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Interview: Weird Sounding Dude

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Based in Bangalore, Weird Sounding Dude has grown into one of India’s most beloved progressive house producers. As a firm favourite of the genre’s highly regarded tastemakers, Weird Sounding Dude has compiled an impressive discography with standout releases via Hernan Cattaneo’s Sudbeat Music and Nick Warren’s The Soundgarden. His sleek, refined approached to production now finds it’s way onto Anjunadeep’s latest ‘Explorations’ collection. We had a chance to catch up with the Bangalore resident for an exclusive chat just prior to the release. Enjoy!

Hi Abhijith, thanks for joining us. What is your current mood and what was the last piece of music you listened to?

Hey Mitch, thank you so much for hosting me, very happy to be doing this interview and I am grateful for this opportunity. Despite the current situation around the world I am feeling very positive and great. The last piece of music I listened to this morning was Shida by Khruangbin.

What are your plans for the coming week?

I have a very special release coming up on Anjunadeep in a couple of weeks time, so the plan currently is to focus my time and energy on that release, and I also have a couple of gigs scheduled in the pipeline, I am preparing for those as well.

Can you name five tracks that were important in your musical development and why they are so significant for you?

These tracks have been very inspiring and influential at various points of my musical journey, I absolutely love the emotions these tracks carry with them and have helped me alot in developing a good taste and musicality sense.

Navar – Phases of Grief (Guy J Remix)
Lexicon Avenue, Andrew Best, Slim Wall – Slide (Third Son Remix)
Solee – Sommerliebe (Eelke Kleijn Remix)
Cornucopia – The Day You Got Older and Stronger (Original Mix)
Praveen Achary – Space Machine (Original Mix)

You have a unique artist name; how did you end up settling on that and is there a story behind it?

When I started, apart from being a huge trance music fan I was into minimal techno as well, and I felt ‘Weird Sounding Dude’ would make up to a great stage name for playing minimal techno, but as I evolved I discovered various other styles and I found my love for deep and progressive house music. I went on to stick with the same artist name as I felt it is a cool name to stick on to.

How did growing up in India influence your music taste and direction? Or did it at all?

India is known for its rich ancient history, with diverse culture / traditions and every region has their own musical heritage which is always inspiring. I feel very fortunate to be born here and grateful for all the opportunities it has created for me.

 India’s party scene is world renowned at this point, what are some of your favourite places to play there and what makes the scene so lively and enthusiastic?

It’s amazing to see how the scene’s been booming here, I am very happy to see that happen. People here are very passionate and love what they do. Some of my favorite places / brands to play are Kitty Ko, Block 22, Phoenix, Auro, Deep Dictionary, Satellite Beach (Submerge), Musifix, Phase(Juicebox Music) and Krank (Indivibe). A big thank you to the entire MGMT of all these places / brands for giving me the platform to showcase my art.

 You reside in Bangalore I believe, which is the third largest city in India, how does the nightlife there compare to say Mumbai, Bangalore or Hyderabad? Are there differences you could point to?

Yes, that’s correct. I reside in Bangalore. All three places have their own magic and essence. The people from all these places are amazing and always supportive. I guess the only differences would be the time restrictions on venues etc.

What’s your favourite set-time to play, and why?

I love to play longer sets, one can really build a great journey this way, especially for my sound, but I do love both warm-up and closing sets equally, I love setting up a dance floor and handing over at the same time I love to push the dancefloor to its limits, it’s hard to pick a favourite here.

Who are some up and coming artists from India to look out for?

There are some amazing talents out there, it’s difficult to pick a few, some of my favorite artists at the moment are Asraar, Rudra, Future Culture, Sajith Prakash, Haen, Def (IN) and Aroma (IND).

You have a new track out this week on Anjunadeep as part of their popular ‘Explorations’ series, tell us a bit about the track and walk us through the production process on it.

Yess, I am very much excited for the release, the track is “Hyper Dream”. The production process was quite simple, I wrote the musical sketch first followed by the drums, the track just wrote itself to be honest, it was effortless, I loved the whole song writing process for this track. I hope I can repeat it soon for my future projects as well.

