Posts Tagged ‘Ash Roy’

Regardless of India’s sometimes archaic, some might even say burgeoning night life scene.. my search for a perfect party ended, when I got to experience the legendary Bedrock Records label boss John Digweed, a connoisseur of Progressive/ Tech-House at a local hot spot not so long ago. In a sea of events catering to raking in the big bucks, these nights brought out a handful number of fans old and new who love the underground. The two nights I speak of, remain unforgettable. The turn out was not as expected, but we who were there had an aural carnival. The lights down low, minimal fuss and a cavernous smoky vibe along-side the very nature of the hypnotic quality in the music was designed to dance uninhibitedly. The raving attitude of old, where one finds each other while floating around the room, if they want to on full display.

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In contrast, with due respect to clubs or festival parties featuring for example the popular figures like Armin Van Buuren, Tiesto, Steve Aoki to the Hardwell and Avicii are usually a spectacle of corporate sponsorship at hand with the bottle popping, cake throwing, confetti flying, picture taking decadence.

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The divide is stark and felt immediately between the two segments, as catching up with the west we tend to book one of the Top Ten names, pay them huge amounts of money, which immediately indicates that they are ‘it’. As the cash got discovered in commercial House music world-wide, in turn India seemingly followed trends from international waters causing promoters/sponsors to focus on commercial EDM, as clearly the volume is in the youth. The entire phenomena is concentrated with our young as the core receiver and consumer who find popular music to be cool or trendy. Mainstream dance music mostly depends on vocals rendered by fashionably dressed recording artists collaborating with names such as David Guetta, Deadmau5, Kaskade to drive their packaging. Back in the days, the other experimental EDM came from Frankie Knuckles, Danny Tenaglia, Paul Oakenfold to Sven Vath in the later part of the 80’s/90s and early 2000. Early sign post parties held at Twilo, Tunnel, the Palladium and of warehouse clubbing in Europe are raving yarn. In no way, does the latter scene have lesser numbers abroad, till date.

Many of our local acts such as Anish Sood, Ajit Pai, Lost Stories, Clement DSouza, Priyanjana are sale able artists, who pack places with the younger lot that like the sing along vibe in India. Chatting with Priyanjana brings out the facts that cannot be ignored when she quips- ”Each to their own. Having said that, I am at a club residency where we feature commercial artists as well as the Underground acts. Yet, the only thing that gives it up, is when the public themselves end up enjoying only one and not the latter. It’s frustrating, but I would like to be positive and hope to see a change in that attitude in the near future”.

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Our divide could be because, the club going audience here, does not have the numbers that sample a varied taste in music which is an essential to advocate, all kinds of genres. The early closing times at our clubs also play spoil-sport to building the Underground vibe. D-Nox (Germany) world renowned Techno Dj and label owner at Sprout Music say’s of our club scene-”It’s important for a good Techno party to go the distance of hours, only then can one feel any kind of hypnosis”. As was evident in his gigs in India, where short sets didn’t do any justice to the style of underground music he plays, which requires time to weave a story or create a vibe.

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Founder at Krunk; Sohail Arora is positive though- ” I believe that in the last 2 to 3 years, we’ve seen a positive change to the rise of venues, festivals in our country supporting underground music. It’s been the busiest season so far and I feel the line getting blurry as many of our events are being head-lined by good artists. Even though we have a long way to go in terms of numbers, it’s still a great place to be in”.
EDM in India is the trendiest acronym for Pop music and then one has the respected Grammys acknowledge the impact of EDM stars such as Skrillex, David Guetta and Deadmau5 and our core youth is sold to the prominent styles of today. Several niche parties in metros such as Mumbai and Bangalore do suggest though, of the novelty in mainstream to be fading a bit and a balance created with the underground wheel.
Artists such as Sanjay Dutta, Ankytrixx, Madhav Shorey, Arjun Vagale, Praveen Achary, Jehan Johar, Anastasia & Whosane, Vipul Angirish who play forward thinking sounds reflects the broader range, are in fact performing with greater regularity.
A corporate hoodlum by day with the flip side of a crackling Techno Dj by night- Helium Project banters: ”The introduction of Commercial House music has expanded the size of people listening to EDM, but then roots where the genre originated from, is completely lost. Dance music, with it’s commercial packaging inside of EDM, is responsible for the down trend of quality music, whether by skewed programming in festivals, and club gigs. However, a handful of Djs/Promoters are hanging on to the more purist vibe. It all depends on how many of us are ready to bring in quality music which doesn’t necessarily get the cash registers ringing”.

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Ash Roy, a member from the defunct yet most successful electronic bands of India, say’s- ‘‘The reason why Jalebee Cartel became a fantastic architect of the Indian underground scene was because we brought in the concept of Live Techno alongside the vibe of a proper rave, but as the band’s success grew and bookings started to pile up, our musical vision started to suffer, as it often happens the demand for a friendlier, more identifiable sounds came to our notice. Which was never our vision nor was it the direction that we wanted to go towards”.

