Nucleya is excited and optimistic. Listening to him speak about dance music in India for twenty minutes, even the most jaded party kid could begin to question whether a musical revolution just might be in the making on laptops and in clubs across the subcontinent. When the man speaks, you’d do well to listen; he’s been watching the scene for longer than many of us have even been aware of it.
Nucleya entered the scene as half of Bandish Projekt, along with friend and long-time collaborator Mayur Narvekar, while still in eleventh standard. “There wasn’t a huge audience,” he says. “I was in Ahmedabad. I’m talking, mid-nineties, late nineties. So at that time, we were just making music and giving it out to our friends (...) We could go into a store and buy CDs, and the only CDs we could buy was some trance stuff, and because of that our early musical influence was a little underground.”
As the sound grew and evolved, and as global musical developments became more accessible, much of the work took on a distinctly dubstep flavor: “When I moved to Delhi, I was really into dubstep. I did that for a long time, but lately it’s become a little chaotic in terms of basslines. For example, when you listen to a Skrillex track, there’s melody in it. But most of the dubstep that you pick up now, it doesn’t have that melody. So I actually stopped playing it.”
That change roughly coincided with Nucleya’s departure from Bandish Projekt, new studies of Indian Classical, and movement towards a more domestically sourced sonic palate. “I’m very fond of Indian music. All kinds of Indian music, not just film music. My family, they actually listen to a lot of Indian film music. It’s always been there. I’ve always been fond of that kind of music.”
While keeping one ear firmly engaged with the Indian soundscape, the man continues to approach the turntables with a global mindset, blending baile funk and desi street music in his production, and dropping moombahton into his sets. As his sets diversify, Nucleya sees a great deal of hope for new adventures in booty shaking from Srinagar to Trivandrum: “In general, the scene is much better than how it was earlier. But I think we need more producers from India to actually produce, and to have their own style as well, in production. Usually, when I see DJs performing, they end up playing the Beatport top 20 tracks…
“What I’ve noticed in the past couple of months is that my new production, which has a lot of Indian influence in it, people tend to like that more. I think the scene will grow much bigger if we have our own sound in place.”
We’re willing to wager that Nucleya might just be right.
The first piece of vinyl/music you bought with your own money?
I think it was a CD of Prodigy - The Fat of the Land.
The best set you’ve ever played?
Clandestino Festival - Sweden
The one song you’d want to listen to while you were blasting off into outer space?
Out of Space by Prodigy
The best album for making love?
Not too keen to answer this one.
One track that’s a guaranteed dancefloor filler for any crowd?
Tommy Trash - The End
Your favourite book?
The only thing I read is music magazines. My favorite would be 'Future Music' mag.
Your worst/most embarrassing DJ experience?
I went to play for a gig where everyone was really drunk and were abusing and fighting with each other. I switched off in 5 minutes and moved out from there.
Your favourite city to spin in?
An artist or producer whom you admire or respect, but rarely feel compelled to listen to?
The effect of zero gravity on the downbeat?
This I couldn’t understand
Words: Kerry Harwin
Image Credit: Zacharie Rabehi
30 July 2012