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Meet 16-year-old Producer Chrms, Who Makes His Live Debut This Week

Mumbai-based electronic producer Veer Kowli juggles Class 10 pressures and making beats

Anurag Tagat Apr 30, 2017
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Veer Kowli aka Chrms. Photo: Courtesy of the artist

Veer Kowli aka Chrms. Photo: Courtesy of the artist

Turns out a 16-year-old can talk less awkwardly about his music than a lot of other upcoming musicians. Veer Kowli aka Chrms, who’s in class 10 right now, tells us straight off that he used to “experiment” with design, music and film since he was 9, encouraged by his parents, who are both graphic designers. He says, “Until I was 12 or 13, I just wanted to become a filmmaker. I still want to! I’m just confused right now, I like filmmaking, I like music and I love graphic designing. I just want to do something creative.”

A few years later, when he decided the Bollywood music his parents heard wasn’t to his taste, Kowli let YouTube be his tastemaker, finding his new favorite in Australian producer Flume’s 2012 track “Sleepless.” Says Kowli, “Then I was curious, ‘How does he make the sounds I’m hearing?’ I did some research and found the software that people create songs with. I got that software and started experimenting on it. It’s been three or four years since I started making music and it’s been amazing.”

Don’t be fooled, though. Music production and digital audio workstations may have names like Reason and Logic, but aren’t exactly quick to pick up. Same was the case with Kowli. “I started out on Ableton, but it went over my head, because I dropped math [in school]. Anything that looks complicated, I can’t do. Then I got FL Studio and that’s what I’ve been working with right now.”

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But even that wasn’t a hurdle. It was when Chrms played his music to friends and classmates at his school farewell and later at a friend’s party that he got “demotivated” because “no one liked my music”.

Thankfully, around the same time he e-friended Mumbai producer Palash Kothari, the brains behind ambient/post-rock influenced electronic projects Particlestorm and Sparkle & Fade. A frequent pick to perform at artist agency REProduce’s Listening Room sessions, Kothari opened up the world of Indian electronic music to Kowli, who’s now a fan of everyone from Mumbai producer Kumail to Bengaluru bass music artist Oceantied. “I’ve never gone to any shows or concerts of theirs, and I’m playing at my first one this week,” Kowli says with a laugh.

With plenty of chill/ambient tracks lined up – including “With You,” which was released by label Chill Planet in 2016 and has about 55,000 plays so far – Kowli contacted REProduce founder Rana Ghose in January and began talking about everything from Canadian hip-hop star Drake to creating music. It’s led to Chrms’ first ever set at the Listening Room show at The Mumbai Assembly on April 30th.

For the last two weeks, Kowli has been coming home straight from tests at school to work on his set. He says, “I’ve made a tracklist of my songs and been mixing them and checking my errors, practicing. I’m pretty pumped for it.”

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Chrms performs at REProduce Mumbai Assembly, from 4 pm onwards on April 30th, 2017. Event details here.

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