The new age Indian dance music producers and artists are creating their presence far and wide. 25 year old Praveen Achary really stands out amongst a wide array of up and coming talent the country has to offer. Countless hours in the studio over the last 5 years is really starting to pay off as Praveen has appeared on Cid Inc’s Replug Records, Eelke Kleijn’s Outside The Box Music and Santiago Garcia and Dark Soul Project’s Baires Records all within the last 15 months. As of this week you can now add Darin Epsilon’s Perspectives Digital to Praveen’s discography as his remix (in collaboration with Vipul) of D-Eye’s ‘Pulse’ has just been released. The remix has been selected by Beatport as the #2 Must Hear Progressive House record for this week and also currently sits at #7 in the Release Promo overall Hype Chart. We had a chance to chat with Praveen about his new remix, his new Juicebox Music imprint and a variety of other topics, a transcription of the interview is below and we hope you enjoy it.
1. How old are you and how long have you been producing / Djing?
Praveen: I’m 25 and I’ve been producing professionally for the past 5 years, DJ’ing for much longer.
2. What are your earliest memories of music, what did you listen to growing up? How did you get involved in electronic music and what made you decide to pursue it seriously?
Praveen: My earliest memories would be what my parents used to play at home and in the car, and that’s a lot of classical Indian music. I didn’t really understand it back then and started straying away towards the more popular music that was aired on the radio. Started to listen to different kinds of rock as well, since a lot of my school mates (plus band mates) were into that music. It was only until a cousin handed me Prodigy’s “Fat of The Land” and the whole thing just changed since then. I started digging music for DJ’ing and ended up travelling from Trance, Progressive, House to Techno. I still linger around the Progressive, House & Techno space now, but truly appreciate quality electronic / ‘digital’ productions. I decided to pursue music seriously when I realized that I was happier & doing far better with my music as a hobby, than I was as a computer programmer. I left my course in Canada and focused into developing my hobby into something more substantial. It was pretty tough at first, because at that point, music wasn’t a ‘career’ option due to instability, but it turned out well now.
3. You currently reside in India which has really blown up recently in terms of the party scene and electronic music in general, what do you think that is attributed to and do you get a chance to DJ in your home country very much? And how is Bangalore compared to other cities there? Do you have plans to move somewhere else in the future?
Praveen: Electronic music was existent here for quite some time, but never really caught the mass bug. It blew up exponentially over the past 3-4 years and that’s thanks to a global change in what ‘pop’ music was influenced by as well. In addition to that, there are dedicated promoters, clubs and artists that consistently push different sounds through their events. Over a span of time, communities that appreciated different ‘sections’ started spreading the word on their own and started developing scenes. When I first moved to India, I couldn’t play out as much since I was pretty much a newbie in a country dominated by DJs that have ‘made it’, this was another reason for me to focus on my productions which helped me step up on a different platform. Nowadays, I’m gigging in different cities across India and quite frequently in my home town – Bangalore. I absolutely love this city, the audience here are well versed with their music and its a little challenging, but pleasing, to perform here. You’ve always got to bring something new to the table. Plus, the weather here is amazing, a lot more closer to the kind of weather I’m was used to while growing up. I wouldn’t really move to another city in India, but I’m contemplating moving to another country much later, just to get some fresh air.
4. You also lived in Toronto, Canada for a while, if I’m not mistaken you were attending Ryerson University at the time. How long were you in Toronto and what did you think of the cities music and party scene? Did you get to experience it at all?
Praveen: Haha, yeah. My stint in Toronto was quite short, I stayed there for almost 2 years. I couldn’t really check out the music scene over there as I underage at that point. I did sneak into a couple gigs at Guvernment and some other venues which I can’t remember now. Those few nights were quite memorable and really kind of sparked my move towards being involved with music as a career. I’d love to come back for a visit or something, meet up with new t-dot folks.
5. 2013 has gotten off to an incredible start for you; you’ve had a single on Cid Inc’s Replug label, a remix for Eelke Kleijn on his Outside The Box label and now this week your remix (in collaboration with Vipul) of D-Eye is out on Darin Epsilon’s Perspectives Digital. What can you tell us about this remix? You guys live about 32 hours by car apart so was it a matter of passing files back and forth or did you manage to get some studio time together??
