Six emerging acts you’ll hear on boxout.fm: India’s first independent radio station
April 20th 2017
Photo: Bangalore’s Aniruddh Menon
India has just got a brand new radio station showcasing alternative music and culture – and there’s an ex-FBi volunteer behind the scenes.
With the massive success of online stations like London’s NTS Radio and Rinse FM, it’s now New Delhi’s turn to step into the spotlight. According to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, there are over 260 private radio stations in India across 84 cities, but not a single station is dedicated to alternative music from India. Indian audiences are less likely to have regular access to music outside of festivals, concerts, clubs and a handful of music blogs. With a burgeoning independent scene, these new sounds and ideas need a home.
The brainchild of music entrepreneur and promoter Mohammed Abood aka DJ MoCity and friend and peer, Sahej Bakshi, boxout.fm has been designed to showcase sounds and styles that champion underground culture, not just in India but from around the world.
Dhruva Balram, ex FBi volunteer and co-host of Goodgod Sound Unlimited on FBi Click, is now living in India and working with online music and culture hub, Wild City. In support of the station’s launch this month, he gave us an insight into the current scene and where things are headed.
“After leaving FBi and Sydney, I lived in rural India for the majority of a year and a half, working in various spaces. But when it was time for me to rejoin a city and music scene, Wild City’s name was at the top of the list due to its importance in India’s alternative culture.
“Magnetic Fields is an annual festival run by Wild City. Taking place in a palace in Rajasthan, they’ve brought the likes of Floating Points, DJ Koze, Shigeto, Kutmah, Ratatat and Helena Hauff and many more to the country along with their regular Various Artists series – Culoe de Song is coming next week! This is alongside a whole host of things, most recently consulting with Boiler Room in its introduction to India. So there was undoubtedly only one place I was hoping to work – and they just happened to be hiring for a Head of Content position.”
So, what’s the new station going to play? Dhruva selected six emerging producers and collective from India that he can’t get enough of right now. Listen and learn below!
Sandunes – Crystal Pink
Sanaya aka Sandunes is one of the leading electronic producers in India – and for good reason. Having played at the first Boiler Room in Mumbai back in December, she also released the critically-acclaimed album Downstream in September. The talented creative has also been picked as part of a global initiative that Metal, Wild City, Boiler Room, Warp Records and Barbican have come together to create. Definitely someone to keep an eye out for in the future.
FILM – HOPE
This dark, ominous tune by Delhi-based FILM is a great introduction to his work and latest EP, HOPE. Bass-heavy, it sounds like the amalgamation of several ideas concocted really well into a beat that sticks with you long past the first listen. Each layer has been meticulously thought about, ensuring that nothing feels out of place.
Ninja- 2 Sides
Lowlit, an artist collective, record label and a multi-platform cultural curator, released a compilation of beats produced by participants of a workshop based in Mumbai and subsequently Bangalore. The participants were challenged to make a beat using random samples selected by them in 45 minutes. This one, titled ‘2 Sides’ by Ninja, is my favourite.
For me, the Consolidate crew, as a collective, are making the best music in India. Whether it’s RHL_, Blindnight, Worms’ Cottage, Disco Puppet, Pardafash, Aerate Sound or Aniruddh Menon, their music is unmatched. Favourites for me right now are Aniruddh Menon and Aerate Sound’s respective debut albums, Lovesongs and Only For External.
Lovesongs is a journey through nostalgia, sentiment and love is produced beautifully. Every track takes you back to your childhood in India.
Aerate Sound’s Only For External was so surprisingly good that the duo played Boiler Room on 7 April off the back of its success. I guess there’s a reason why RHL_, so-called Consolidate leader, was tapped to play the first-ever Boiler Room in India.
Kumail – February
Knowmad Records is another interesting project. They house two artists that are doing remarkable things: Profound and Kumail. ‘February’ is the intro track to Kumail’s latest EP, From You to Blue. Like the EP, the single is a teaser for a project that isn’t fully refined but has all the makings of a launchpad to success with rapid-fire hi-hats that drift in the background over a lackadaisical voice.
Profound – Sentences for Dilla
The first single of his EP, fre$h, Profound’s ‘Sentences for Dilla’ sounds like a tribute to the late, great producer J Dilla. All the boom-bap of peak Dilla is there along with Profound’s fresh take on it. Laced with a piano that slides over the drums, this track is barely a minute-long but showcases Profound’s talent.
Keep an ear on these guys and discover new sounds at boxout.fm.
Read more about the story of boxout.fm and the power of community radio here.