There is no dearth of talent when it comes to the independent music scene in India, with alternate genres and underground music scenes exploding every few years. While the techno and electronic music revolution started brewing almost a decade back, there are a few that were at the forefront of the movement; creating their own niche and putting the Indian techno scene on the global map. Here are 5 pioneers of the movement; artists who in their own right have put India on the global music scene.
I. Arjun Vagale
For those familiar with India’s underground music movement, Arjun Vagale is a known name. A coveted DJ, he is believed to be the pioneer of techno in India. He has toured around the globe and played for the likes of Fat Boy Slim, Dubfire, Apparat, Adam Bayer, Sasha and Josh Wink among others. His sound as a DJ is known to be zealous, atmospheric, and intense. With international releases for more than a decade, he is a global artist unlike any other in the Indian music scene.
Now with Asymetrik which is Arjun Vagele’s side project, he is exploring his artistic freedom and being as experimental in his approach. While his hypnotic and atmospheric sound continues to exist, he is now dabbling into different sub-genres of electronic and techno.
When the Indian dance music explosion was in the works almost a decade back, Anish Sood became one of India’s most successful faces of the dance music scene. Riding on this wave of success, he was headlining mega festivals like Sunburn and also supporting global stars that visited the subcontinent. With the pandemic, Anyasa was born. The brainchild of Goa-native Anish Sood which has a sound that is India-inspired but with modern electronic music production and a strong western identity is something that has been a part of his music throughout. With Anyasa, he is also the first Indian to release on Anjunadeep, the globe-spanning record label that is undoubtedly one of the most well-known across modern, deep house labels. An experimental offshoot, their eclectic approach is set up by veterans of trance, Above & Beyond.
Gaurav Malaker introduced BLOT! to the Indian music scene at a time when there were only a scattered few who indulged in electronic and techno music. With only a handful of musicians actually playing minimal techno, Malaker was shaking things up, creating an alternative music choice for all to experience. In the process, he transformed the indie music scene. BLOT! can indisputably be attributed to bringing about this revolution. As a name and face that has constantly been at the forefront of the new wave of musicians. His techno sets have always had a high level of production and he was among the first to curate experiential sets for his live performances. He can perhaps in that sense be credited for creating a unique blueprint for live shows.
Delhi based electronic musician, Madhav Shorey aka Kohra has always been known for his experimental sound, his rebellious nature to not go with trends and for creating soundscapes unlike any other in the Indian music scene. In 2011, he founded his record label and collective Qilla Records, that is at the forefront of pushing future sounds in the genre. It promotes forward thinking dance music as well as unique and upcoming artists from alternate realms. The cutting-edge, bold and open-minded record label has put out quality underground dance music since its inception.
From New Delhi, India —Tech Panda (Rupinder Nanda) and Kenzani are a duo that have contributed immensely to the Indian music industry and are perhaps among the most unique music producers in the scene. With their own individual sounds, they were already making their mark but post-2016 as a duo they’ve paved the way for electronic music by creating a niche sound of their own. With their critically acclaimed debut Saawariya they were able to create an imprint worldwide in the ‘Theoretical Indian Electronica’ world. Over time their sound has evolved into incorporating the Indian Sitar instrument that seamlessly mixes with disco-house components; giving them a signature sound and distinguishing them from others globally.
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