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Interview: Ash Roy (Soupherb Records)

Ash Roy and Ashvin Mani Sharma (better known as Calm Chor) have had a busy year. Apart from creating their own music as producers and DJs, the two have also been nurturing their baby, Soupherb Records - an experimental and progressive label that concerns itself with releasing the latest music from upcoming and forward thinking electronic outfits in India.

Both Ash Roy and Ashvin Mani Sharma have made a name for themselves in the country’s musical landscape. Ash Roy’s career spans over 15 years and has taken his to some of the biggest stages in the nation. Calm Chor has been around the underground dance circuit since the mid-90s himself and just released his first music video.

The producers got together way back in 2004 along with Arjun Vagale and G-force Arjun, co-founding one of the most successful musical acts hailing from India - Jalebee Cartel.

Soupherb certainly keeps with the same musical ideology – to take exciting new electronic sounds forward and encouraging promising artists and producers with their music. We got in touch with Ash Roy and asked him a few questions about Soupherb...

What made you want to start your own label?

Well I wanted to start a label a long time ago, but was concentrating on Jalebee at that time. As soon as we decided to focus on our solo careers I started giving more thought to this project.

In fact while I was in Berlin in 2012 a good friend Kevin aka Ambivalent convinced me to go ahead with the idea. That just triggered me to set up Soupherb Records. Initially my partner Ashvin was not in favour of the idea but after a little bit of convincing he was on board.

The idea behind it was obviously to create a platform where we could release our style of music as well as introduce a lot of underground Indian talent to the world and international talent to India.

We know everyone hates to get pigeonholed. How does SoupHerb hope to change the pre-existing landscape of underground electronica in India today?

At Soupherb Records our aim is to sign anything that is unique and different. Obviously it should be in the genres of house, deep house, tech house, techno, minimal and all of their sub genres. We don't do dubstep or drum and bass for example, simply because we don't play that sound. We want to give young and experienced Indian artists freedom to express themselves and give them a platform to showcase their work. Our aim is to create a bridge between India and the world. Get Indian artists to remix international artists and vice versa. This way everyone gets exposure and our audience increases.

We are on our 11th release and Ashvin and I have compiled a Compilation "Sub Continental Vol. 1"

As we complete a year at Soupherb Records we would like to pay homage to the motherland by way of this massive compilation. It contains 15 tracks that truly represent the underground sound of India. A lot of care has gone into the selection and we have stayed away from anything that we feel is not original. The depth of talent here is staggering and we feel honoured and proud to bring our like minded friends together under one banner to share with the rest of the world.

What’s the most challenging part about it?

Well the only challenging part is the initial set up process. There'is a lot of paper work you have to go through to register your company. Waiting for everything to come through is the most annoying. The rest is all fun. Obviously there is a lot of investment in it, but at the end of the day you get to showcase your own music as well as help talented producers showcase theirs.

And the most rewarding?

The most rewarding part is when you find a good artist, release them and then receive feedback from others in the industry. It's only been a year and the kind of support and plays our releases have got is just phenomenal. Artists like Richie Hawtin, Ambivalent and Filterheadz have played and supported our releases. A positive response always makes you realise that you are doing something right.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start their own label?

Firstly, decide what direction you want to go with your label. There is a good amount of investment. You will be spending money to register your company, logo, artwork and most importantly, mastering and promoting each release. The result will be rewarding.

Who were the international/Indian acts of your youth that defined the kind of music you produce now, and the kind of music that SoupHerb wants to push forward?

The International acts of my youth were Pink Floyd, Kraftwerk, Depeche Mode, Underworld, Josh Wink, Sasha, Digweed and The Chemical Brothers. These are the acts that have inspired me and my music. Indian acts that influenced me were Zakir Hussain, Tabla Beat Science and Midival Punditz.

Who are some Indian outfits that you’re excited about?

Maharana, Folic State, Audio Units, Reverse Osmosis and Modkraft

What should we expect from Soupherb Records in the coming year?

Many more interesting releases featuring artists from India and the world. As of now we have a compilation due out for release on 23 June.

And lastly, why did you call the label Soupherb?

A friend of ours always spelt Superb as "SoupHerb" so we decided to go with it. Plus our aim was to release superb music so it fits perfectly. The logo also made perfect sense. So it all fell into place.


3 most inspirational artists

Pink Floyd
Depeche Mode
Josh Wink

3 favourite albums of all time

Pink Floyd - Pulse
Depeche Mode - Exciter
Tetrameth - Psychological Pyrotechnics

3 favourtie artists of the moment

Josh Wink
Nicolas Jaar
Maksim Dark

**Ash Roy and Calm Chor will be playing this weekend (Friday 13 June) at Delhi's Kitty Su. More info on this event and others happening across the country can be found on our events page here.**

Words: Diya Gupta

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10 June 2014