INDIAN DRUM N BASS ON THE RISE : INTERVIEW WITH OX7GEN

Having shared stages with the likes of Drum n Bass heavy weights such as Sub Focus, Alix Perez , London Elektricity , Aditya Ashok aka OX7GEN is one of...

Having shared stages with the likes of Drum n Bass heavy weights such as Sub Focus, Alix Perez , London Elektricity , Aditya Ashok aka OX7GEN is one of the most prolific artists to come out of India in the drum n bass circuit. We got in touch with the cutting edge artist whose gearing up for arguably his biggest release to date, on RAM records , one of the most influential labels and reputed labels in Drum n Bass history

Hi Aditya. For those who are discovering you now, how would you describe your music? 

I make electronic music mostly in the realm of Drum & Bass but occasionally delve into other left-field variants of techno & house. 

Could you tell us a bit about your musical background and how you came into contact with Drum n Bass.

I started my musical journey in college playing drums for several bands at the time such as Rosemary, Goddess Gagged & The SOS. Shortly after college I jumped right into the professional touring circuit in the country playing with Shaai'r & Func and around the same time started my solo project OX7GEN, independently releasing singles & playing club shows & festivals around the country. In 2014 I joined UK/IND prog metal band Skyharbor and went on to do a bunch of tours across the US & Europe. In 2018 I released my first single on a major drum & bass label - Med School Music (Hospital Records) in the UK.

I first heard drum & bass at Blue Frog in Bombay when Sohail Arora (KRUNK) the then programmer of the club was playing an Erik Truffaz album on the PA before some show was starting and it instantly captivated me. I went home and googled drum & bass and came across London Elektricity's 2008 BBC Essential mix and the rest is history.

How did you come about choosing the name OX7GEN?  What artists have been influential in shaping your sound? 

One time I was going through a pretty long tattoo session and about 4-5 hours in I was trying to keep my mind occupied. I realised that every time I was breathing in the pain seemed to reduce quite a bit. When I was thinking of names to release my first single under, this thought popped into my head so I went with OX7GEN. A few weeks later I changed it to OX7GEN just so it was a lot easier to get domain spaces online. The biggest influences on my sound as OX7GEN would be - Sub Focus, Metrik, Tycho, Telefon Tel Aviv & Boards of Canada.

Drum n bass or bass music in general in India has been growing rapidly and steadily especially over the last 5 years with endless artists sprouting across the country day by day.

What is your current take on it and its future? 

It’s very inspiring to see the number of people exploring non mainstream styles of music these days and the more artists we have, the stronger the scene grows which is a win win for everyone involved - artists, promoters, venues & the audience. I think the the next 5 years is going to see some phenomenal music coming out of the country. On the down side I also feel like the medium is getting quite saturated and it’s up to us as artists to innovate and keep the listening experience fresh. Also all of these views of mine are pre-covid. I honestly have no idea how things are going to play out in the near future keeping COVID in mind.

What according to you has been the key factor for its growth here?

The internet has allowed people to explore the musical landscape of the world like never before. Easy access to music production software as well as tutorials online on how to use them and create the sounds that you hear your favorite artists creating has made it incredibly easy to be a thriving solo artist. Other than just the music, there’s a whole lifestyle that appeals to kids who are sick of mainstream EDM. That along with promoters in India like KRUNK & Mixtape who have been pushing these alternative styles of music for the last 10 years when it was quite small has been pivotal.

2020 has been so far the most challenging year ever in the history of music and arts. How did you cope during the crisis and stay focused? Did you at any point of time begin to question your career going forward? 

I spent 80% of my time in the studio working on music or watching tutorials on music production and music theory. It was a great way to stay distracted, focused and inspired. I didn’t really question my career in the long run because I knew I’d find a way around whatever roadblocks show up, but I was a bit worried about paying rent in a city like Bombay for the next 1-2 years without any income coming in. Luckily I snagged a few production jobs in the summer that helped me tide through the lockdown.

Let's talk a bit about your production process. What is your goto tool / software that is indispensable? Are you an 'in the box' producer or do you use any hardware gear? 

I’ve been using Ableton Live pretty much since I started producing 10 years ago. I’m quite an in the box guy although I have a few hardware synths that I love to use as well. My go to VST’s are Serum & Omnisphere. Hardware wise I use the Access Virus, Arturia Microfreak & I recently added a Roland SPD SX to my setup.

What part of producing DnB do you enjoy creating the most?

I love smashing a whole bunch of breaks and beats to create the drums for my songs.

You have an upcoming release on Ram Records, one of the most influential DnB labels of all time. Congratulations on this massive achievement. How did this come about? Has releasing there been one of your main goals? What kind of vibe can we expect from this track? 

Over the last few years I’ve been focused on really polishing my production chops and releasing music on some of the UK labels that I look up to and have been following since the beginning of my journey. Releasing on RAM was absolutely one of my big goals as a drum & bass producer. My management has been in touch with the A&R at RAM and they really liked my latest track Kodachrome Sky and were keen on releasing it on a compilation on their ProGRAM sub label.

The track has a pretty signature OX7GEN aesthetic, it’s melodic, energetic, ambient and emotional.

What are other things that interest you besides music? Any particular hobbies? 

I love to cook. I’m also quite a craft beer & single malt aficionado. I’m also into photography and photo editing. I’ve conceptualised or created the artwork for all my independently released music.

Your current favorite artists from India and abroad. 

India - Jose Neil Gomes. He’s released a beautiful new album called Queen of Spades.

International - Dope Lemon, Lord Echo, Tommy Guerrero.

What has been your most memorable gig so far in recent times? 

My B2B set with Sub Focus at a super packed and sweaty Khar social in Bombay in March last year after the BUDX festival was one for the books.

Most favorite venue / event to play in India. 

Blue Frog, RIP. 

Advice for the upcoming generation of artists in India looking to go down the bass music path. 

Spend time honing your craft. Technology has made things incredibly easy and with ease comes, uninspired lazy music. Soak in your influences, put in the time, and come up with something that is a true reflection of your unique sonic fingerprint.

If Jan 1st 2021 where to start with a massive outdoor DnB rave, what would be your opening track?

Sub Focus - Solar System

Follow OX7GEN

https://www.ox7genmusic.com/

https://soundcloud.com/ox7gen

https://www.instagram.com/ox7gen/

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