Exclusive: 8-Bit Culprit on the rise of electronica in Kolkata, his first Denon and his new year's eve set
Kolkata-based electronic music sensation 8-Bit Culprit aka Faraz Ehsan was just 15 when he borrowed money from his parents to buy a Denon 2600F mixer. “I would do all kinds of gigs! Be it in clubs or parties,” the self-taught music producer tells us. Though his moniker 8-Bit Culprit is eight years old, Ehsan has been part of the underground music scene for almost 16 years now and has quite literally seen it shape up. The artiste’s last EP Triptower was a highly psychedelic collaboration with techno artiste Ash Roy and earned rave reviews.
8-Bit Culprit is also set to perform at TopCat CCU on New Year’s Eve, and we caught up with him to talk about everything underground. Excerpts:
Tell us about the kind of energy you find in the Kolkata underground scene
I've performed extensively across the country, and in Kolkata of late, so many younger people are stepping out and are curious about alternative music. Even till a few years back, people would only go out for gigs; now it's an entirely new scene altogether. Listeners are on their way to be more educated about electronic music.
Tell us what you're planning for your New Year's eve set
I've decided to play some of my newer stuff which is set to release next year, some exclusive bootlegs, I'm hoping it would be a good surprise for people
Tell us what you're releasing next
I've got a whole bunch of music planned out, there are at least eight to ten numbers which I plan to release over the next few months
How has your sound evolved in 16 years?
Now I've found the space which I can say is mine, my next projects are more experimental and fresher. I'm doing a lot of melodic breaks, it has a hypnotic and atmospheric quality about it, it's also groove-oriented. They have borrowed some retro influences from UK underground music. I'm doing a lot of downtempo as well. I'd like to think my sound is intricate and well-thought-of.
Can you tell us a little about your foundational influences? Sounds which shaped your work...
When I was starting out, I got introduced to Shpongle (England-based electronica music project by Raja Ram and Simon Posford), and it changed my life because the level of thought that these guys had put in, it was a totally different world altogether.
Do you enjoy the music scene in the country as a performer?
Absolutely, I think this is the best time to be a part of the scene in India right now. We have such topnotch sets and brilliant music here, we are at par with the big artistes.
You also have a school in the city...
Yes, I run Gravit8 Studios where I teach music and I have so many students who like the style and want to make new music. It's mostly software-based music, with Ableton etc. My youngest pupil is 16, and my oldest student is 44. I'm doing my part to educate more and more people about it, so the East becomes representative of the best sounds in the country.