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Acid Arab: ‘A Lot Of Bollywood Tracks Have Been On Our USB Sticks’

The French duo known for fusing Eastern music and techno and acid house will play a DJ set at two-day festival Disrupt in Mumbai this week

Anurag Tagat Nov 18, 2019

Parisian electronic music duo Acid Arab will make their India debut at Disrupt festival this week. Photo: Philippe Levy

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When Guido Minisky and Hervé Carvalho – the two Parisians better known as electronic duo Acid Arab – first started out as a live act, their set included a cover of the Nineties Bollywood hit “Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai,” off composing duo Laxmikant-Pyarelal’s Khal Nayak soundtrack. Minisky says in an email interview, “[It is] one of my favorite soundtracks ever, and I think Massive Attack agrees!”

Minisky is referring to the fact that the U.K. trip-hop act also sampled a song off Khal Nayak – “Aaja Sajan Aaja” on their song “Karmacoma,” but the DJ-producer’s India association goes even further. “I was lucky enough to meet and interview [playback singer] Asha Bhosle for my radio show, and for me it felt as if I was meeting James Brown,” Minisky says.

It’s safe to say that Acid Arab’s upcoming India visit is a long-awaited one for the duo. Performing at Mumbai’s two-day electronic festival (by music management company Mixtape) on November 24th – and on November 23rd at Auro Kitchen and Bar, New Delhi – Acid Arab bring together a hypnotic blend of Eastern music and techno and acid house. You can hear hints of music from Lebanon, Egypt and Turkey, but Minisky says they’ve always had Bollywood songs in storage ever since 2012, when Acid Arab started out as a DJ project.

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Their latest album Jdid, which released last month, features collaborators from Algeria, Turkey and Syria. In this way, amongst other ways, Acid Arab can deflect any notion of appropriating other cultures through their music. “We bring so much respect in the way we’re doing this, how we collaborate with artists from different countries, that in the end no one ever accused us of stealing or bullshitting with other cultures,” Minisky says.

Described as a “combination of hard beats and soft music” by the DJ-producer, Acid Arab are still passionate about Indian music. Specifically with Bollywood music, Minisky says, “I find it rich, kind of crazy, full of surprises and often over the top; when a song has to be sad, it is heavily sad! When it has to be fun, there is tons of fun! And of course it’s the same with the movies. But probably I have seen only popular movies, you know, the Shah Rukh Khan types. I still have a lot to discover.”

While he’s mentioned previously in interviews that he would like to watch a Bollywood film in a cinema in India sometime, Minisky just hopes they have enough time to make it happen. “I would really love to do that […] probably I would need support from locals… so if you read this and want to take us to the movies, send us a message!”

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Acid Arab performs at Disrupt Festival at Antisocial, Mumbai on November 24th. Event details here. Listen to ‘Jdid’ below.

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