Electronica in Shillong

By Audio Pervert - 6/01/2019

Shillong, capital of Meghalaya state, is known for rock, blues and reggae music. Traditions that have lasted decades with many men and women as leading artists, some known allover the country. The city is one of the most gender friendly places in India as of now. This year we are hearing about the surge of electronic music in cohorts with the newer generation in Shillong. However tiny in numbers, they are invoking change via synths, new sounds, DIY technology, small warm parties, dialogue and dance. The city is gradually giving way to new local talent and enthusiastic budding producers, synthesizer nerds along-with rappers, song-writers and DJs.

Shillong surrounded by rolling hills, clean air, still untouched by the devastation of progress, is inside a time-warp of sorts. With consequences positive and negative. "I have been into analog synthesis for almost five years and though I like to DJ as well, in Shillong it's hard to draw a lot of people for electronic music. The scene is just about picking up now I feel. It was not there earlier" states Varun Sabherwal, artist, DJ, promoter and handling hospitality business. Varun along with Arpan Purkayasthahas has created Global Illusions. The duo has curated various parties in the hinterland of Shillong providing much needed space for local DJs to slam their mixes for a tiny but upstart audience. "It's hard to call artists that we like to listen to, because Shillong is far away from the big cities. But we do have our own party scene here which is just 30 to 40 odd people, who dig dance music and beautiful spaces" says Paras, a DJ and home-grown producer. Varun Sabherwal plans to bring in more artists from urban india, especially those on the cutting-edge of genres, as well as music education based on technology . "I am working towards bringing more awareness, attention and electronic music into Shillong over the next 2 to 3 years. The idea is combine local talent and national and international mentors. The place has always been open to new music, and you can hear it in the new generation and local radio content."

Sculpt : 1st summit for synthesis and sound workshop in Shillong. Varun in collaboration with Audio Pervert, organised a day-long workshop followed by a live performance, to uncover basics of analog synthesizers, drum machines and how to play electronic music live. Get the laptop out the way ! The workshop though very small in size and scope, proved to be a surprise in terms of the participants as well as new ideas and possibilities that hatched up during the event. Complete newbies, singers and budding producers present at Sculpt were brimming with ideas and aspirations, full of questions and doubts. A small albeit very generous environment in the making. One can only look forward to a bigger event and more participants from Shillong... Listening to this little nook in India, hoping for more music, collaborations and events. Sculpt 2 will take place on May 24th May, offering modular synthesis courses and a live performance by Da Saz and Varun. 

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