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Mixmag Asia Radio: 8-Bit Culprit strictly rolls with UKG & high octane grooves

"An emotionally charged groove expedition!"

  • Charles Budd
  • 28 September 2023
Mixmag Asia Radio: 8-Bit Culprit strictly rolls with UKG & high octane grooves

Faraz Ehsan aka 8-Bit Culprit landed his first DJ residency at the age of 15 — since then, he’s embraced the depth and diversity of India’s ever-growing music scene.

His no-genre bias has allowed him to navigate a plethora of styles, and attract the right labels to land his releases — his first release ‘Slugger’ with Dharmalogy dropped in 2016 on Soupherb Records with subsequent releases on homegrown label Qilla Records.

This year has been a remarkable step up for the committed artist, as his breakbeat single 'Refurbished Robots' made him the first Indian music producer to release on Maceo Plex's iconic imprint, Ellum Audio.

An artist who is part of the Indian export wave of electronic music, we are thrilled to have 8-Bit Culprit put together a high-energy mix that transgresses genres and plays by very few rules.

Tune in below.

Where are you based and how did you get there?

After spending a few years in Bangalore, I made the decision to return to my hometown, Kolkata, India. Now, I’m based here and have set up my own space to work and teach, combining my passion for music and sharing knowledge. It feels great to be back home and contributing to the music scene in Kolkata.

What’s your favourite thing about the music scene there?

My favourite thing about the music scene in Kolkata has to be its rich cultural diversity. The city is known for its vibrant and multifaceted music culture, combining traditional Indian classical music, Baul music, and various folk genres with contemporary styles such as rock, pop, and electronic music. Since 2008, I’ve been actively involved in Kolkata’s electronic music scene, which was then a small and close-knit community. However, post the pandemic, there has been a remarkable surge in listeners and attendees from diverse musical backgrounds. Now, we witness 6-7 electronic music events every night which in itself is a tremendous shift. The people of Kolkata embrace music with love and enthusiasm, creating a unique blend of tradition and modernity in the scene. It’s a captivating environment for both music enthusiasts and artists.

In five words, what do your DJ sets sound like?

An emotionally charged groove expedition!

And in three words, how would you describe yourself?

Curious, Story-teller, Evocative.

What recent trends in music have you been paying attention to? Have you caught onto them?

Currently, in the music industry, artificial intelligence and machine learning are playing a larger role in music creation and production, assisting artists in various aspects of their work. As an independent musician, I am experimenting with these tools if I need some fresh inspiration. Moreover, the trend of independent musicians using digital platforms to promote and distribute their music is continuing to grow. With this in mind, I am currently planning out a string of independent releases, taking advantage of these tools that make it easier to sculpt out a custom campaign.

Are there any producers and DJs in Asia that have recently caught your attention?

Sublime Sound from New Delhi, India — this young and multi-talented producer/instrumentalist is a force to reckon with, his musical sensibilities and discipline has paved the right way for him, creating captivating House and UKG heaters.

Rudoh from Karachi, Pakistan — after stumbling upon his Kiosk Radio set and witnessing his Keep Hush stint on YouTube, I discovered a diverse array of slick originals and some fine selections. His music has found its way into my DJ sets as well.

YNZN from Kathmandu, Nepal — highly recommended by friends who attended the Grasslands Festival, YNZN from Nepal left a lasting impression with his DJ Set. I checked out more of his sets online and found a striking similarity between my selections and the music I was playing here in India. His “Better Check Yourself” EP, released last year, is pure fire and has been on my radar ever since.

Describe one prediction you have about dance music in a post-pandemic world that’s being driven by new technologies.

AI-powered sound systems and spatial audio processing will create a more dynamic and personalised listening experience for each individual.

Tell us about the inspiration behind this mix - what drove your thoughts and emotions, and how did you curate your selection?

This mix is a product of my passion for storytelling through music. As a DJ, I find immense joy in weaving together a narrative that takes the listeners on a captivating journey. For this mix, I drew inspiration from a diverse range of styles, including UKG, breakbeat, acid-influenced house & techno, and some trance selections from the past for nostalgia. Crafting a mix is akin to embarking on a journey filled with surprises and emotions with a clear starting and ending point. Throughout this mix, I carefully plotted twists and genre-blending moments, creating an immersive experience that keeps the audience engaged (hopefully)! For me, creating DJ sets and curating mixes is not just about playing music - it’s about crafting an experience that lingers in the hearts and minds long after the last beat fades away.

What equipment did you record this mix on?

Pioneer CDJ 2000 and DJM 900 NXS2

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen happening from the DJ booth?

I once encountered an inebriated and troublesome middle-aged woman who repeatedly handed me her phone with absurd song requests. To have some fun, I pretended to answer her calls, disappointing her each time. After several attempts, she got angry, flicked me off, and left the club. This is a fool-proof technique I’ve used ever since, as many DJs in India face similar situations regularly!

Where can we hear you playing next?

I’m performing the last two shows of my tour across India post the release, at Miss Ginko, Kolkata on the seventh of October and Kai Room, Gurgaon on October 14th.

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