are the main differences you see amongst the audiences there and back home?
Each venue is a different experience regardless of whether it’s in India or international. The response I get in Pune is so different as compared to the response I get in, say, Delhi. The same thing is applicable to all international gigs I have played so far. In some places the energy is very high, and in some places not so much. I have played some gigs where people preferred to just stand and listen to what I’m playing rather than dancing, which is amazing too.