Praveen: Thank you and yes, 2013’s kicked off really well. The remix for Darin’s “Perspectives Digital” is really special for both Vipul & I. We received the request late December and this is the month that we’re extremely busy gigging but we couldn’t say no as it was something we both wanted to do. It didn’t help that we both lived in cities that are in the complete opposite parts of India though, haha! We do travel back and forth just to visit each other, play at each others’ city and work on some music together too. When we met up in Goa late December for Sunburn Festival, we had a chat about how a direction to take for this particular remix. We then travelled to Bombay for a NYE gig together and in the cab, Vipul showed me a base groove which he came up with & I loved it, we sat down and just finalized the direction. Then when we went back to our cities, sent the files back and forth and ended up finishing it.
6. Is that your first studio collaboration? And if so how was it for you? Is it something you could see yourself doing more of in the future?
Praveen: Actually, our first real product of our collaboration is an original called “Future Echoes” that’s coming out on my label – Juicebox Music. The remix for D-Eye on Perspectives is our second finished production. We’re super happy with both and we’ve been in talks of doing more collaborations through the year. There are quite a few original projects lying in our drives, so we’re going to work on it whenever we visit each other. The energy, balance and the combination between our sounds seems to be a perfect match for us.
7. So a lot of our readers are probably wondering what your studio setup is like, can you tell us a bit about that?
Praveen: It’s pretty small. I work off a Macbook Pro, running Ableton (sometimes Rewiring Reason) with a select few virtual instruments & plug-ins that I’m comfortable with. I’ve got a Novation MIDI Keyboard which I used to use quite a bit, but lately I just end up becoming so mobile that I work with the laptop and headphones. For the final mix, I’ll plug it to my PreSonus soundcard and mix it through my Samson Rubicon monitors. I’m working on revamping the studio this year though, so the whole studio setup will be completely different.
8. What parts of the production process do you find the toughest? and what comes easiest for you?
Praveen: Mixing down as well as arrangement is a pain! I tend to become so demotivated when I can’t get it done right, to the point where projects that have a great idea just collect dust. Now that you’ve mentioned it, I’ve got to dig them back up now, haha. The easiest part for me is melodies (+ counter melodies) and probably having the base groove set down, that process just takes me less than an hour or two at max.
9. Where does your studio inspiration come from? What producers consistently inspire you? Who are some of your favourites? And what up and coming producers do you think have a great future?
Praveen: I’m inspired by a number of things, but mostly from listening to other amazing productions. Music that I play out in radio shows, clubs or even listening to other DJs pull out amazing tracks during their sets. Then again, sometimes the inspiration comes from the most random places – stargazing on rooftops, looking down at the clouds on flights, even bathroom reverbs! Hahaha! If you listen to my sets, you’ll always find the the same number of seasoned producers that are always trying to push the boundary within their own space & I never miss out any of their productions. It’s quite a list to put out right now, haha. Lately the whole Argentinian clan have been on top form and guys like Poison Pro, Verve and MUUI are definitely going to have a bright future!
10. Rumor has it you have a new label in the works, can you tell us a bit about that and what you have planned for it and lastly when can we expect to see the first release?
Praveen: Yes indeed! The label’s name is “Juicebox Music” and it was primarily set up as a platform for me to represent my sound through a brand than my artist name. I want to include artists that I’ve constantly supported over the years, fresh talent that deserves a better platform as well as help put India on a larger picture, globally. We’ve got a couple of releases already lined up including artists like Dio S, Rodrigo Mateo, Simon Firth, Rikesto, Nikko.Z as well as Indian artists like Tanseer, AU and Color Ray. As mentioned earlier, the collaboration between Vipul & I called “Future Echoes” is the first release and will be available on March 11th through Beatport.com.
11. What advice would you give to producers hoping to get their tracks signed to Juicebox? How would you suggest they approach it?
Praveen: The best advise is to listen to my sets and if the vibe is similar, the chances are higher for me to be interested in picking it up. Of course, there are the off chances that the track may not be ‘dancefloor’ material but has amazing musical content, I’m always up for that too. Melodies are key, otherwise the groove has to be really good! If you’ve got something that fitsthe criteria, do send over a private MP3 copy to – email@example.com
12. When you sign a new original track for Juicebox what criteria do you think about when choosing a remixer for it? and is there a point where a release can have too many mixes? Many labels are doing 4-5 remixes or even more what are your thoughts on this?