How did it end up getting signed to Anjunadeep? And was this a label you had in mind for it from the beginning?

Every since lockdown started a lot of DJ’s have found delight in streaming their sets live on twitch, youtube etc, once such streaming series called Deep Set was curated by Tony Mcguniess from Above & Beyond, his constant support towards my music in those sets paved way for the release, ever so grateful to Tony for being so support towards my music and for the opportunity.

You’ve previously released on Hernan Cattaneo’s Sudbeat Music and Nick Warren’s The Soundgarden, what does it mean to you to now be able to add Anjunadeep to your resume?

It feels amazing to be part of these iconic labels, it’s a dream come true for me, a big thank you to their entire team for giving me the platform to release my music.
I am looking forward to contributing more music on these labels in the near future.

Where does your inspiration come from and was anything that inspired ‘Hyper Dream’?

The real inspiration for ‘Hyper Dream’ came from Tony’s constant support towards my music during his live streams. I wanted to share a special track with him for one of his special live streams that he was putting together earlier this year and that’s how ‘Hyper Dream’ was born.

What does your set-up look like? Do you favor physical gear over digital? And what studio tools featured heavily in the writing of ‘Hyper Dream’?

I do not own any physical gear, so it’s always been digital gear for me. I have a very basic set-up at home. I use Ableton Live 11 as my DAW for production. For recording my MIDI information into the DAW I use Nektar GX 49, I do some MIDI editing post the recording by simply using the mouse. As far as monitoring goes I use the HS5 series from Yamaha. For ‘Hyper Dream’ the main sources of sounds came from Ableton’s Operator / Analog  and Wavetable, along with processing tools from Fab Filter and Soundtoys does the trick always. I have used a couple of Max for Live devices like LFO tool, Drum Synth and Convolution Reverb.

How much friend feedback is done before you’re ready to say a track is finished? And who is someone you share your new music with first for feedback?

While finalizing a track I see if they express the emotions and vibe I was going for and if everything goes well, I move on to another project. I make the final call by myself pretty much all the time. My wife is always there with me when I am working on music, so I guess she’s the first person who listens to it, and her feedback is very helpful.

Generally speaking, do you find it more difficult to come up with original tracks than remixing a track from another artist?

I don’t view music making as a task, for me it’s always about finding the right flow and rhythm, it does not matter if it’s an original or a remix, whatever it might be I want the songwriting process to be a natural process, where the track just writes by itself. Yes, sometimes the odds are against you, I don’t force the process on such days, I just take a break, get inspired and come back the next day.

What has the last year and a half been like for you? Have you focused more time on making music? And has the pandemic affected your creative spirit in any way?

I have learnt to look at every situation in a positive way, I took the opportunity when everything was shut to improve and spend more time on my production skills. It has in no way hindered my creative spirit, the pandemic has been an eye opener for me.

What is the current state of the pandemic in India?

The cases here seem to be lowering but life has to go on, we eventually learn to adapt to situations, this is the new normal.

In your opinion, what’s the biggest risk you’ve taken and what made you do it?

I can’t think of any such incidents.

What’s a book you’ve read or film you watched that has left an impact on you, and why?

The movie – The Pursuit of Happiness, hits a whole new level for me, nothing’s impossible.

Current five favourite tracks?

Imran Khan – Horizonz (Simos Tagias Remix)
Guy J – Small Alarms (Original Mix)
Nico Szabo – Chronic (Original Mix)
Magitman – Knock About (Jamie Stevens Remix)
Sebastian Sellares – Garden Of Eden (Original Mix)

What is your favourite food?

South Indian dishes are amazing.

Iphone or Android?

Android.

Apart from music, what makes you happiest?

Spending time with my family, friends, long drives and F1.

What does the remainder of 2021 hold for you? Anything you can share with us?

I am planning on ending the year strong with a few gigs across the country, a couple originals which are scheduled for ending part of 2021, I can’t share the information of those yet, and I also have a couple of remixes coming on Sound Avenue and onedotsixtwo.

‘Hyper Dream’ is available now via Anjunadeep: https://bit.ly/3m78fvH

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