Dualist Inquiry: ‘People Told Me My Sound Isn’t Indian Enough’
The Delhi-based electronic producer discusses the challenges he faced at the beginning of his career, representing the indie music community and heading to Tomorrowland
Following an impressive performance at the Budweiser MADE Stage in Mumbai in July, Delhi-based electronica producer Sahej Bakshi aka Dualist Inquiry is stoked about step 2 of the series: heading to Belgium to witness Tomorrowland, one of the world’s biggest EDM festivals. “I think it’s pretty awesome and remarkable that we’re getting these opportunities as indie musicians,” says the young producer about being able to attend the fest. Delhi based DJ Madhav Shorey aka Kohra and Mumbai electronic duo Madboy/Mink will be joining him courtesy Budweiser.
Although brimming with talented musicians, India still struggles with the task of providing them a platform they deserve. “We don’t have the infrastructure of labels, distribution and other ways to get our music out there,” says Bakshi about the difficulty of being able to gain a foothold in the international music scene. “It’s been hard to pave my own path, but I couldn’t be more glad I chose to do it my way.” In an exclusive interview with ROLLING STONE India, Bakshi discusses the pressure put on him to join Bollywood when he was starting out, what it felt like to be featured in Budweiser’s ‘Brewed The Hard Way’ campaign and what he’s looking forward to the most about Belgium.
How was the experience of performing at the MADE Stage held recently?
I love playing in Mumbai every time, but this gig was on another level altogether. Our friends at Budweiser made sure they fitted out the existing venue with extra bass speakers and a huge audiovisual setup, so it was quite an experience for everyone involved.
How does it feel to be part of the ‘Brewed The Hard Way’ campaign? You are also the only musician in the Brewed The Hard Way series. How does it feel to be representing the indie music community there?
It feels great to be a part of this campaign! I think it’s pretty awesome and remarkable that we’re getting these opportunities as indie musicians. Here in India, we don’t have the infrastructure of labels, distribution and other ways to get our music out there, so such campaigns and partnerships can be especially valuable in reaching new audiences. All in all, Budweiser has been really supportive and there with us. It’s an awesome experience.
Since MADE Stage is part of the ‘Brewed The Hard Way’ campaign which celebrates individuals that have paved their own ways despite odds, what are the biggest challenges that you have faced as an artist in India?
When I showed up in India, fresh out of college in 2010, I had really lofty ambitions but I knew nothing and no one from the music scene over here. When I would show my music to people, I heard things like “You have no vocals in your music, it won’t work”, “Your sound isn’t Indian enough for India”, and most people pointed to Bollywood as the right way to go if you wanted to be a career musician in India. I never considered it even for a second, because I’m personally not into Bollywood music, and it’s never been part of my plan. It’s been hard to pave my own path, but I couldn’t be more glad I chose to do it my way.
What are the other touring/recording projects you are currently working on? Any releases anytime soon?
At this point I haven’t announced anything yet, but very soon I’ll be ready to share some big news.
What are the things that you are looking forward to most at Tomorrowland 2016?
The music, the food, spending time with my friends Madboy/Mink and Kohra… And of course, the surreal experience that Tomorrowland promises to be.
Which are the acts that you are looking forward to catching?
I can’t wait to see Sebastian, Vitalic, Oliver Heldens and many more.
Any particular cultural experiences (food/wine/history related) that you are looking forward to there?
Yeah, a huge chunk of Europe’s medieval history is based in Belgium, so I’m looking forward to experiencing so much of what Belgium has to offer. From small stuck-in-time towns like Bruges and Ghent to the madness of Tomorrowland, I’m looking forward to an unforgettable time!