Multi-instrumentalist Akhlad Ahmed performs at the upcoming Bangalore pre-event of the Free Earth Festival

Sharing stages with global legends and dropping tracks on top labels, Akhlad has become an unstoppable force
Multi-instrumentalist Akhlad Ahmed performs at the upcoming Bangalore pre-event of the Free Earth Festival

Meet Akhlad Ahmed, the Mumbai-born musical maestro redefining India’s electronic scene. This multi-talented artiste isn’t just a DJ, he is a one-man show, crafting soulful melodies and electrifying performances with his live instruments. Sharing stages with global legends and dropping tracks on top labels, Akhlad has become an unstoppable force.

Prepare to be mesmerised by his unique fusion of folktronica and new-age sounds! As he gears up to take to the stage, we get into a candid chat with Akhlad to talk about his upcoming performance, his creative process and so much more…

You will be performing at the Bengaluru pre-event of the Free Earth Festival. How do you prepare for a live performance and what can the audience expect during your show?

I am very spontaneous. I never prepare setlists. My preparation is my daily practice. When performing, I assess the audience and play in the moment. Many rely on pre-made setlists but I trust my instincts and say ‘Bismillah’ before starting. By gauging the audience’s reactions, I tailor the music to their preferences. My performances blend spiritual symphonies with instruments like the flute and sitar with western dance music. I have new music and unreleased content coming soon too. It’s a surprise everyone can look forward to! So, it is going to be energetic and fun! Your music blends soulful melodies along with live instrumentation.

Can you elaborate on the influences that shaped your sound and how you developed this unique style?

4x4 techno electronic music focuses on the physical dance groove, engaging the body. The coalescence of the primitive and classical instruments like the sitar, the flute, and Indian classical singing, they all have very spiritual origins and it was always in order to trigger or stimulate your spiritual sense of being. My goal is to merge spirituality and physicality, allowing listeners to enjoy the dance groove while the melodies of the flute and other elements fill the soul with joy. This culmination of both worlds is what I strive to establish in my music for my audience.

In Frame: Akhlad Ahmed
In Frame: Akhlad Ahmed
Multi-instrumentalist Akhlad Ahmed performs at the upcoming Bangalore pre-event of the Free Earth Festival
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What is your creative process when composing new music? Do you have any rituals or specific methods you follow?

As a practicing Muslim, I pray five times a day, which serves as my meditation. Music also acts as meditation for me, where singing and playing for hours triggers adrenaline and profound sensations, leading to epiphanies. Riyaz, the practice of music, is therapeutic and meditative, immersing me in a trancelike state. My inspiration comes from meditation, my practices and creation itself, as we express the universe within us. Connecting deeply with nature enhances our ability to express creation. You’ve shared the stage with renowned artists like Monolink and Ben Bohmer.

How have these collaborations influenced your music and what have you learned from these experiences?

The visualisation of their creative flow is captivating, blending live performance with electronic elements. While everyone seeks to establish a unique identity globally, my inspiration comes from my own sources. I admire what others do and find it interesting, but I don’t draw inspiration from them. Our similarities and differences make it all the more fascinating. This individuality is what makes each artiste’s work unique and appealing.

What are your sources of inspiration?

My primary source of inspiration is my faith in God, who created the universe and all its expressions. Connecting with him through meditation and prayer allows me to breathe in and out the essence of creation. This awareness opens channels to absorb the universe. I also draw inspiration from legendary musicians like pandit Ravi Shankar and Zakir Hussain. Coming from a gharana, I value the discipline and rigorous practice it entails. True artistry is cultivated offstage through dedication and a disciplined lifestyle, making those onstage moments powerful and meaningful. Gratitude and humility are essential in this journey.

Looking ahead, what are your plans for the future? Are there any upcoming projects or collaborations you’re particularly excited about?

I am also an author; my book — Coalesce Coquito — will be published in three to four months. It explores how scriptures have hinted at scientific discoveries made in the last century, providing verses and allegories as evidence.

INR 1,199 onwards. June 15, 3 pm. At Kalinga, The LaLit Ashok Bangalore, Kumara Krupa Road.

Written by Namitha Acharya

Mail: indulge@newindianexpress.com

X: @indulgexpress

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