New Delhi Rapper Qoini Talks Metal Roots, Pandemic Struggles and New Material
The hip-hop artist released his song ‘Ghissey Jootey’ in January
He might be a statement-making hip-hop artist with his moniker Qoini today, but about a decade ago, Aditya Guglani was one of the founding members of erstwhile thrash metal band Inherited Infection. “It was like Pantera meets Rage Against The Machine meets Linkin Park,” Guglani says over the phone.
His caller-tune, as it turns out, was a song by Brit rockers Oasis, so the rapper is more than happy to talk about growing up with rock and metal music. He counts Pink Floyd’s visual record The Wall as a big influence as well as metallers Slipknot’s videos as formative to his realization that “visuals as are just as important as the music” for Qoini, a project started in 2017.
With a love for rap-rock and nu metal from Limp Bizkit, Slipknot and of course, Eminem, Guglani says his introduction to hip-hop was definitely “the aggressive stuff.” Rapping ever since he was 14 years old, he gradually moved from writing verses in English to Hindi about six years ago. “It’s about relatability and in English, it doesn’t connect as much as you want.” It was only two years ago that he discovered the wavy, emotive music of late rapper Mac Miller. “Before that, I didn’t know what lo-fi and chill-hop meant as genres. By the end of 2019, I had completed about 10 to 15 songs, that were jazz meets hip-hop and R&B,” he says.
His latest single “Ghissey Jootey,” released in January, is amongst the first from that batch of songs which sees Qoini’s unfiltered introspection go over smooth beats made by ThatKidGoran. Guglani recorded vocals after a DIY home studio setup, which even included fashioning a vocal booth out of a laundry bucket. The song found one of its starting points in Guglani grieving over the loss of three family members due to the coronavirus. With parents who are well over 70 years old, the artist says it’ll be a while before he even thinks about venturing out for performances.
In the meantime, there’s lots more material lined up for 2021, including a song called “Yeh Dilli Hai” which is a Nas-inspired tribute to his hometown. There are three EPs comprising six songs each are all written out as well. “It’s all different styles. For example, I like the production on [hip-hop artist] Playboi Carti’s songs so I’m recording my demos on those type of beats,” Guglani says.
Watch the lyric video for “Ghissey Jootey” below.