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On to another Dj/Producer making waves in our underground and more eclectic sphere; Madhav Shorey has this to say- ” I think the rift is something that’s always been there. Some things just belong in certain places and that’s just how it is. Underground music over the last few years has made a huge following for itself over the globe and is at a nice place where young artists who are experimenting and unique are making a name for themselves and even tricking into the mainstream. A lot of genres are blending into each other and honestly, neither one would not survive if it weren’t for the other. We would not have an option and I think it’s important to understand that”.

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However, I remain confused at the future of dance music expansion in India, even though non formulaic music is getting a boost from companies like sLick!, Audiophile India and Unmute agency, a most heartening sign at best. There remains primarily, the attitude of a mass majority, who are still not ready to open up their minds to music with out Vocals. Also for the most part much of club etiquette is missing (more on that, later)..

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Cutting edge performers such as Dubfire, D-Nox, Guy J, Richie Hawtin to name some have lured in good turn outs in 2013 and most encouraging for the circuit, that followers with mature taste in music and an older lot of fans are coming out in support more often fantastic news. Whatever void in this scene remains, is slowly but surely enterprising itself also with nightclubs such as Blue Frog, Lap, Bardo leading the way with show-casing many styles other than just the main stream. I want to be part of a day, when we can have a groovy scenario much like Richie Hawtin’s artistic fruition, where from being a typical child of the underground has gone on to make his project ”Enter”, a big business fashionable curation at Space, Ibiza. Much as I rejoice seeing the good times an Armin Van Buuren concert gets for our clubbing youth, I’d like to feel the experience of a Sven Vath driven ”Cocoon” rave instigated with equal equanimity.
The future looks bright but clouded simultaneously. Until we inculcate a broader thought pattern which rises above all to do good, invite more variety with regularity, we in every way stand a chance to languish in a race, no one is winning. Where the habit of a verbal rave is met with an actual one. I think it’s going to take more than that, to be a force to reckon with…

Before I run off to stomp another yard, as a foot note… after witnessing several top names in both the commercial and underground scenes, I’d very much like to point out to our promoters, that I’d rather pay top bucks to the local Dj/Producers of India who do such a fabulous and a far better job night after night, than hear crap coming out from the speakers played by (atleast some of them) these famous international artists of the electronic music scene. Can someone hire me as a disco police? ūüėÄ

Cheerioo munkeys, gotta get my freak on….

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The golden boy of electronic dance in India hardly needs an introduction. Having paved the way to a path that is full of intelligent musical sensibilities for many years, not for one minute has the trade mark twinkle diminished. It totally explains why he is such an incredible success story not only as part of the hugely celebrated Electronic act Jalebee Cartel; Ash holds his own even when he is appearing solo.

Dancemunkey caught up with him while on his Europe tour doing what he is known to do best…sing a song, ride the percussions and play out dj sets worth Red Rackham’s treasure…hehe just joking ūüôā (an imaginary character, while Ash is as real as it gets)…

Meet the soul behind the ultra cool music man-

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DM- Ash Roy, you are a supernova of the Electronic dance music scene in India. Tell us when and how did the Djing bug bite you?

AR- Well I was always fascinated with Turntables and the idea of playing records while I was a kid. I started off playing for parties ¬†in 1995 ¬†but on cassette players since that’s what I could get my hands on. Then later on in 1996 I got the opportunity to play at Anticlock; one of the first few nightclubs in Kolkata. The day I was hired as a resident dj at Anticlock there was no looking back. I fell in love with what I was doing. The whole process of mixing music just got to me.

DM-¬†You have an illustrious and envious catalog of residencies and gigs from as early as the 90’s, happy with your beginnings?

AR- Yes, very happy with all my residencies and gigs. It’s because of all those experiences I had as a Dj which has got me to where I am today.

DM- Any artists back in the early days, who may have influenced you with their music sensibilities?

AR- Pink Floyd, Depeche Mode & Underworld.

DM- Growing up in Kolkata your home town, a musically rich back ground?

AR-¬†Kolkata has such a strong musical background from Indian classical to Blues, Jazz, ¬†Rock & Roll. It’s because of me growing up in such a rich back ground of music I got into Djing and to producing and performing. I got formal training in Tabla from the age of 7. If it wasn’t for Tabla I wouldn’t be playing all those percussion’s in our LIVE sets. So yes growing up in Kolkata has been inspiring and has been an integral part of my life.

DM- Was veering off from Progressive House a conscious decision, as your early days smacked off those sounds to what you are doing now?

AR-¬†Quality House music was something I fell in love with the day I heard it. Yes it was a conscious effort cause there a lot of other sounds like Tech House & Techno that were being played all over the world ….specially in Europe. All Record labels were signing more Tech House and Techno tracks. So I decided to produce Tech House & Techno. This way I got the opportunity to play these genres to the Indian audience. You have to keep evolving. If you keep playing the same stuff and producing the same stuff then you get boring. You need to move on…and so I did.

