Up close and personal with the melodic culprit from the east.

by Team Inditronic
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If you’ve been following the house music scene in the country, you would have definitely seen the name 8-bit Culprit in many events across the country. Armed with solid production skills and a slew of top notch releases, Faraz Ehsan has created a formidable reputation for himself in the melodic house and techno circle. We caught up with him ahead of his upcoming gig in Bangalore.

Hello Faraz. Thanks for talking to us. What’s in-store for 2019?

Thanks for inviting me to do this 🙂

Well starting off, I have my first release of 2019, a track called ‘ARTEMIS’ on ART VIBES MUSIC releasing on Feb 19th.

Other than that i now have a day job after i moved back to Calcutta as part of my new venture called – Gravit8 Studios. After putting in a lot of thought into the idea, I figured that Calcutta is missing out on the whole electronic music education scene which is pretty prevalent in other parts of the country. The younger kids of the city need  to boycott their herd mentality and open up their ears to quality instead of being exposed to the same mediocre music. Till you’re not given a choice, you’re never going to know of what could have been. Hence, we’re doing our little bit to make this change by offering detailed courses in electronic music production and DJ’ing as well as residency programs at the school.

On the music writing front, i spent most of 2018 working on a lot of fresh content which i cannot wait to put out. Hopefully those will see the light of day this year. The plan is to create as much quality content and maybe take it live once i’ve decided the direction i want to head in.

We actually love your artist name. Initially when we discovered you, we thought the music would be something to do with the chiptune world, as the title suggests. What inspired you to come up with the name?

My upbringing has been extremely old school,be it the music i grew up to or the uber-cool 8-Bit games i grew up with. 8-Bit signifies this old school attribute and has absolutely nothing to do with chip tunes! At the same time i was extremely mischievous and quite the prankster growing up, often blamed for things i did not do and not caught for the stuff i actually did 😛  While working on the new alias, i did have a couple of options but 8-Bit Culprit stuck, as that defined me perfectly 🙂

What was the turning point in your life that made you choose that music would be your career?

I was playing cricket before i got into music about 15 odd years ago. It was not a conscious decision, it just happened pretty organically. Growing up I always wanted to make music or have something to do with music in general. In the 9th standard my parents allowed me to get my first CDJ’s and that’s how i taught myself how to DJ. Soon after that i started performing at the school proms, fests and weddings. This was making me some decent money at the age on 16  which was helping me fuel my passion for electronic music.

One week after passing out from school La Martiniere, i landed my first job at a local nightclub. The first job experience wasn’t a very pleasant one so i decided against it and quit the place. After quitting i attempted doing  B.Com for a year and later realized that it was not for me. In 2010 i finally moved to Bangalore and enrolled into SAE for a Electronic Music Production course. After all of this, the most natural course to take was this was the only thing i was good at. I put in all of my heart,energy and resources into it and began working on my 8-Bit Culprit project. My parents along the way have been my pillars and have stood by every decision of mine and let me follow my dreams. I would have never been able to achieve whatever little bit i have, without their faith in a 15 year.

You’re one among the fast growing and musically consistent rising talents in the house scene from the country right now. What were your biggest influences in music growing up ? How would you describe your sound ?

My passion for music was shared with me by my childhood friend Varun Belani. At a very young age we discovered electronic music and were in awe of what was happening around us. My friends and I were downloading music, putting them on CD’s as compilations and selling it to the local music stores in the city!

A few years later i chanced upon a style of music that changed my outlook completely- Chillout and Psybient. I was introduced to the likes of Bluetech, Shpongle, Entheogenic, OTT, Peaking Goddess Collective etc. These are the artists that have majorly influenced my taste in music.

Cut to 2007, I saw Jalebee Cartel perform for the first time, i was instantly blown away. 4 guys taking that leap of faith to do something different really inspired me and gave me courage to follow what my heart desired and stick with electronic music.

My sound over the years has evolved because of my influences along the way.  I now consciously try creating dark and spacey atmospheres with strong edgy grooves to set the mood and direction of the track. Also, i like the melodic elements in my tracks to be melancholic but emotive and expressive. All the stuff released so far has been on the lines of Melodic techno. The recent unreleased stuff is more dance floor oriented and an  interesting cross between two genres. This new material is something that has me really kicked and excited about putting these out in the universe in the near future! For me, Art is about expression and my music, is quite literally the story of my life in bars and beats. I’m dancing my dreams and there’s nothing else that i’d rather do 🙂

How is your production process ? Do you use any analog/hardware or are you an in the box producer?

My studio setup currently comprises of a Moog Mother 32, Arturia Minibrute, Ableton Push 2 and a couple of other sequencers and controllers. Diva by U-he is my go-to plugin along with a bunch of stuff from the Waves Bundle.

My production process is pretty simple and straightforward. I usually start off by building a solid groove or an  atmospheric element that defines the mood and vibe of the track for me. Then i build on my bass elements and some quirky effects. Once i have my groove, quirk, mood and driving elements of my track sorted, i move on to the melodic elements and give direction to the project.  Also, i have a terrible habit of leaving tracks mid way or leaving it unfinished and eventually losing those projects. I’m hoping that changes this year and i can double up my productivity.

Your favorite place to play in India?

Hyderabad and Calcutta.

I think Hyderabad has one of the most progressive scenes in terms of music. Over the years i’ve made some great friends there and had some really fun gigs. The venues are better than anything you’ll see around the country!

Calcutta for obvious reasons as it’s given me everything including my dear friends and punters that make these parties worthwhile. Calcutta is home, and home is where the heart is 🙂  

Your take on the current Indian electronic music scene today? Pros and cons? How  is the scene in Kolkata at the moment?

I feel it’s a great time to be a part of the music industry in India currently. Lots of things related to electronic music is happening in and around the country and is finally getting the traction that it deserves. There are a handful of venues and promoters who have taken it upon themselves to program the right artists for the right setting. Programming is key, and this should be taken very seriously.

In more recent times, Calcutta has witnessed a fresh wave of music enthusiasts coming out for underground gigs in big numbers and supporting the scene here in the city. Having the option of listening to electronic music on any day of the week is extremely vital. This can only happen once we have more venues opening up and making these parties happen! Phoenix at The Astor is currently the only venue in our city promoting and hosting underground acts every Friday night.  A bunch of us have been working on another couple of venues that should be up and running in the next few weeks/months. This should make the scene here slightly better as now people will have an option to listen to some quality music on almost all the busy days of the week.

Do you have any other passion besides music?

I love cooking! I would also love to take up photography sometime in the future as my life revolves around shapes and in awe of the sky.

If there is one artist who you would like to remix your track, who would it be?

In more recent times, i would definitely want John Monkman and Tim Engelhardt to do their magic!  

Thank you for taking time to reach out to us. Any last words for our readers and on Inditronic ?

Thank you for featuring me on Inditronic and allowing me to share some integral parts with the universe!  Wish you guys all the very best and may there always be good music for the ears that choose to listen 😉

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