Meet DJ-artiste Fuzzy Logic who performed in the city recently

Music hipster alert. You know the type. Languidly articulate. Shudders at anything ‘mainstream’. Has a Soundcloud profile. Uses words such as like ‘Tempo Tantric’ with a straight face. I might as well admit I’m in trouble. Not just because I’ve been breezily sweeping tribal, tech and funk under the all-forgiving ‘Underground Sound’ umbrella in a desperate attempt to get a handle on ‘cool’.

Google, for once, is no help. Typing in ‘Fuzzy Logic’ throws up earnestly detailed descriptions of rice cookers and washing machines. Clearly, there’s just one way to handle this interview with upcoming DJ / artiste ‘Fuzzy Logic’ before he performs at Blend. By coming clean.

I’m sorry. I don’t know the difference between Deep House and Techno. So maybe we had better start by talking about your ‘journey’.

I come from a family that never turned the radio off. So I always dabbled in music. My dad used to take Classical Hindustani lessons. As he learnt, I would fiddle with the harmonium. My sound as ‘Fuzzy Logic’ began evolving only in 2010. But before that I played the drums with different local bands, including Galeej Gurus, in Bangalore. In the beginning it was all college festivals. This was the mid-1990s when there wasn’t much of an Indi-music scene in the city.

So I’m assuming you had a day job. What did you do?

Hmm. How much time have you got? (Laughs) Let’s see. I’ve done PR. Then advertising. Market research. I worked in radio for a while. Advertising again…

The problem is I’m just not a morning person. I can’t work at an office. Especially in those offices with ID cards, where you have to punch in and out. Ugh. So it was music only after office hours. Everyone did that: We had a very alternative approach to sound, and worked on pushing boundaries.

Now that the contemporary electronic music scene in India is so alive, has an intrinsically Indian sound emerged? And do you see it eventually influencing the genre the way the Germans did?

Even if India’s not yet making an impact on the world stage, I’m very confident that it’s just a question of time. Right now, the U. K. creates trends. Of course, the Germans are pioneers because they first introduced raw sound waves from a synthesiser in the late 1980s. The problem is, the West expects sounds from India to be Indian. So an artiste such as Nitin Sawhney is successful. But for someone like me, who does not have a uniquely Indian sound, it’s hard to be recognised abroad.

It’s an intriguing conundrum for artistes of your generation who’ve grown up listening to Guns N’ Roses, but expected to furnish the obligatory Indian exotica for global audiences. How do you deal with it?

I think it makes it difficult to be an ‘Indian artiste’. Because you’re branded — and no one likes that. I play music that I relate to. I’ve never been a genre-specific guy. I still love rock. I grew up listening to Michael Jackson and Madonna. By early 2000, we were listening to lots of electronic music: Chemical Brothers, Prodigy, Primal Scream… It wasn’t easily available, we had to download it. Or ask a friend’s father who travelled the world to bring back albums for us.

Wait! I know those names. So they must have been mainstream.

Yes. Chemical Brothers are now considered the pioneers of electronic music. They brought it into the commercial space.

The truth is, in India we are five or six years behind the rest of the world. When Disclosure releases an album, even today we get it after the rest of the world. Fortunately, the audience for electronic music has really grown in this country. In the last five to 10 years, the rate at which people have been opening their minds and ears has dramatically increased. Now people want to be the first to discover a new band, artiste or DJ. To find a new sound…

How would you define your sound?

I began with down tempo in the zone of Massive Attack…

I mean, in English.

Lots of vocals. (Grins) But I change my sounds. I get influenced very easily. I have to do something new all the time. It was dub step for a while. Now I’m going back to my House roots. Also remember, when I play I’m a performer, not a DJ.

There’s a difference?

A DJ is ideally a good selector. He / she can create a beautiful ambience and vibe. Master the art of mixing and blending. Make sure people have a good time. I do a more hybrid sort of set.

I use live performance, for example. Sometimes I use my voice: I sing, I loop my voice and use that as a texture. I also use a lot of sample sounds: A baba in a mandir. An Enfield. People chatting…

You do realise what happens when people Google you, right?

Lots of washing machines. I know. (Sighs) It’s kind of lame. My name’s Arfaaz, but all my friends call me fuzz. And the music that I make is an extension of my logic. It’s silly, but an accessible title. Also, it seems to suit me given the the way I look.

(Fuzzy Logic currently performs live electronic sets as well as plays drums with his alt rock band Slow Down Clown. He lives and works in Mumbai as a music producer composing music for film and television. Money Talks, his 3three-track, independent debut EP release has caught the attention of trend-watchers, who see him as up-and-coming talent. Watch the official music video on YouTube, or listen to the tracks on SoundCloud)