Madboy/Mink, India’s leading Electro Cabaret – Disco Funk duo compromising of Imaad Shah and Saba Azad lit up the Budweiser MADE stage last week in Mumbai with their high octane live performance. Their repertoire is endless as they have been making music and collaborating with different musicians over the last few years
We had the opportunity to speak with the versatile Imaad Shah about their latest album, their success , his upcoming movie M-Cream and much more.
Do read below:
1. Hey Imaad, first of all you we would like to let you know that we just can’t stop digging ourselves in your latest album ‘Union Farm’. We think it’s a standout album in terms of all your work till date. Would you please tell us something more about it?
Imaad: It’s actually an EP with just four songs. It was a part of the music we made back then maybe about an year ago, may be less than a year I guess. So it is more or less a reflection of the music we were making at that point of time and we have progressed a lot since then.We have lots of new stuff which has come up since then and which do form a part of our live acts.. Definitely ‘Sharabi’ is that kind of sound we are inculcating and trying to play a lot more which is kinda throwback to the Indian disco, Indian film music, and pop music had a strong influence on it, stuff like Nazia Hassan and lot of things made in around the 80’s and even the late 70’s.
It surely was inspired by these things, but we wanted to take it further with the use of the samples we produced, so there is a healthy influence of modern day electronica all over it.
2. Madboy/Mink has this distinct sound of its own which can be described as a crazy mashup between the 70’s funk and the 20’s swing and style. You guys brew your music the harder way and are one of those off-beats musical acts present in the country. So how did this all come together?
Imaad: Saba and we were working on something else, during this one play that we were part of, we started to know and spend time together.I heard here voice one day though I knew she was a singer, she was singing in other bands.I also heard her on stage, and I knew she was an accomplished singer.It was one night at a late night house party where her voice sounded fantastic, then it struck me that “I want to make music with this girl” and I was already solo producing music at that time, my single act came that time around.
It wasn’t all released, but I was working on a lot of stuff. So I asked Saba for her voice, and we made one song, then one thing let to another, and before we knew we had a set of songs, then we had a gig, and it all happened very organically. Then once the gigs started coming it was pretty non-stop, we have been touring since almost 🙂
3. Madboy/Mink is known for it’s crazy high-octane live sets where there is a continuous flow of energy and good vibes all around. We just loved your live set at Sula Fest 2016 as you guys just stirred up the entire crowd with your music. So what thought process goes behind your live performances? How influenced is your track selection with the venue, crowd and other external factors?
Imaad: We put a lot of efforts in our stage presence and populate as much performance angle as we can. We don’t see ourselves as a traditional rock band or just DJ’s who work with a USB in their laptops, it’s been neither of those two things.
We are not DJ’s, but our Madboy/ Mink sets are 100% original. We sometimes play with a drummer, so we have two variations – Madboy/Mink the bigger band and the other with the duo set.
We have enjoyed doing both sets as much I believe, and we could say that our track selection, etc. goes are very closely connected to each other, and we like to give the audience one completely rounded audio-video experience. Sometimes we feel the electronic acts are little less aspiring cause they don’t have much on stage other then large LED’s and big productions. Although we love LED’s and massive stage productions, the human element is more important for us as we love to connect with the audience on a 1 to 1 basis.
We like to give them a performance which they like…. fired by a combination of things, music, theater, cinema! We both come from a theater background so being on stage is like a second lifeline for us, so we like to incorporate as much as vital elements we can. And not to forget, we are musicians first of all that too electronic musicians but we never forget that we both are organic players alongside it. We are the combination of these two things hence we ensure that large chunks of our performances do include live music, live guitars, live synthesizers, live singing or the live drums. Ultimately, in the end of the day, you can say we love to make LIVE electronic music 😉
4. Madboy/Mink is a group of 2 talented individuals – Imaad Shah and Saba Azad who both dabble in a lot of other domains like acting, theater, performance arts and much more.
Do you think your experiences with these different ventures have molded you as musicians creatively?
Like for an example, has any particular acting assignment inspired any particular track or segment of your music?
Imaad: Yes absolutely! Our influences even musically come from various places, sometimes you watch a movie, and that affects you, and you make a song in response to that.
Sometimes we hear a sound from a different era and we try to infuse it. At the end of the day, it all comes to jamming, syncing everything together. Definitely while subconsciously going through various places we do it as musicians and take out a guitar, take out the synthesizers and play with it, flicker around with the arrangements and produce as the musicians do it.
But yes there is a bond between all the art forms we work with, it’s not like we are exclusive from each other, we are actually a part of the same family.
Cinema and music for an instance although are separate, we see it as different art forms which ultimately form a subset of a larger family of performing arts.
5. Both of you belong to families who have wholeheartedly supported your journey and encouraged you guys throughout this path.
So what do you think how big a role the family plays in an individual’s evolution as an artist?
Imaad: It surely plays a very significant role, the support part of them is very very essential!
I don’t think if we were in families who were always guiding us and stopping us from doing something, telling us to do things, wanting us to do things their way, what they think is correct then probably we would not have been anything today!
They made a lot of compromises , we made a few and I would say compromises are good, but if they are too extreme they can hold back your creativity.
So for that one thing, I have endless respect for my family and Saba’s family as well because our families are the way for our hard ways.They have made it with their skills, even in their times, the generation was very tough to do your own thing confidently.They had to be extra strong; their conviction, their faith has invariably supported us big time.
People around us have been very supportive, our friends our families, our audiences our created a strong support system. Not many know, that we have actually made it BIG the hard way! No one does set up things for you, nor do we have funding agencies. We believe anyone who has made it its cause of his or her skill, own practice and has the gumption to back themselves surely make it BIG one day! We also are grateful for all those who have supported over the years and I do thank them for standing behind us in our initial phase as musicians.
6. Speaking about movies, we are all excited with the new trailer of M-Cream. It looks a completely different film, how was your experience filming it?
Imaad: Haha, it was surely one unique experience for me as well. We all were in Himachal Pradesh for a couple of months and honestly speaking it’s such a beautiful state.
The team is basically from different parts of the world, we have people from India, US,UK and other parts of the world coming together for a novel project. The film is shot beautifully by the ace American cameraman Agenya Singh. It surely is one cinematic delight 🙂
Very creative people have come together in making this film, young passionate people coming together. It was like we had a bunch of like-minded youngsters working towards the film and I am proud of the way the movie has shaped up. I believe a lot of people are quite excited to watch it ad are eagerly awaiting the release.
As for myself, I am very curious to see the Indian audience reaction to the film, cause we got an of positive responses from festivals around the world.The film is made for the Indian audience and I hope they will get the joke, stuff like that. I am pretty much keen to know the reactions of the Indian junta when the movie comes out!
#FastFive with FRR:
1. Your most memorable performance till date?
– NH7 Weekender the first year was truly special to us.
2. Any artist from the Indian movie industry you look forward to work with or someone who is a sucker for electronic music?
– Anand Gandhi, he is one talented director.
3. What’s the name of your hair stylist?
– Ha Ha Ha, I don’t really have one 😀
4. If you weren’t Madboy Mink, what another moniker would you guys have preferred?
– I would say a single name band, probably SKINS!
5. Your dream music festival?
– Primavera Sound Festival, Barcelona
Do follow this eclectic duo of homegrown electronic dance musicians MADBOY/MINK across their social media channels below: