Music

Let the party begin!

On a high: Nucleya in performance

On a high: Nucleya in performance  

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As we put on our dancing shoes, Nucleya tells us how he has created a vocabulary of bass music that is unique to India

Udyan Sagar, widely known as Nucleya, is considered to have brought a mini-revolution in the Indian electronic music scene. Known for his unique intermixing of genres while retaining an independent Indian identity, Nucleya is said to have put D back in EDM in the country. He has curated a fusion, now popular as “desi bass” among the masses.

The bass producer is back with a full-length album project “Tota Myna” and has teamed up with Sunburn Festival to take it to different cities in India. Nucleya was in Delhi recently for The Riders Festival.

Excerpts from a conversation:

Tell us about your distinct style of music

I think what’s unique is the fact that my kind of music is a really good combination of so many different Indian elements Also, I end up experimenting so much with dialogues and intros. I like folk music quite a lot. You would hear a lot of folk rhythms in my music. But everything is in the middle of electronic music. I think it’s a combination of all of these things which kind of makes it unique.

Beside the choice of indigenous titles for your albums, how far do you think you’ve been successful in retaining a distinct cultural identity?

I think I’ve been successful in the efforts I’ve made, though it was not intentional. It’s a good thing that people end up liking my music but if you see, I don’t really have a formula in place. If you listen to my music, my music has really long intros. Sometimes, the intros aren’t even music; they’re people delivering some dialogues or a sort of sound.

They are more folk-inspired and if you compare that with mainstream music like western music or the sort of music which is played on the radio station, there the songs are very precise. They’re three or three-and-a-half minute long, you hear the chorus for the first thirty seconds.... My songs are just one-one-and-a-half minute long. There’s no formula in place; There’s no set format behind it. I’m happy it’s working out but I don’t know how it’s working out. The cultural element and flavour is definitely in place but I’m not consciously doing it.

How difficult was it to set up the Bandish Projekt in 1998?

It wasn’t difficult to make music; it was difficult to sell music because there was no infrastructure. The industry wasn’t like how it is today. There were no clubs and spaces for artists to perform. The record labels weren’t happy to support us because the music was so new and so different from the mainstream music.

The awareness was not as much as it is today. That way it was very difficult, otherwise to be able to make music was very easy. In fact, it was easier for me then because I was very young and staying with my mom. I didn’t have to pay the rent, didn’t have to care about anything. I just had to get up and make music.

You are often compared to international stars like DJ Snake and Skrillex who are also performing at the Sunburn Festival...

I think people will do comparison because they love doing that. When you go to some of the sites online, it’s not about comparison – you become a commodity. But my life is very different from all those guys. They probably do a lot more shows in a year. I I don’t do as many shows now. Unlike me, a lot of them are not married. My life and my music revolve around my family.

My lifestyle is very different from them. In terms of popularity, I am very popular in India and probably that’s why I’m being compared with those guys but musically, in terms of lifestyle and in terms of ambition, we’re very different. I think they’re extremely ambitious; I am just making music honestly. I am making music for myself, and it’s a very selfish reason. If I was in a state of mind where I wanted to be biggest in the world, I would have released albums way more frequently, would have travelled more, would do a lot many shows but I don’t do that because my intention of making music is to satisfy myself first.

Can you elaborate on the choice of the title Tota Myna for your latest album?

When I was compiling the album, it turned out that a lot of songs were very emotional and it instantly took me back to my dating days when Smriti (Choudury) and I were dating and my mother used to call me and Smriti – Tota Myna because we used to be with each other and spend so much time together and it’s kind of similar to that space in terms of music. That’s why Smriti suggested that you should call this album Tota Myna.

From judging “The Remix” to composing “Pentra” for Mukkabaaz , you moved towards a more mainstream space in 2018. Will it continue?

I hope so. I think you will see me collaborating more. The thing is that I don’t plan these things. I am always excited about meeting like-minded people. Sometimes, I meet like-minded people in different industries, and then I end up working for the ones like Anurag Kashyap and Amazon Prime. It’s a thing where I’ve to be comfortable in what I’m getting into and if such projects come in my way, I’ll happily do them.

What kind of songs and music would you suggest to play for the New Year, given the present trend?

It’s interesting. For instance, I was talking to my mother on phone the other day and I asked what your plans are for the New Year’s and she said she is going to cook really nice food and listen to my music.

I asked her what you would prefer to listen to on New Year’s and she said the sort of songs which calm her mind. The point is that everyone’s got their own taste in music. The idea is that you should enjoy yourself.

Let the party begin!

‘I don’t want to be called ‘the guy’’

I happened to be a forerunner but I don’t think I’ve done anything incredible as such. I think a lot of artists started making independent music way before me. At the moment, I am just one of those who have pushed it a little further. There’s been Pentagram, Salim- Sulaiman who did independent music long back. There are artists people are not even aware about but their albums shaped my creative thinking. All of these people are extremely responsible for being there and paving a path for us. Five or ten years from now, somebody will come and change the scene altogether. It will happen because people like us actually make it happen for them. I do understand I’m in the folk run at the moment and I’m trying to push it as much as I can but I don’t want to be called ‘the guy’.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 10:01:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/let-the-party-begin/article25879183.ece

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