Sound studio

Synths that sound human: Monophonik’s raucous rave music channels the uncertainty of life – Music

Tell us about how you create a song or even a mix. Do you know how you want something to sound?

There are times when I have a bigger picture of what I want to do, there is a defined process in my mind and I know what to do. If I need a certain type of drums or a certain amount of bass or whatever it’s pretty easy for me because I know how to execute the plan. But it’s when I have a blank slate and need to brainstorm some new ideas on how I want something to sound that I let the sound inspire me, and I can play different sounds and build above, I try to make each sound complement each other in a way that suits them, and sound like it’s meant to fit that way. I like to channel the feeling that a sound evokes in me, I do things to exaggerate that feeling a bit. I’m not much structure, nor do I try to polish the sounds; I use a lot of original synths that create complex nuances in the sound that I like to keep organic. I like to do something human, I don’t want things to sound rigid and robotic. Whether it’s playing keys on it or sampling drums that have shuffle or swing, I like something that has character.

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What does being human mean to you?

That means not being perfect and not being on time, and something that can get a little off the mark at times. [In music] it might mean being a bit off the network, when making music and using DAWs that’s it [processed] in a grid through a computer, but when you do it yourself you realize that there are all these flaws. We’re not really as perfect as computers, I mean maybe some people are, but yeah, I still try to keep it real and fluid.

Do you also put elements of your own personality and your own human experience into your songs and your mixes?

Yeah, I think it really shines in my tracks and my mixes, it naturally ripples through the music. It comes out subconsciously while I’m making music – many aspects of my early days and life in India, being a teenager and experiencing music, have a role to play in my creative production.

How does India play in your production?

I think India is very colorful, vibrant and culturally vibrant, and I feel like that translates into my music. My music is not minimal, it is actually very colorful. Much of the harmonic content that I add to my music is a result of this.

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Many of your songs transcend genres and have various influences, is there a way for you to describe your own music?

I would say it’s fluid electronic music, based on a synthesizer. Honestly, I can’t think of one way to describe it! Some of them are very awkward and others have some electronic influence. And I think I have a lot of British influences because of the labels I’ve listened to over the years. I like to keep the British and Indian influences and combine them both!

You also lived a year in Leeds, which has an incredible underground scene! How was it there for you? In what ways has Leeds influenced your musical tastes and your production?

Leeds was great! There’s always something going on. I would say my favorite place [when I was there] has been Mint warehouse, I also like Wire, Old red bus station and I enjoyed going to SubDub nights too. It was interesting to be there and I met a lot of nice people, it was very welcoming, tolerant and warm. Everyone was so supportive, everyone was eager to help. I met so many local producers there and got involved, it was great.

Even before I lived in Leeds, I listened to a lot of jungle, breaks and bass music. I think the Magnetic Fields Festival has played a much bigger role in my musical journey. I would say a lot of Indian producers feel the same, it was a great experience for a lot of us and we got to see so many amazing DJs firsthand. It was our first exposure to this sound and these types of music, and many of us didn’t really understand what this music meant in the physical setting. [until we went to the festival].

I think since I saw the Ben UFO and Four Tet set, I realized that I really like the jungle and other music with crazy drums. Then I started to listen to more British sounds like breaks and garage. Right now, Coco Bryce and Tim Reaper are some of my favorite producers.

Would you say that the jungle, breaks and other heavy drumming genres are gaining momentum in India then?

Yeah, a lot of promoters and bookers were booking more jungle, drum’n’bass, and drum-heavy DJs. There are also a lot more producers producing a lot of footwork and similar genres. They had a boiler room in New Delhi where Dillinja played – it is interesting to see these different subcultures and subgenres appear in India.

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How did you get involved with Sable Radio and NARR Radio?

I met the guys from Sable Radio when I was living in Leeds. I was at the Outlaws Yacht Club and they invited me to do a mix for them, and I met a lot of other DJs. [My show NAACH at NARR] it’s going really well. I’ve always wanted my own show and it’s cool because they give me a lot of freedom with what I want to do. I can’t scream the NARR team enough. It’s a great way for me to showcase a lot of Indian DJs and producers that I admire, it gives me the opportunity to bring in guests and show off what they do. I also met a friend of mine, Freddie in Leeds, who produces music like sourpuss, and he introduced me to people at Overdub, and they were really nice. I was then going on an outing with them.

What do you think of the release of the EP ‘Cherry-Picked’ on Reel Long Overdub?

Well my idea with that was to mix Leeds and Goa and have a lot of the melodic, sour and dark side of Goa, but also to incorporate the jungle and the breaks and bass that I was listening to at the time. I wanted to merge the two influences in the tunes of this EP. I tried to consciously translate this into the writing, and it was a really fun process. I really enjoy working with Andrew [aka Yvos] and the crew. It just happens to be my first vinyl release. Just the idea that I can hold my music, that’s really cool.

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How does working with Reel Long Overdub differ from self-publishing or with other labels?

I worked with a label in New Delhi called Qilla Records, and it was my first release with a label. I was self-liberating before that. But last year was good for me, I went out with Qilla. It’s an EP called ‘Resume Form’. I think it’s much more useful to work with labels, a lot of them have the infrastructure to help your music reach more ears – whereas when it’s done independently it’s more difficult. to have that type of awareness.

Do you have a favorite track, why is it your favorite?

My favorite track is ‘To master’, from my previous EP ‘CV Form’ and I wrote it some time ago, but it kind of reflects that time in my life and reminds me that I have to strip down and calm down sometimes. I was really surgical with the process, and sometime later I lost my patience. But this track reminds me to relax and take root. It was also a very well received track from the EP – I just like listening to it too.

What can we expect from you in 2022?

Lots more outings for sure. One thing I can talk about is another EP with Qilla Records. But right now I’m really excited to release ‘Cherry-picked’. I’m also very excited to have my vinyl records delivered to New Delhi and hold them and put them on a turntable and spin them. I also do collaborations with Daytimers and Foreign Currency and I write music [with someone exciting], and I am delighted! This year I want to focus on writing more music and producing as much music as possible.

Finally, tell us about your Impact mix.

I really wanted to shed some light on some under-represented producers. Living in India and being part of this ever growing community of musicians and electronic producers, I know it can be quite a challenge to have your music heard on a more global level – and when I was asked to do a Mixmag Impact mix, I wanted to take this opportunity to represent and highlight some of the incredible talents and works that exist in this part of the world. The idea of ​​this mix was therefore to include sounds from the Indian subcontinent, featuring emerging artists, producers and record labels from New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and beyond.

Monophonik & Diastema EP ‘Cherry-picked’ will be out January 14 via Reel Long Overdub, get it here

Aneesa Ahmed is Mixmag’s digital intern, follow her on Twitter