The 349th episode of our 12 Questions segment features producer Phalguna Somraj.
1. How old are you, where are you living and how long have you been producing and Djing?
I turned 33 this July. I’m born and lived in Hyderabad, India all throughout. I have been into DJing for last 13 years. I’ve started producing music 3 years back.
2. Where do your musical roots lie, what are your first memories of electronic music and when did you know you wanted to pursue it seriously? Are there any particular productions or artists from the past that really made you think to yourself ‘this is what I want to do.”
The musical roots lie with my father who is a trained classical singer. Music was a part and parcel of my life since childhood. I remember saving up my bus fare by walking back home from school just so that I could buy cassettes. Production – Yes, to name a few / Artists like Mango, Shinga Nakamuro and Dinka. I always thought of creating music like Shingo.
3. How difficult was learning to produce for you in the beginning? Did you take any Audio Engineering programs or production courses to help you out or are you pretty much self taught? And did anyone give any advice early on that really helped?
Rather than considering it to be difficult, I found it challenging when I started off producing music. That was probably my passion for good music that kept me going. I’m a self taught producer. With a lot of research, study and experiments, I released my first track. Of course, my friends from DJ community across the globe were always helpful in clearing off queries when I was struck at places, especially KASH TRIVEDI from India.
4. What parts of the production process do you find the most difficult and what comes easiest for you? When you do hit a creative block what helps you through it?
It is a tricky question. There is nothing like easy or difficult. For me, it takes more effort to get the sub & bassline right, where as making melodies takes comparatively lesser time and effort. Probably, it is difficult to read a creative mind. Sometimes when I’m in a right mood, I can make a track in a week and sometimes it takes months. What helps me is listening to some music from other producers or sometimes traveling. I get ideas to make music when Im traveling, waiting at the airport lounge or even sitting idle. Once I get a tune in my mind, I hum the music and record it in my phone. Once I get back to the studio, I start working on it.
5. What’s a normal day like for you? Do you have a job outside of electronic music? And what do you like to do when you’re not working on music?
A normal day starts early by 7:30 am considering the profession I’m in. I’ve teach DJing to aspirants in the morning followed by Music Production work and work related to my own label, Zephyr Music Records. I’ve no idea how time flies quickly amidst all this work. I make sure to take an hour’ s time off to spend sometime with family. Meanwhile, I get ready to Bottles and Chimney where I serve as a resident DJ. I also play at other hotspots in India. I’m also a part of Musifix which is Hyderabad’s No. 1 Artist Management Agency.
6. Apart from electronic music what other genres do you listen to and who are your favorite artists outside of electronic? and do these genres or artists have a direct effect on your own productions?
Yes! Most definitely. I love listening is Jazz music. There are so many artist who have cumulatively contributed in inspiring me in my work. So many that I ll not be doing justice if I name one and leave the other. One artist who has a major influence is A R Rahman from India. There are many other producers / DJs whose direct effect can be seen during my gigs or in my work.
7. What was the first and last physical (CD, Vinyl, Cassette etc) piece of music you bought?
I remember saving up little amount of money here and there to buy my first cassette. I still remember the name. It’s called ‘This is Trance : Trip 3 ‘ in June 2001. The last physical piece of music I bought is ‘In Search of Sunrise 7’
8. Tell us something about yourself that might surprise people?
I get nervous / conscious when my wife comes in front of me on the dance floor, when I’m playing. I can’t really find out a reason as to why but I do. Yeah!
9. Which producers in your opinion get consistently overlooked?
Those who do not network and showcase their positive contributions to music.
10. Which producers consistently inspire you? And where else does your inspiration come from?
Inspiration comes from nature, sitting on the beach by staring into space, traveling, during flights. Basically , when I’m off work.There are many to name but few who influenced me are Deadmau5, Shingo Nakamura, Dinka, Mango and EDX.
11. There are countless producers out there trying to find their way and create their own unique sound, what advice do you have for them?
I consider myself to be learning and evolving. However, a piece of advice to all the producers is to stick to their ears and make music which makes themselves happy instead of making music to convince or impress others.
12. If the final DJ/live set of your career was next week what would your last track be?
Reflekt – I Need to feel loved (Adam K & Soha vocal mix)
‘Komorebi’ is out now on Electronic Tree, you can purchase the release: here