Berlin and beyond with the Techno Titan

Ash Roy probably needs no introduction. The Indian techno don has been slaying dance floors since the mid 90's and is easily one of the biggest music exports the...

Ash Roy probably needs no introduction. The Indian techno don has been slaying dance floors since the mid 90's and is easily one of the biggest music exports the country has ever produced. 

We got talking with the ex Jalebee Cartel member, who has now made Berlin as his home, ahead of his new release Triptower

Hi Ash. Thanks for speaking to us. How's life in Berlin and what made you shift base there? 

Life in Berlin is absolutely fantastic. A lot of opportunities have come along since I've moved there. Well I used to be based there every summer since 2010 with my band Jalebee Cartel. We used to dedicate our summer to gigs in Europe. After we went our separate ways I didn't want to give that up so I kept going back and concentrating on my solo gigs. In 2016 I gathered the courage to shift there and it's been fabulous. 

You have a new release coming up on Soupherb with fellow Kolkata based producer 8 Bit culprit. The track sounds solid. Given both your stylistic differences, how did you go about this project?

Thanks and yes our Ep Triptower just released. Well 8-Bit Culprit and I were playing at a gig in Kolkata and that's when I mentioned to him we should do an Ep together and he immediately agreed so earlier this year when I was touring India we made sure we work on the Ep on weekdays since we had gigs on the weekend. Though we have different styles we tried to accommodate are influences in all 3 tracks. 

How do you go on about your productions? Do you have a set way of working or is it a go with the flow approach? 

It totally depends. Sometimes if I have an idea I start laying it out by starting with the groove and then recording the bass line. Then I build further with synth lines, arps, percussions, vocals or samples if need. It totally depends on the track. Finally when I have all my elements then I start arranging or recording. There have been times when I have a particular melody in mind then I record it on my phone by humming it and then head to the studio later and record it. I also have another project with Ashvin called Bit Of Both and when we produce together we take turns. So of he comes up with an idea then I write lyrics and then eventually sing it. So there is no set approach. 

Do you use any hardware or are you completely software based? 

As of now I'm software based, but by the end of this year or beginning of next year I'm going to be investing in some hardware. 

The electronic music scene in India is having probably its biggest growth at the moment. Do you see the trend continuing? What are some of the things that you'd like to see improve. 

Yes absolutely I see it growing. In fact as of now India is one of biggest hubs of electronic music in Asia. We have so many festivals, clubs and venues who are pushing the scene, it's just insane. Back in the day venues were scared to do electronic music but now because of the increase in audience the clubs and venues are going crazy with their programming. In fact 3 clubs doing electronic music on the same day in the same city....unbelievable. There is a lot of scope of improvement. Clubs, promoters, bookers etc should start treating their local artists with the same amount of respect they give International artists. Plus I have noticed over the years that payments don't come on time. Some clubs, promoters and bookers take really long to pay up, there are times they take a month or longer. They need to realize that we as artists have bills to pay and need to survive and this is our bread n butter. For the some of us gigs are the only source of income so if they don't pay up on time then we suffer. 

You have a good foothold in the underground circles in the Berlin music scene at the moment. From your experiences how is the perception of Indian artists over there? Considering the highly competitive market there, do you think the scene there is keen to have more Indian artists cutting through the ranks?

People used to have a misconception about Indian artists and they thought we could only do Bollywood music. Nowadays there are so many talented artists coming out India it's just incredible. As far as I'm concerned we as Indian artists are given a lot of respect out there. We have played peak time slots there and it has been overwhelming. 

Most of the time when I finish a set and people come ask me my name and where I'm from, and when I reply I'm from India it just amazes them. So yes we do need more of us cutting through. 

Your dream collaboration. 

Hahaha working on a collab with Josh Wink or doing a Bit of Both collab with Underworld. 

Your favorite Indian artists

There are so many...my brothers Calm Chor, Jitter, Kohra, Midival Punditz the list can go on and on. 

We know you have a wicked sense of humor. If Ash was in a heavy metal band, what would the band name be?

Hahahahaha .....NASHT BRASHT ...Lol !

You're someone who's been in the industry for over 2 decades and probably witnessed every single movement or cycle of the scene here. Considering the growth of social Media, the access of technology and how fast it is to get your content out there, there seems to be a 'I want it all quick' feeling amongst the newer generation. What is your advice for aspiring artists? 

If it was not for Technology and Social media I as an artist would not be discovered. How do you think Jalebee Cartel was discovered, but yes there is an "I want it all quick feeling amongst the aspiring artists. "Rome wasn't built in a day" To be a seasoned artist you need to be experienced. I started out as a resident Dj in 1996 and being a resident teaches you a lot of things. It's taken me so long to get where I'm now and I'm still not there yet. You need to be patient and let it flow naturally. It will take time but when you get to your destination it will be all worth it. I've noticed that a lot of producers and artists start aping other artists and producing the same style just to be noticed or signed to a big label. That way you lose your identity. Is that actually who you are or just trying to be someone else ? All I can say is believe in yourselves and your music at then at the end you will be noticed and your music will get you out there. How do you think I moved to Berlin.....my music got me there 🙂

Ash roy and 8bit Culprit’s Triptower Ep is out now.

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