I had a rather long but enjoyable conversation with Prash Mistry of Engine-Earz Experiment recently.
Here’s how shit went down:
How pumped are you about returning to India?
It’s always a great feeling coming back to India and seeing how the music is moving forward. It’s a tantalizing experience because the love I receive is more every time. It’s also interesting to see the rapidly changing music scene here.
What changes have you seen here?
Musicians and producers are definitely more confident about their own abilities, creativity and musical product. They have to find inspiration in places where others aren’t finding it and I’m seeing that a lot in India. There’s also no as much fear as before and there’s even a healthy amount of competition.
How different is the new album from what you’ve done before?
Symbol’s very different and it might even surprise some people. A lot of the earlier stuff was for the dance floor and live shows but this one’s more for the listener. There are a lot of messages incorporated and a running theme of asking questions and finding solutions. It’s hopefully not too preachy.
Best festival experience so far:
I’ve played a lot of festivals and attended even more. But it was Glastonbury in 2007 that made me start my band. I’ve played there six times now on seven different stages and it’s genuinely the most brandless festival that focuses on the music and experience.
I want to see more people not caring about reactions and just getting lost in the music. I love people who act like idiots! In the UK, dance music is a sign of rebellion and like a ‘f*** you’ to the system. All good music comes from a struggle. But that hasn’t manifested itself violently in India, probably for lack of something to fight against.
Live versus studio experience:
The two are very linked for us. You can start something in the studio, take it live to see the emotional response and then go back to finish it. I love writing at home because nobody sees me or judges me. But when you perform live, there’s a rush because something can go wrong anytime and a band adding to the sound. Nothing beats that spontaneity.
What made you decide to make it into a live dubstep band?
The band guys are some of my best friends and it’s great to tour and work with people that you love. My experience teaches me things and then their experiences get added to it. And that’s what’s great about music regardless of how cheesy it sounds. Touring is a very high pressure thing but it’s a pleasure with such people. It’s also humbling because when you’re around friends who’ve known you for years, you get put down in two seconds if you try and act too cool.
Touring in UK verses other countries:
That’s actually a really good question and no one’s ever asked that. In UK, there’s just so much electronic music everywhere in every club and bar and even more in a metropolis like London. But that also implies an equally short attention span. Something can be respected one day and falls apart the other. Right now, UK’s at the end of its deep house phase and it’s too fast and ridiculous how it’s getting into techno and there are all these stupid words being used to describe genres that don’t mean anything. If the song resonates, it resonates. That’s how it works in most other places. But I still love it because it’s home and makes you work hard. As performers, it makes us try our best to be the best. With the internet and communication being so fast these days, you can be based anywhere and still do great things. I’ve seen that happen everywhere.
What’s the general songwriting process like?
It’s all very different. Sometimes, I just wake up one night and write a song or it happens more organically during a jam. In more collaborative tracks, we work together with the vocalist a lot.
The interview was published on May 28 in Deccan Herald. Check it out here.