India’s number 1 Techno DJ is back in Mumbai and would be a part of the spectacular lineup playing at the Todi Mill Social for the Budweiser MADE Stage.
The Budweiser MADE Stage, which is known to celebrate artists who have truly #BrewedTheHardWay will bring together a never seen before collaboration between Dualist Inquiry, Madboy Mink and Kohra that is sure to enthrall the audience.
Prior to his performance, we have the versatile Madhav Shorey a.k.a Kohra in an exclusive conversation with the Front Row Ravers.
1. Hi Madhav, Thanks for taking some time out for the Front Row Ravers. A lot has changed since we met last year, Kohra is one of the most prominent DJ’s in the Indian electronic music industry. You were just awarded recently as India’s Best Techno DJ of the year. Honestly speaking to us, it was not a big surprise but then were you expecting to win this so convincingly?
Kohra: Hi guys, hope you’ve been well! No worries, it’s always nice to take some time out to reflect and share what’s been going on. I mean, I’ve been nominated for the awards for a few years before I won so it wasn’t quite a surprise though I wasn’t convinced that I’d win!
2. The journey of a DJ or a music producer isn’t easy in India, and a lot of them say that it’s all Brewed the Hard way! So today, can you tell us how it all began? How did a young Delhi guy Madhav Shorey become Indian dance music hottest property “Kohra.”
Kohra: It all began when I was around 16 years old and started dabbling with music. I started out as a drummer for a few rock bands and then slowly gravitated towards his idea of performing and producing electronic music, and I haven’t looked back ever since. I’ve spent the last decade or so refining my sound and further trying to find new ideas and sounds in electronic dance music that help me push the boundaries and challenge the conventional idea of dance music in some way. I’ve been very blessed over the last few years to be able to do this full time and devote my time to music in various ways.
3. Not many that you categorize your music quite distinctly as “Intelligent Dance Music”? What exactly does IDM stand for? What differentiates it from the other patterns of music?
Kohra: I’ve played everything from Ambient, Drum-n-Bass, Breakbeat, Deep House, Progressive Trance and a lot of Techno over the last 8 years but the only one thing in my head that can put all these in one category is the fact that it’s forward-thinking, smart, organic and futuristic dance music. That’s why the term IDM. I’m kind of tired now of genre classifications and want just to make people dance and take them somewhere, where they can feel something and connect to the music at a deeper level and experience something fresh and emotive. You can call it IDM or whatever you like since my current style borders between melodic techno, deep house and maybe even a bit of atmospheric progressive trance – it’s hard to give it a word and categorize. It’s different because I see a lot of Dj’s and Artists producing and playing a single style of music, and that’s great. I just can’t get myself to do that just yet; I can see all my influences slowly coming together, and I think next year should be the year I’ll be able to present a sound that’s going to be uniquely mine.
4. In India, there has never been a mainstream culture of record labels to bankroll electronic dance music. Most of the DJ’s end up starting their record labels with not much success, but then numbers do stand out with your record label ‘Qilla Records’. How do you end up managing your solo career and Qilla Records so effectively?
Kohra: The label for me has been set up for what I consider – “the right reasons” It’s an extension of me as a solo artist and helps me present the vast canvas of sounds I believe in along with some of my old and new friends, along with like-minded artists from India and across the globe. I’m also very keen on focusing on a few artists from India, who I think are very underrated and have tremendous potential. You’ll see them release music exclusively with us in the coming months. I also take a personal interest in the artwork of the label since I have a background in design. All our designs are made by Aniruddh Mehta, who’s hugely talented. It’s quite a thankless job running a label honestly and does take a lot of my time, but I envision something larger through the label, so it’s not something I complain about too much.
5. We have seen the Indian crowds opening up to different genres of music slowly in recent times. Especially coming from Delhi, do you think underground music has carved a separate space of its own within the Indian clubbing circuit where it ends up being a profitable proposition for the clubs and promoters alike?
Kohra: I think the Indian underground music scene is currently thriving, and it’s mostly thanks to the PEOPLE! The people are now well informed, open-minded, listen to good music as part of their lifestyle and know what they like and more importantly what they don’t like. This helps dissect the crowd between various clubs / venues / festivals and India now has something for everyone, which is great. We finally have options of all kinds on a single weekend, which I think is amazing!
6. You were a part of the Drumcode stage last year for the Awakenings showcase at VH1 Supersonic 2015 along with some Techno stalwarts like Adam Beyer, Ida Enberg and much more. How was the entire experience like?
Kohra: The whole experience was pretty amazing and it was quite an honor to share the stage with such legendary acts. The Awakenings stage, in particular, didn’t feel like it was in India, the setting, production, sound and overall vibe was as good as any festival anywhere else in the world. What was more interesting to see was that there were points where there were more people on the Awakenings stage interacting and involved with the music than even some of the other more commercial stages, this was personally so good to see.
#FastFive with FRR:
1. You’re preferred drinking buddy from the Indian dance music industry?
– Jayant Luthra, who’s always down for a beer, anytime!
2. Any local upcoming underground talent which we should watch out for?
– I think regarding upcoming Indian artists one should look ours for Midnight Traffic from Hyderabad and Varun Fernandes from Goa. Internationally, I’ve been digging artists like Three Machines, Hraach, Circle Of Life and Solemn Eye, who are relatively new.
3. Your biggest inspiration outside the world of music?
– Travel, good food, love and real life experiences.
4. Most memorable gig of your life?
– One of the most memorable gigs of my life wasn’t one where I was playing actually. It was at the Audio Obscura Ellum Audio showcase at ADE last year in Amsterdam with a few friends and just listening to artists like Maceo Plex and Stephan Bodzin changed the way I perceived peak time dance music. It was a very special night for me!
5. Who amongst you and Nucleya look cooler in your video games avatars for Avinash Kumar’s Antariksha Sanchar?
– Well, I only got an opportunity to play the game at the Quicksand Studio thanks to Avinash a week or so ago, but I haven’t yet seen the avatars. Quite curious to know how they look now that you’ve mentioned it, haha!