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Shiva Soundsystem on new album and reshaping the drum n bass scene in UK

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Nov 10, 2008

After Shiva Soundsystem performed in Mumbai a few years ago, they were invited to a fan’s place for a real late night party. “We ended up trashing the place due to an insane amount of vodka and Red Bull we imbibed. It was a perfect first gig in Mumbai!” says D-Code, 26, one half of the two-piece band. Their crazy experiences in the city are reflected in their latest work, Mumbai Cells, which will be released next year. Shiva Soundsystem has played at some prestigious international festivals including Glastonbury, Lovebox, and Bestival. The group was also a major presence on the London Underground Scene in the first half of the decade.

“I was overwhelmed by the sheer size and intensity of India, and the track is a reflection of what I was experiencing at the time; sinister but enchanting chaos.” The name ”˜Mumbai Cells,’ says Nerm, refers to jail cells. While both musicians are reluctant to divulge anything more about the way the name came to be, rumour has it that they did have a close look at an Indian jail cell on one of their visits to the country.

D-Code and Nerm, whose music is a stylishly woven carpet of rhythms and ethnic melodies drenched in progressive sounds, met at a warehouse in East London in the late 1990s. Nerm was a punk rocker with a band called Charged, while D-Code used to play sets on pirate radio stations. The group, influenced by pioneers such as State Of Bengal and Talvin Singh, soon found its own voice. “The evolution has been completely natural. I’ve always stuck to my guns, even when more commercial sounds took centre stage and I think that that has paid off,” says Nerm.
For, D-Code, the evolution has been quite rapid over the last few years.  ”I’ve been producing music seriously since 2004 and started out with a pure, experimental mindset,” says D-Code. According to D-Code, artists on the London dance music scene are exploiting the latest technologies to enhance their music and this has significantly changed the sound. “The change is a mirror image of the change in dance music technology. The London drum n bass scene has always been known for being on the cutting edge of exploiting the latest music technology.  At the moment, it’s all about computer music. The plus point is that more people are able to express themselves without expensive studio set-ups, and a lot of great artists have emerged. The minus: everyone with a computer is now a “producer,” which I feel has lowered the quality,” says Nerm, who will visit India with his collaborator D-Code between November and December.

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