An interview with Indian-electronic artist Soumik Datta.
Indian-electronica artist Soumik Datta opens up about the importance of autonomy in production and all the things that inspire his unique sound. Plus, he reveals how the pandemic has affected his creativity and productivity over the last few months.
Soumik Datta / Photo Credit: Souvid Datta
For those who may be new to your music, how best would you describe your sound?
My sound mixes Indian classical music with colourful electronic production to make organic, pulsing, string-based, rootsy, cinematic music.
What challenges have you faced in the music industry so far?
As an innovator, I found it difficult to find my spot, nestled somewhere between the traditional acoustic world and experimental electronica. But once you find your tribe and your audience, it gets significantly easier to know who you are making this music for. After that its about pouring all your energy, hope and vibrations into these songs so that they can reach out and touch your listeners.
How difficult would you say this career path is in terms of making a name for yourself?
Music is a challenging career anyway and often it needs to be supported by additional streams. Working as a freelancer has its own ups and downs as well but if you're passionate about sound and love connecting with people through it, then the difficult times will be well worth it!
How important is it for you to have creative control over the work you produce?
I produce all my own work as I believe all the elements of production are part of composition. It's not only about the lyrics and the hook melody. Every reverb, delay and compressor you use shapes the audio. EQ decisions can change the feel of entire sections. Recording techniques can influence how a voice is carried through tape. All these decisions have to be choices you make to sculpt the audio - which as a producer, you're chiselling out of air, with an invisible hammer!
Where do you draw influence and inspiration from for your work?
I'm hugely inspired by nature and wildlife. In India, there are ancient songs for changing seasons and even for times of the day. Both my previous EP and the new single Tiger Tiger, are celebrations of nature and responses to the impacts of climate change.
If you could collaborate with anybody going forward, who would you choose and why?
I'd love to collaborate with Sigur Ros. They. Are. Epic!
Tell us a random, funny fact about you that not many people know.
I'm a Marvel fan and know every single dialogue from Avengers: Endgame. It's terrifying. I know!
Do you have definitive aims or goals for your career?
The lockdown has been hugely insightful and I've had time to reflect on many aspects of my work and life. Gong forward I'd like to stop thinking of a 'career' and rather ask myself 'What would I like to do with my time here?' This has been a wonderful discovery over the last month and I look forward to announcing a range of new and diverse projects that are now in the pipeline!
Where do you hope to be this time next year?
With some luck - not in lockdown! I'd love to be in the Hindu Kush region where I'm planning a new project in collaboration with scientists who work there to explore the impact of climate change around the Himalayas. I'd love to explore if their findings can be source material for new music and creation.
What should we expect from you in the coming weeks and months?
I am working on a large scale new commission that addresses our time in lockdown. I'm excited but also terrified to work on a project that attempts to capture our collective human experience in quarantine and reflect it through music.
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