Tomorrow’s Ribbit May Just Be Your Ticket To Abbey Road Studios In Disguise
Brain child of Nikhil Kaul (Frame/Frame) and Vishnu PS (Soulspace), Lowlit is a Dilli waali record label, artist manager and mini to major idea thinker with the vision to put Indian electronica music on the global map. We spoke to our main men to discuss what keeps them busy during most of the day and break down ‘BeatDesk’ a producer’s pit (and fantasy. We’ll tell you why soon.) which is the highlight of the first Ribbit in Mumbai this year.
1. Give us some dope about Lowlit and how it all came to be. Oh, also, where is it heading?
The initial idea for Lowlit came up because Vishnu and I were discussing how disjointed the electronic music scene in the country can sometimes be. While it's amazing to watch the sheer amount of independent electronic music that's coming out of India at this point, we felt that often, it doesn't seem to have any sort of organized representation from the point of view of a lay person trying to find this music. This is one of the main needs that Lowlit aims to fulfil.
2. To someone who has no clue about what a ‘Beat Roulette’ is, how would you explain it?
BeatRoulette is pretty much the only way we thought as many as 20 people can jam without causing total chaos! All the attending producers will be seated in a circular fashion. In the center will be one machine hooked up to several instruments - analog synthesizers, microphones, guitars etc. Each producer has 16 bars in which to put down a part using any of the available instruments. The idea is to be able to create a singular piece of music collaborating with fellow producers you might have never even met before.
3. There’s also the Mash! Before people float away in their potato fuelled fantasies, tell us what exactly your Mash is! and how is it going to sustain itself as a property in the future.
Mash! is a time-based music production challenge. Each of the producers will pick chits that contain names of samples from a pre-prepared sample bank - anything from sounds of the rain, to drum breaks and vocal acapella. The idea is to use the samples you've selected to create a piece of music in 45 minutes using their laptops and headphones. The tracks will then be reviewed and the two best will be selected by a special jury comprising of Lowlit representatives and music professionals from Bombay. Further, these tracks will be developed with the help of members from the Lowlit community of artists and send to the legendary Abbey Road Studios in London for mastering following which they will be uploaded to a new playlist on the Lowlit soundcloud page called Mash! which will hopefully grow bigger with each subsequent edition.
4. How does one strategize and prep to emerge victorious? Any secret tips?
I think one thing the judges will definitely be looking at how naturally the samples fit into the compositions. Whether this entails pitching something up or down, changing the scale or the tempo, the idea is to be able to make the beat as reflective of their individual personality as producers as possible. Originality is absolutely key here!
5. Also, the winner of the Mash! gets his product sent to Abbey Road Studios to be mastered which is the cherry on the cake. Actually, it’s more like the whole cake itself. Tell us about how Lowlit brought this to fruition.
I met with Joshua from Bohemia Junction, who represent Abbey Road Studios in India at this edition of Lost Party and spoke to him extensively about Lowlit and our goals of the future. We were both eager to find a way of collaborating. BeatDesk really gave us the opportunity to do us and I really hope this marks the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship - one that makes us producers in India sound way, way better!
6. How much does a typical master cost at the Abbey Road Studio?
A typical digital master at Abbey Road Studios can cost anywhere upwards of Rs. 15,000 for the quality of mastering achieved by The Beatles and Pink Floyd right down to artists such as Fatboy Slim and Aphex Twin.
7. Anything surprises that we can expect from the Frame/Frame Live set?
Lots and lots of new material, my attempts at playing the keys and some serious dancing.
So, along with tomorrow’s event being wet dream material for every producer who can make it (C’mon how many other cost-free ways to Abbey Road Studios do you know?), Ribbit will see a half hour workshop by Sanaya Ardeshir aka Sandunes on ‘Self-Management 101’, followed by never-seen-before music experiments and performances by Frame/Frame, Big City Harmonics, Malfnktion and Soulspace.
P.S – Enter sharp at five with your Macs and headphones and stay right till the end for free or if you’d rather leave the music making biz to others and settle for fan-boying/girling from the crowd, entry is 250 bucks (includes one drink on the house.)