Mumbai based Aditya Ashok aka OX7GEN is one of the hottest acts around at the forefront of the Drum & Bass evolution in India now. The drummer of Skyharbor, increasingly esteemed producer Aditya’s sound has been influenced by artists like Tycho, Danny Byrd, Sub Focus, Alice Perez, Carbon Based Lifeforms among others. After being in the industry since 2006, having played nearly every major festival in the subcontinent, almost a decade later Aditya released a brand new single ‘Trinity’ (27 April 2018) through UK’s Hospital Records’ sister label Med School Music. Trinity is a part of the most innovative release series ‘New Blood’, that has been responsible for discovering and nurturing the genre’s most promising new talent.
Music Plus caught up with Aditya for a small discussion where he spoke about the single, his upcoming projects, how he finished working on this tune a lot quicker, his dream collaboration and more. “It’s definitely something that I’ve been striving to do since I started producing Drum & Bass,” says Aditya about his new single. He goes on to add, “It’s slightly different from the liquid heavy sound that most of my releases have and is a bit more minimal and intricate than usual. You can hear the influences of artists like Bop and the Microfunk sound that I’ve been into for some time now.
Tell us more about it? How different is it from your previous pieces?
Trinity is the next step in my constantly evolving sound. I wanted to send it out to a few labels but before that, I sent it to Tony (London Elektricity) who has been very helpful with his feedback. I was pleasantly surprised when I got a reply saying that he as well as the A&R at Med School like the track and want to feature it on ‘New Blood’, You can hear influences of Russian Drum & Bass producer Bop’s minimal intricate style and the artists that release music on his label Microfunk. I always keep melody as top priority and from that perspective it still sounds like an OX7GEN track. Being a drummer, there’s a variety of break beats that move in and out as the song progresses.
Do you think Indian labels are not doing justice to homegrown electronic music producers? What was the idea behind releasing it on an international label?
Indian indie labels are relatively new to the game and will definitely take longer to have the outreach that international labels currently have. Releasing music on an international label not only enables you to get your music heard on a much larger scale; but also serves as a seal of approval from industry veterans who have been in the music scene for much longer. It’s also a great way to link up with other artists who are in a similar music space.
You shuffle your role as a producer and DJ (OX7GEN) and playing the drums for Skyharbor. How do you balance between both? Anything exciting in the pipeline?
Skyharbor schedules are known well in advance so it’s fairly easy to make sure things don’t clash. I’m currently working on a bunch of dance floor heavy tunes as well as setting up a regular Drum & Bass night in Bombay. I’d love to be able to work on a track with Reso. He’s one of the most innovative Drum & Bass producers in the game right now. All of his recent music has so much depth and emotion with very intricate sound design.
Outside of OX7GEN, as a part of Skyharbor we’re going to be touring the US a lot more, now that we have a brand new record forthcoming on the US-based label Good Fight/Entertainment One Music. The new Skyharbor album is going to be coming out in a few months.
After having played almost every major festival in India, also abroad, if you have to tell us your best and worst experiences? How different is it to perform abroad in terms of sound and crowd?
My best experience would probably be supporting Deftones in Europe last year. Worst would be random DJ sets around the country at clubs who aren’t used to hearing drum & bass and requests for Punjabi dance music start coming out. Since the music industry has been evolving for decades abroad, they have a much better infrastructure for bands and musicians. From that perspective, it’s a better experience. On the flip side, artists in India are pampered with flight tickets, hotel accommodation, free food, airport transfers etc. When we do international tours, the artist covers all their costs.
You have supported some heavyweights in Drum and Bass space like Kasra, Alix Perez, London Elektricity, and Dub Phizix during their India tour. Memorable one?
The London Elektricity tour was a highlight for me. Tony is a legend in terms of his role in the growth and sustenance of Drum & Bass around the world. He is not only the first drum & bass artist I ever heard, which ultimately made me fall in love with this style of music, but he’s also the label head of the most influential DnB label in the world – Hospital Records. Being able to travel with him and pick his brain for a few hours was quite an experience for me as a young DJ and producer.
Adding to that Aditya stated, “I don’t make and play Drum & Bass because it’s trendy or the in thing right now. It’s a fringe genre that’s been around from the 90s, going through various stages of ups and downs in different parts of the world. I do this because I love Drum & Bass. The genre has been evolving so beautifully, it’s massively inspiring.”
“I will never pigeonhole myself, but as long as I’m making music as OX7GEN, Drum & Bass will be around,” he signs off.