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Aqua Dominatrix: Keeping the Faith

Mumbai producer Akshay Rajpurohit on winning EDM fans over with his synth project

Anurag Tagat Nov 11, 2016
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“When you play electronic music that isn’t just dance music, you have to sometimes go with the vibe,” says Rajpurohit. Photo: Prashin Jagger

“When you play electronic music that isn’t just dance music, you have to sometimes go with the vibe,” says Rajpurohit. Photo: Prashin Jagger

Trust Akshay Rajpurohit to use metaphors like few other musicians for describing his synth-led/dark pop project Aqua Dominatrix’s latest album Overthrowing Magnus. Rajpurohit says, “I would rather have a nice meal served to me in six parts than in different cuisines. You’re not going to have bhelpuri and then eat Chinese food, are you?”

But Mumbai-based Rajpurohit, before he was hunched over synthesizers as Aqua Dominatrix, is still better known for bringing the most memorable guitar leads and riffs to bands such as post-hardcore act Scribe and instrumental metallers Pangea. And his metal roots are still at work when it comes to producing music for a solo project like Aqua Dominatrix, which is just over one year and one album (2015’s classic synthpop influenced Sadomist) old. He says, “You know the background I come from””I love metal albums and heavier albums where vibe is the central pivot. It has way more emotional importance than anything else.”

That’s why his second full-length, the six-track Overthrowing Magnus, takes from a sinister piece of Norwegian folklore surrounding a female assassin who had killed three kings, making an attempt on the life of a king named Magnus. The story certainly helped Rajpurohit lead his music into an evenly flowing sonic terrain, on songs that average at the six-minute mark. “There was a lot of wavetable synthesis and a bit of sample editing and sample cutting, stuff like Gregorian chants.” He’s even included a sample of a dialog from a Bollywood film to open “Danza Massacro,” but that’s really about indulging the Eighties’ Hindi film fanboy he continues to be.

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Rajpurohit premiered the 11-minute “Fritz Und Frueln” at shows before recording it, making it a live staple before he decided to include it on Overthrowing Magnus. There are some compositions that are guaranteed dance floor bangers that the producer is certain just won’t make sense as studio releases. Says Rajpurohit, “I haven’t kept a count of those kind of tracks, but I keep constructing them on the side. They’re a harder form of music, more loopy stuff that you can’t listen to at home.” These made-for clubs tracks were something Rajpurohit took to after talking to his DJ peers in the electronic scene. “When you play electronic music that isn’t just dance music, you have to sometimes go with the vibe. Generally, I open for DJs and their sets evolve every two shows. They have that flexibility and I can’t always match that in terms of energy.”

Now we know what’s been taking up Rajpurohit’s time away from Scribe’s long-awaited material with their new lineup. But the guitarist insists that the band is taking a much-needed break to concentrate on their own lives, jobs and projects. He says, “The last thing we want to release is stale music, so I think once we come back from everything else, we’ll have that fresh perspective.” The guitarist has been working on Aqua Dominatrix and Pangea in tandem, though. The latter, who played two shows in Mumbai and Kochi last month, have finished writing their follow-up to 2011’s Snails are when I was young. Rajpurohit adds, “If it were up to me, it would be out by the end of the year, but we’re just waiting and getting everyone in the band to add their parts to it.”

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