DM- How did the explosive collaboration with fellow musicians from Jalebee Cartel happen?

AR-¬†It happened when I shifted to Delhi in 2003 and teamed up with Arjun Vagale and Ashvin Mani Sharma.¬† Later Madhav Shorey and G. Arjun joined the team and we just hit it off not only as fellow Dj’s/Musicians but as friends. We enjoyed each others company and every moment of producing and playing together.

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DM- Your role in the band with vocals & percussion’s, as a collective…can you think of any one element that has made Jalebee Cartel the most successful of all time?

AR-¬†I think everyone’s effort in whatever possible way has got Jalebee to where it is. It’s the people that make a nation and it was us together that made Jalebee Cartel successful.

DM- How did the singing and playing of instruments take shape, did you get formal training for it?

AR-¬†I got formal training in tabla when I was a kid and I used to sing for the school choir. When we formed Jalebee we wanted to take dance music to another level. I wanted to make it more interactive. So I sang and introduced a lot of different percussion’s in our LIVE sets.

DM- Does your productions have any one quality you like to represent?

AR- It represents me. Most of my productions have a lot of percussion sounds in it and I like to keep it groovy.

DM- Describe yourself in 5 words.

AR- Emotional, Funny, Dreamer, Ambitious, Story teller.

DM- You travel pretty much all around the globe, how do you find time to get stuck in the studio?

AR- Well I normally play on the weekends. I find time in the studio on weekdays.

DM- What is your favorite Dj setup?

AR-¬†I always loved playing records so it was 2 turntables and a mixer, but since it’s easier to carry a laptop, Soundcard & a Midi controller so I made the shift.

DM- Do you think the dance scene in India is plodding a bit, as compared to the massive party attitude prevalent in the rest of the world?

AR- There has been a huge change in India. More and more people are listening to Dance music nowadays but looking at our nightlife situation in the country just makes me sad. New rules coming in and Night Clubs shutting early plus some clubs shutting down completely. If it continues this way then it will be difficult for the scene to grow. Besides this I think we in India have a great audience and have the same energy compared to any other country abroad.

DM- Any gig that you will never forget?

AR- Fusion Festival, Germany 2010. We played on the main Techno stage called Trumbuhne. We had nearly 10 Р15 thousand people dancing to the music. It was phenomenal.

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DM- A crazy fan request?

AR- This happens a lot in India ” Can you please play some songs “

DM- Vinyls, would you play on them now?

AR-¬†I would love to play Vinyls, but playing through my laptop with a sound card and midi controller is more convenient. We don’t get vinyls in India plus most labels have gone digital.

DM- Give the latest news on any upcoming releases this year?

AR-¬†Well as of now I have a 2 track Ep called ” Hour Glass ” which is soon to be out on Kasey Taylor’s ” Vapour Recordings ” and another 4 track Ep called ” Smell.S.D soon to be out on Elektrotribe Records Berlin, plus a few remixes.

DM- Your project with another member of the band member Ashwin, ‘Crash & Boom’, how’s that going and where are you headed with that?

AR- Crash & Boom is a project Ashvin and I started just for the love of Psychedelic Trance. We have quite a few original tracks. We have been producing and performing just for fun.

DM-¬†Any collaborations with labels, we need to know of that’s big news?

AR- Releasing on Vapour Records is a good sign.

DM-¬†What’s your summer looking like, we know your headed to Europe. Anything that you are especially looking forward to in the upcoming tour?

AR- Yes a lot of gigs lined up and looking forward to playing in Fusion Festival again.

DM- If you were stuck in the woods with Ritchie Hawtin, Josh Wink and a console?

AR- Hahahah….well I’d play them a set and then tell them to come and play with me back to back ūüôā

DM- Your personal favorite club or festival?

AR- Fusion Festival, Germany.

DM-¬†How do you handle the fame & adulation that’s come your way?

AR- I try and be humble.

DM- As one part of a successful band; do you prefer to play out at live performances or Dj sets, a leaning towards one or the other?

AR- I enjoy playing alone as well with the band. 

DM- How different is it to you performing solo to when you are performing as a collective of Jalebee Cartel?

AR-¬†When we play LIVE as a collective then i do vocals, Percussion’s and then Dj, but when i play alone I Dj and throw in a few percussion’s.

DM- Lastly, any tune that you have produced you may be especially proud of?

AR-¬†Well the 2 new Ep’s to be out soon are the ones I’m looking forward to.

The dynamism of Ash Roy is on glorious display here in India and internationally. If someone were to ask me what makes Ash Roy special, I would reply- origin unknown…

As usual in my goodie bag section a special mix set by Ash Roy full of luscious candies and I can’t wait to put it on real loud!!

Download Get set, Go set- Ash Roy