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Why “Dubstruck” Is More Than An AC/DC Cover

The self-proclaimed ‘Snake Charmer’ revisits the rock classic on the bagpipes and broadens the musical experiment to include dubstep and Bollywood melodies

Nabeela Shaikh Oct 19, 2015
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Archy J's "Dubstruck"

Archy J’s “Dubstruck” samples AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” and combines the bagpipes, Bollywood melodies and dubstep. Photo by Mayank Sethi.

If you’re a rock purist, you probably won’t pay attention to much beyond the fact that rock heavyweights AC/DC’s 1991 single “Thunderstruck” has been the center of an electronica/Bollywood remake. But ease up a little and you’ll realize that the Snake Charmer aka Archy J’s “Dubstruck” — which combines the bagpipes, classic Bollywood melodies and the occasional bass drop — is among the most experimental compositions this year, and goes beyond a cross-genre cover.

Says Delhi-based Archy J, “When I got to learning the song [referring to “Thunderstruck”] I didn’t want to limit myself playing only one particular genre, I wanted to experiment this with everything. And that’s why I went on to doing dubstep; I think it’s cool because there’s nothing out there that has bagpipes and dubstep.”

“Dubstruck,” which Archy J explains has been in the works since mid-2014, builds on the labyrinthine “Thunderstruck” riff, which transitions to the main theme of “Man Dole Mera Tan Dole” from the 1954 Bollywood cult classic Nagin followed by a weighty bass drop. And although the musician herself admits to an extent that the video of a lady mindlessly roaming inside a deserted basement and stumbling upon a congregation of junkies may not make for the best video, the heady jam of pipes and electronica might just be enough to make up. Currently the track, which was partly arranged by Archy J’s fellow musicians and music producers Karan Katiyar and Paras Khanna, has gained over 25,000 hits in a span of six days.

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An entirely self-taught musician who used to front alt-metal band RogueSaints before picking up the pipes, Archy J quotes Swissfolk metal band Eluveitie’s single “Inis Mona” [which incorporates the pipes, violin and even flutes] as her very first inspiration towards the pipes. Although she took up a relatively obscure instrument that barely has any tutors in the country, she predicts that bagpipes have a huge potential in India. “Bagpipes commercially is a very unique concept in India, something that’s never been done before. It’s heard mostly in army parades, but that’s all there is to it. This instrument actually has such a huge potential as a forefront instrument. I really wanted to show different dimensions of what the instrument can do, play it, go on to different genres.”


Watch the video for “Dubstruck” below.

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