Exhibit caught up with DJ of the month Sahej Bakshi aka Dualist Inquiry and found out heaps of information about his thoughts on the music scene in India and his tech preferences. Read the interview to learn some more about the immensely popular Dualist Inquiry.
Exhibit: Sahej, the journey.
Dualist Inquiry: Strictly speaking, I never actually took up DJing as a profession. While DJ’s primarily play other people’s music, I’ve been operating as a producer, composer and guitarist, playing primarily my own music at my live shows. I’ve been playing the Guitar and a few other instruments since I was 9 years old, and I happened to discover electronica while I was attending music school in Los Angeles from 2005-2009. I became kind of obsessed with electronic music after that. I loved the freedom that one person has, where you can compose parts for every instrument and create a one-man show.
Exhibit: Story behind your stage name.
DI: It is exactly what it sounds like – a personal quest to find answers to all my questions and curiosities that exist on contrasting ends of my emotional spectrum.
Exhibit: Your immense popularity and fan base.
DI: I feel grateful that I managed to find an audience for my music; I never take it for granted and always try my best to continue to meet people’s expectations. Though it can be hard sometimes because the further you progress in your career, the higher the stakes and pressure to outdo your own best work.
Exhibit: EDM scenes here and abroad.
DI: I would say that ‘EDM scenes’ are the same the world over. EDM refers to a particular type of commercial dance music, and the wave has slowly spread all over the world. EDM started out as a musical genre, but has quickly turned into something that is equal parts marketing, theatrics and social media strategy. It’s not for me, to be honest. I’ve always tried to stick to my electronica roots, and have little desire to be involved with the big business of EDM.
Exhibit: Most favourite gig.
DI: It’s hard to pick out the best gig – I’ve been fortunate to have played some amazing shows over the years. But off the top of my head, a few shows were extra special, like the Dreamcatcher album launch gig I did at NCPA Theater in Mumbai, as well as playing at many festivals all over the place.
Exhibit: Sahej Bakshi and Tech.
DI: I genuinely really love my tech and as an electronic musician, it always plays a massive role in the music I produce. I always tell people, that electronic music producers are individuals who exist at the crossroads of art and technology, and that’s exactly how I see myself – as a digital artist.
Exhibit: Most useful gadget for professional purposes.
DI: Of course, the most important gadget of all is one’s computer – it’s where everything is put together and constructed into music. Aside from that, I couldn’t survive without my synthesizers, such as the Nord Lead A1, Moog Sub 37 and many more.
Exhibit: Your relationship with social media.
DI: I have a challenging relationship with social media – there are times when it’s nice because I love reaching out to my listeners and communicating with them, but there are also times when it gets too much for me and I have to go offline for a while. I like posting when I have something to say or new music to share, but nowadays it feels like more of a popularity contest where artists are expected to post something everyday, mostly pictures, selfies and a lot of banal content that has no use or relevance to music whatsoever.
“I LOVEd THE FREEdOM THAT ONE PERSON HAS, WHERE YOU CAN COMPOSE PARTS FOR EVERY INSTRUMENT ANd CREATE A ONE-MAN SHOW.”
Exhibit: Impact of Digital streaming sites on music promotion.
DI: I think streaming sites have made it a lot easier to make your music available, but because of the amount of music that’s being uploaded these days, it’s actually getting harder to get people to take notice. For me personally, streaming and social media have allowed me to exist without the support or backing of a record label, something that would have been impossible just 10 years ago.
Exhibit: Best and the worst thing about your profession.
DI: The best thing is being self-employed and answerable to no one except for myself. However, that also has its downsides, because while operating solo you have to take on incredible amounts of pressure and stress that never really goes away, and there is very little stability. Everything can change in a matter of months, and you have to constantly try to stay ahead of the musical curve.
- One song you can die playing: Probably be one of my own – maybe Qualia, because that song represents a very special time in my life.
- Favourite band: I’ve been loving Maribou State and Four Tet these days.
- If not a DJ, then: Chef or teacher.
- Sahej Bakshi at 40: Reclusive yet involved.
- First gig: Holi Cow Festival 2010 in New Delhi.
- One thing that gets on your nerves: When new artists and industry professionals let success go to their heads.
- One song on loop: ‘Myrtle Avenue’ by Floating Points.
- One song you think didn’t deserve the attention it got: All these Top 40-type tunes by mainstream pop/EDM artists that sing about the important issues of our times like selfies, teenage love and the summer.
- Undying mantra of your life: Don’t take your successes or failures too seriously – you’re still the same person you were when you started.
- Most unique tech gadget: Teenage Engineering OP-1 Synthesizer.
- Instruments you wish you played: Jazz Piano, Saxophone.
- One quintessential day in the life of Sahej Bakshi: Hibernating in my studio, working on music.
- Best piece of advice given to you: To not respond to online trolls, as much as it might be tempting to get back at them right then and there.