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M.MAT INTERVIEW

[Artists, Events]

Bhavishyavani Future Soundz was formed in the mid ‘90s by like-minded people when it was not possible to listen to DJ mixes online; and clubs were playing exclusively Bollywood and Retro. The crew’s first parties were held in dodgy bars managed by mafia goons, followed by multiple events in Bombay’s hippest and shadiest venues. Visual artists, graphic designers, filmmakers and sound engineers all formed a part of this collective. Although a Future Soundz event is a contemporary urban clubbing experience in its conception, their aesthetic is locally rooted.

Over the years, the gigs have come to have a cult following with the young Mumbai crowd as well as similar collectives all over the world. At the beginning of the 21st century, the collective was joined by a crew of French refugees in Bombay: Charlee, MMAT and Loopkin. This weekend, MMAT will get behind the console for a special night of four top acts at Pebble. Here, he chats about his early days in India, his role as promoter and DJ, and some of his favourite parties.

How did the Bhavishyavani Crew move from doing drum n bass parties in the late ’90s / early 2000s to organising more eclectic 4X4 nights?
Charlee, Loopkin and I were in India were doing our own stuff in Delhi and Bombay. Charlee was with the Buba Tree collective – more dub/jazz-oriented while Cyril and I were under the Fresh Air banner in Delhi and Bombay. We used to party with the Bhavishyavani crew (Tee, Kutklass, Insat, Bhaisab) quite often. And then the Laurent Garnier tour took place in 2004 in India. For the Bombay event, Bhavishyavani / Grandmother India took care of the décor and design, so we decided to work together. As far the music goes, the drum n bass-inclined members like Insat and Bhaisab got more involved in other personal project, so we were the ones playing. And our influences are definitely more 4×4.

The earlier Bhavishyavani Crew organized parties in shady bars and converted them into party spots. The current crew holds its parties in fancier places like Aurus but you haven’t compromised on the music. Which one of the two is a tougher ask?
Any party in this city is tough to promote. We definitely want to keep an underground edge in what we do because this is where we come from. The problem is that in smaller, shady venues, it is harder to get the means to an end. We are happy to play for no money for fun parties but if you want the scene to grow and bring international artists you need to finance it.  Abroad, you can do this through profit sharing with the venue (which is no common here) but here you rely almost entirely on sponsoring. You are then drawn to fancier venues because they are the ones sponsors want to work with.

Having said that, our parties at venues like Aurus work because the owners and management are great friends who understand what we want to do. They don’t question the artistic direction of the event and they have one of the best spots in town to do it. Ultimately, we need to strike a balance between the event we want to produce and the people we want to come and party with us.



How different was the scene and what were your impressions of it when you first moved here from France?
My first impression in Delhi was that there was not much on the plate in term of dance music. There were  fun rave parties in farm houses but ultimately I don’t connect to psy trance beyond the “rave party with friends” aspect of it.  Luckily when I moved the company I was working for had the budget to ship some stuff from France. I took that opportunity and moved my turntables and records here. After a few weeks, we started organising small rooftop parties in Delhi. This led to a gig in a club at the Park Hotel where the owner liked it and then we got to organize a monthly night there. If I remember correctly, the Midival Punditz also organised their Cyber Mehfil parties back then.

What is the most rewarding aspect of organising and promoting the parties?
I like a good party, so it’s satisfying to see a full house bouncing to an artist we have struggled to bring over to India. We book artists in quite a selfish manner – because we love what they do, irrespective of their popularity in India. So it is also quite rewarding when artists like Mathew Jonson or dOP tell you that the party you have organized is one of the best of the year for them. It doesn’t have to be the biggest party to be the most fun, most of the time it’s the people who make the party.
Between the promoting, booking and organising, how do you find time to DJ and collect tunes? Has it made DJing tougher?
What has made collecting tougher is the amount of music available. It is harder to find good music considering the vast output out there. Also, I quite like digging for old gems so I am not too worried about collecting the newest tracks. Checking out tracks still takes up lots of my free time (and it doesn’t make my wife happy).

Who is your favourite DJ within the crew and if you had to pick one Indian DJ who stands out, who would it be?
I like Charlee for his eclecticism, Loopkin for his no-nonense techno and Insat for his experimental sets full of old gems  (even though he doesn’t DJ that often any more). With Indian DJ, I’d say Uri for a dose of funk grooves, Raffael Kably for a dub-influenced solo set and Arjun Vagale for all things techno.

Can you pick out your most memorable Hennessy Artistry gig?
The show with Shri, JC001 and Bandish Projekt was amazing – a live jam and great vibe between the artists who had never performed together before.

 



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