There was one thing that struck me about Bit of Both’s debut album ‘Prequels & Sequels’ even before I started listening to it; the sheer number of collaborations on the nine track release. I thought it was a strange move since a debut album does serve as a first impression to listeners and this would probably leave them confused about what to expect from the act itself. Once I was done listening to the album though, I understood. There is something about the experienced duo’s music that just stands out. Whether it be a fusion with classical elements as seen in ‘Indian Blues’ or an overall dark, ambient theme like in ‘Free’, their influence on each track is unmistakably felt. Yet, their versatility shines through. ‘Prequels & Sequels’ serves as a real showcase for their talent as they take you on a journey that you wish wouldn’t end (Seriously, the put-on-loop potential is strong in this one).
Bit of Both is Ashvin Mani Sharma aka Calm Chor and Ash Roy, two of the scene’s most experienced electronica acts. Having been part of the indie circuit for over a decade now, part of which was spent together as one half of the erstwhile Jalebee Cartel, the duo have performed all across the globe and have played alongside some of the biggest names in the underground music scene like Richie Hawtin and Sasha to name a few. They also run a record label called Soupherb Records that serves as a platform for a variety of great underground electronica artists in the country. With a track record this good, Bit of Both is definitely set to be one of the countries greatest electronic music acts in the country, and is definitely one to keep an eye out for.
We spoke to Ashvin on their journey so far, their record label and their plans for the future amongst other things. Check it out:
Q) You guys have been a part of the indie music for almost two decades now. In that time,
you’ve shared a headlining space with some of the biggest electronic acts like The Chemical Brothers and The Prodigy, amongst others, and have made your presence felt at venues around the world. What’s the journey been like?
It has been good for sure. We have been into this since before it was “cool” and worked our way up. It’s good to be in a space where the scene has really taken off now and we have a legit underground music scene in India.
Q) You guys have expressed your love for collaborations in the past. What does a collaboration mean to you?
Music always gets better when more people come into the picture who have the same intention. It’s a collaborative sport. A good collaboration is when all concerned parties are on creatively on the same page and the music just flows.
Q) The fusion of electronica and live instruments is no mean task. What is the creative process behind Bit of Both’s compositions? Any advice to acts who would like to successfully integrate these elements as well as you guys have?
We actually just try to keep the process as simple as possible and most of our compositions are minimal so that we always have space for other instruments. This way we can always jam with any musicians that are around. Of course we also have a definite plan with the general aesthetics of Bit of Both. There is a certain vibe we try to convey through our music which is a more relaxed listening space where one can dance or just listen.
Q) As an experimental act, what are your thoughts on the indie scene? How has it changed since you started off and in what ways does it need to change in order to cater to the needs of today’s musicians better?
We have a solid indie scene but we are lacking numbers in our audience. It’s just a matter of time I think, till we can support the music purely on a numbers basis as opposed to having sponsored events. That will be the next and best stage of our scene.
Q) One of Bit of Both’s visions is to collaborate with the biggest of artists on the grandest of stages, something that you guys have partly achieved. Which acts would you love to collaborate with the most? Also, how near/far do you feel is the music scene in our country from granting Indian acts international exposure on a regular basis?
We would love to collaborate with as many artists on as many stages as possible. In our vibe we would love to do a live show with Apparat and Modselektor (Moderat). And since we are taking names, would love to throw in Chemical Brothers and Underworld as well. As far as getting international exposure for our acts, I don’t really know what it would take apart from getting a hit of some sort.
Q) Live performances are something Bit of Both looks forward to. Do you have any particularly special memories regarding any gig?
Our first Live set at Sisyphos in Berlin was amazing. A small and intimate performance exploding with energy and the audience was as in it as us. Truly an amazing feeling 🙂
Q) Tell us a bit about your record label Soupherb Records.
Soupherb Records is going from strength to strength. We have been curating the label very carefully so that we have can craft a certain sound and vibe for the label. I think it has been working and we are super happy to be in a position to push local talent into the the international market.
Q) What can fans expect to see from Bit of Both in the near future?
Lots more music and a fantastic interactive audio-video live show that we are working on.
Cheers to Bit of Both for having that interview with us! Make sure you like their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter and SoundCloud and subscribe to their YouTube channel to keep up to date with their latest releases.
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