Delhi's bass artiste Stain comes up with a brand new EP, Observation
Delhi-based producer Sourodeep Guha, who goes by the moniker Stain is creating some of the most exploratory, sub-heavy sound designs, and is a crucial name in the experimental bass circuit. But the DJ refreshingly admits that like most of us, he did not grow up on ‘good music,’ what with the Bollywood and hip-hop starter pack featuring heavily on our after-school pop culture playlists. But Stain, who is also one of the first members of the Delhi-based five-member bass collective Sub-Z, reveals that it was at the 2016 Magnetic Fields Festival, when he witnessed the Bristol dubstep pioneer Pinch aka Rob Ellis, that he knew what he wanted to do. Pinch, of course, is famous for his elaborate fusion of styles, in which he brings together reggae, hard-hitting dubstep, and even qawwali.
Stain’s new three-track EP Observation also aspires to a similarly ambitious range, by breaking away from the abstruse and winding bass detail, and achieves something organically dynamic. “My EP is a mash-up of many ideas which I had been toying with for a while. The main idea behind the EP was to get feedback for my tunes from listeners. I wanted to know what people feel about what I make. That’s like the literal meaning of the EP’s title,” Stain tells us.
This DJ’s use of reggae, jungle, dancehall and dubstep has earned him a significant following. Stain opened up about the first time he witnessed the BFR Soundsystem Session hosted by dancehall/ska artistes Delhi Sultanate and Begum X, which famously featured a custom-built Jamaican-style sound system. “On that day when the bass kicked in, I was like ‘Oh! There is the energy, the low end!’ Later, I dug deeper into reggae music and studied about its history. Then, when I got introduced to Reggae Rajahs (the Delhi-based fivemember reggae crew), everything changed. They allowed me to play reggae and dancehall at their gigs. I also remember how DJ MoCity (Iraq-based reggae/electronica artiste) helped me with concepts like ‘Riddim Juggling’ and why we do this and how we do this. That was all very iconic for me because for almost a year I used to just watch soundclash videos of Delhi Sultanate and Reggae Rajahs on YouTube, and now they were supporting me!” says Stain, who also hosts a weekly radio show called Sub-Z Sessions on boxout.fm every Saturday. Indian percussion and homegrown influences are also a steady feature of Stain’s impeccably curated discography. The DJ reveals that talking about his own roots, helps his sound’s perspective.
“I do use a lot of Indian sounds in my music because those are my roots. I can’t be staying in India and be talking about the African-American experience. I would rather take inspiration from around me and represent my country’s sound,” Stain reveals. About his sound, he further elaborates, “I prefer having a much simpler and smarter way of laying down my tracks than overcomplicating them and sitting on them for a while. I use a lot of percussions and some intricate drum patterns to get that groove, but nothing super intense. Heavily influenced by dub producers, my tracks are dubby too. Even when I am making a jungle track, they are very dubby and have Indian influences in them.”
Stain’s new EP Observation is available on Soundcloud