Praveen: I try to find remixers that compliment the original and are in a completely different space. Even if all the mixes are within the ‘progressive’ genre, there are different spaces too. This helps give the release a wider appeal plus the mixes don’t fit for the same audience support within the same pack. As a rule of thumb, I try not to go over 2 remixes for one original, it just doesn’t make any sense to have any more. People may not have the patience to listen to every single mix as well. Its better to have a good original and good 2 remixes than a good original, 1 great remix and 5 mediocre ones. Hell, sometimes you just don’t need a remix at all if you’ve got a great EP with 2 outstanding originals.
13. You have a radio show under the Juicebox name as well, it airs monthly on friskyRadio, are the sets we hear on the radio a good representation of a club set from you or are they somewhat different and which one of your own productions do you play the most at your gigs?
Praveen: The Juicebox sets on friskyRadio are a true representation of where my actual sound lies. Unfortunately, the problem is that this sound isn’t exactly ‘club’ material in India … at least not yet. I’ve been playing a few tracks here and there between my sets, wherever fit. This kind of sound requires at least 3-4 hours to ‘build up’ and the traditional timeslot you get in India is 1 hour, 1.5 tops. Plus with a deadline of 11:30pm in Bangalore, its not the ideal situation. I usually end up playing Deep House, Tech House & Techno-ey sound live. There have been gigs in different cities where I manage to play my ‘Juicebox’ sound, which had an absolutely fantastic response, so I’ve got faith in it. The label will end up picking up tracks which I could play on either the show or live. I’ve played “Space Machine” and the “Future Echoes” more than the others.
14. Production wise what are you working on right now, anything you can tell us about?
Praveen: I’m working on a remix for Ben Summers which will be out on Stripped Recordings and a remix for MakTub, which is a bit more of a sexier deep house vibe. Lots of originals to be completed for a couple really good labels that I can’t disclose at the moment, but they’re ones that I’m really excited to associating with.
15. What artist or track would you love to remix in the future?
Praveen: Ah, that’s a great question! I’d love to remix Way Out West’s “Don’t Forget Me”. I’ve already worked on a small bootleg version, but it’s all messy. If Nick & Jody would be interested and could send over the stem files, I’ll definitely finish it, haha! I’ve wanted to give “Telefon Tel Aviv – The Birds” a try too, another one would be Starkid’s “Crayon”, though it’s almost taboo to touch it.
16. What do you like to do for fun outside of the music? and do you have a regular job?
Praveen: I used to have a lot of time to spend outside of music where I’d play football, video games and photography. Lately, its just been more of a relaxing situation, chilling with friends to get refresh my mind. I do have a regular job, I’m working with The Inventory, a pro-audio dealership where we sell them online (or at our store in Chennai) as well as handling marketing in India for multiple brands. Yes, gear-head heaven ;)!
17. Apart from electronic music what other genres do you listen and who are your favourite artists outside of electronic?
Praveen: Ah, well isn’t every electronic music nowadays? Haha! Barring the usual suspects, I listen to a number of random albums recommended by friends, some of them are really good and I get quite motivated to just make something similar in a more digital way, but outside of electronic ‘dance’ music. As for artists, I don’t really have any favorites though.
18. In a perfect world where do you see yourself in 2 years time?
Praveen: 2 years go by really quickly, so I’ll probably still be doing what I’m doing right now, but hopefully on a larger scale.
19. Praveen Achary Current Favourites (you can list more than one per category if you like)
TV Show: Suits
Video Game: Fifa 2013
Album: Flying Lotus – Until The Quiet Comes, Bonobo – Black Sands
Track / Song: None
Producer / Band: Way too many to list.
Record Label: microCastle, Sudbeat, Replug, Baires, Bedrock, GEM.
DJ: John Digweed
20. If the final DJ set of your career was next week what would be your last record be?Praveen: Telefon Tel Aviv – The Birds
21. What can we expect to see in 2013 from Praveen Achary and Juicebox?
Praveen: More music from me, an alternative alias album, Juicebox label nights in India and hopefully you’ll see me more in different countries too.
Interview courtesy of: Release Promo
Release Promo would like to send a huge thanks to Praveen for taking the time to do this interview.
Praveen’s remix (in collaboration with Vipul) of D-Eye’s ‘Pulse’ is out now on Darin Epsilon’s Perspectives Digital, you can purchase the release: here