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FamLi Drops Diverse Beat Tape ‘Sleepless In Andheri West’

The Indo-Canadian producer juxtaposes speech samples with interesting soundscapes

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David Britto May 26, 2020

Indo-Canadian producer Arbob Bal. Photo: Parizad D

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The last time we spoke to Mumbai-based Indo-Canadian producer Arnob Bal aka FamLi was this past November when we caught up with him to learn about his journey in music. Since then, Bal has been busy producing Mumbai-based singer-songwriter Mali’s forthcoming debut album Caution To The Wind. “It’s the most complex project I’ve worked on till date,” he says. In between those sessions FamLi has also managed to work on his own 17-track beat tape, Sleepless In Andheri West, which he released recently.

Bal – who has been making beats since the 2000s – tells us he’s always kept that side of his creativity on the up. The producer’s latest offering is laced with plenty of samples, including bits from political speeches, podcasts and IVRs. He says, “One thing that I had never incorporated too much into my beat making was sampling.” After being introduced by fellow producer Zokhuma to a YouTube series called Against The Clock, Bal was inspired by how producers there were churning out beats within 10 minutes. “With [producer] Four Tet in particular, I noticed how ‘in-the-zone’ he was and how he wasn’t really judging himself mid-process.”

What began as just a way to maintain his chops at a high level, turned into Sleepless In Andheri West. Bal drew inspiration from retro Bollywood songs and R&B music from Toronto. According to him the Hindi songs represent his life in Mumbai while the “Toronto-centric music would represent my life in Toronto.”

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The first phase of Sleepless In Andheri West began to take shape around the time of India’s 2019 general elections. Bal began filling up the tracks with references to the election as well as the general political situation in India. However, he says, “I suspected that the last thing people would appreciate was to hear overly unnuanced political commentary from a foreign born-Indian like me.” Bal trashed the project and headed back for the drawing board. He says, “It took a while to accumulate a set of clips that felt meaningful to me but also didn’t feel like I was beating people over the head with my opinions.”

On the beat tape there’s crafty electronica on “Your Loss,” a slick bass groove with “Unpolite Company” and some glitch synth work on “Unfrend M Pls.” With “L’Homage” FamLi treats us to nostalgia, “Sleeping Disorder” sounds like something out of your favorite Eighties video game while “Closer” features elements of drum and bass infused with R&B.

The tracklisting for the project was consciously determined by Bal to make sure each song flows seamlessly into the next. Once he was done, the producer sent it to Toronto-based audio engineer Kristian Montano at Montano Mastering for it to be mastered. “He did an incredible job,” says Bal.

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While in lockdown the producer has also started a podcast called Mispronunciation Nation where he speaks to people from different walks of life who have been successful in their fields. Next, Bal is readying a follow-up beat tape called Nobody Ever Comes To VP which will feature music samples of Toronto-based music from the mid-1990s to mid-2000s. Also, an EP with fresh original music is in the works and Bal says, “By the end of this year, I don’t want to have any projects on the back burner. It’s time for new experiments to commence.”

Hear ‘Sleepless In Andheri West’ below:

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