From Jammu to Florida: Shivv’s Ultra Music Festival Journey
The 19-year-old electronica producer from Sidhra is the first Asian to have played at the festival earlier this year
When Shiv Magotra, or Shivv as he is known, says, “I had to miss my exams to be at the Ultra music festival,” it settles in that he is after all just another college going 19-year old. It’s also sweeping statements like these that give away his age: “In my opinion, electronic music is a mixture of everything that we have learnt in the history of music as a human race.” But Shivv wasn’t just another kid in the crowd at the Ultra music fest – he was at his console right up on the main stage wooing electro heads in Miami. He was invited on stage by resident DJ/producer Mykris to premiere their new collaboration titled “My Summer.” Now that’s something most college-going teenagers can only dream of.
Originally from Sidhra, a small town in Jammu, Shivv says that music was always a part of his upbringing. “Pretty early on, I started learning to play the piano and harmonium.” By the time he was in high school, he took to the guitar. He formed his first rock band called Anatomy of a Shooting Star while he was in college in Delhi in 2010. The band broke up a year later, which is when he let electronica take over completely. “Right before the band broke up, I started getting into electronica, Shubham [the band’s drummer] introduced me to Skrillex’s first EP Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites and that was it, I was blown away. I started feeling that the guitar was restricting me. A computer isn’t restricted to just one sound. I could envision a world of possibilities with electronica. You can be a lot messier with sound and have the potential to push the boundaries with this style of music.”
Check out Shivv’s music below
It has, by no means, been an easy journey. “In the early days, I had to work very hard to get over the production limitations in order to cut a demo which was on par with international standards.” But once Shivv started sending demos out, international labels like Nightline records, and Golden Panther Records approached him. Shivv was soon introduced to Ultra’s resident DJ, Mykris, by his manager Bhaskar Arora, who is also his partner at Shivv Music. Says Shivv, “We sent the track across and it was very well received by Mykris. We hit it off really well and next thing I know, I am premiering the song with him at Ultra.”
The young producer also sounds like he has a definite idea of how he wants to shape his career in electronica. “I don’t consider myself a DJ, I am a producer,” he says. When asked to point out the difference between the two, Shivv says, “A DJ has a straightforward approach – he will line up the latest chartbusters and play them one after the other, maybe with a few modifications with tempo. My approach on the other hand is to see the bigger picture first, try and make my shows more performance-based, make things more innovative wherever possible. I want to make my own music.”
Right now, Shivv, whose music leans toward progressive, is working on an album of original material titled Muse, which he plans to release by the end of the year. There’s also a spiritual element to his music, he explains. “I am a huge devotee of Lord Shiva.” he says, “I feel there’s an intense connection between electronic music and Shiva’s tandav. My logo is also a modified design of the trishul, Shiv’s weapon of choice.” As someone who spent most of his youth in Delhi and is now pursuing a finance degree at a college in Mumbai, he is yet to perform on home ground in Jammu but says he has big plans for his debut there. He says, “I will do a show in Jammu in the next three years – the whole city would be invited and not a penny would be charged.”