“If I can hear it in the head, it’s easy to create” In Conversation With Hashbass

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Harshit Misra aka Hashbass, multi-instrumentalist and producer based in Delhi, is a well-known name in the music circuit. Having played with various notable names like Prateek Kuhad, Shubha Mudgal, Kamakshi Khanna, Prabh Deep, Hash Bass has finally released his debut electronica EP ‘1011’ in collaboration with Bengaluru-based keyboardist Bharath Kumar. We got in touch with him to find out more about his music, his journey and his process.

Tell us about your childhood. How did you get into music? Were your parents into music too?

A very oiled up school going boy who lives alone in his house since the age of 12 because his parents work and the only thing he gets hooked onto is listening to music in cassettes / radio, eventually CDs, and playing unreal tournament on cheat codes. Yeah! That kid is me. My mom who I have mentioned before was always into great music listening and she made me hear ABBA, George Michael, Lionel Ritchie when I was really young. All I could understand out of it was that it was western music and I really loved the beats and voices, my nana used to have a gramophone and in my summer holidays he used to play these records (Vinyl’s) and then a lot more of Hindi too. I think it had to happen that music just was around more than an instrument playing it was just music playing I literally heard a lot of music, it was this companion to me when I was failing classes, getting good marks, falling for my crush or hell even going to nirulas when I scored well in exams. It also became so intense I would listen to one song for one full week, buy tapes as rewards and then record on them via the radio air FM rainbow shows that played English music. Pretty crazy man!!!

Why did you choose to play the bass? What’s the earliest memory you have of your instrument?

I never in my lifetime thought I would be a bassist, music was a hobby for me till the age of 18. I used to play keyboards, started from Pehla asha and Christmas carols, until I reached my college and wanted to join a bad and saw a few seniors play before and saw this guy playing a 4 string instrument while making these melodic and rhythmic sounds and I was like yeah I want that!!! Long story short I went to a music store with my dad and said I want a bass having no clue just picked up (I am a LEFTY by the way) and never knew that left hand basses existed and slowly started playing I sounded so bad but I remember I played single notes with so much feel and energy that it did become a part of me and then I just watched a lot of players and worked my way.

You’ve mentioned that you play with a lot of acts. How do you manage this?

At one point I was playing fulltime/ sessions for at least 12-13 acts and that was retarded still is I love juggling from different artist to acts and challenging myself, its fun a lot of endurance, fitness both mental and physical. You’ve got to bring you A+++ game and a lot is looked upon you, I manage myself and I figured correct ways from calendar notifications to shamelessly asking for sheet music to speed up my work and manage things better. There have been days where I have not lived up but those only taught me to get better and faster and quicker at what I do!! I LOVE IT

What’s that one thing that you look in an act or artist before you decide to join?

The music they give out does it connects to me? Does it make me move to a certain level? What can I bring more to their sound and if they would want me to bring in my own sounds on the bass if I can do. One major thing I also look into their energy and vibe and touchwood everybody I have worked have been kind and willing to have me onboard to do the music.

Among all the acts that you are a part of, which one’s the most challenging to play with?

Wow … I remember playing in this amazing trio set with these 2 legendary musicians who blessed Delhi at one point Sava Boyadzhiev and Francisco Lelo De Larrea and that was a challenging gig with some amazing tunes I had never heard and had to play.
Another act that keeps me challenging is the electro-jazz trio DCF_shapes. All 3 of us challenge each other with tunes and remember all the tunes for a nonstop set.

Tell us a bit about your latest release, ’10/11′

Bharath Kumar and me, we both play in the trio dcf_shapes, have been toying with the idea of doing a 2-day lock-down session and then seeing what we get out of it. But since we are from different cities, and play with different artists, our schedules rarely match and when we did find a little window in June, we blocked our calendars and locked ourselves in my home studio in Bangalore for 2 days. Trusting in our ability of being able to feed off each other’s ideas, we hoped that we would be able to pull something original and exciting out of these days and there you go we came out with 10/11.

Any interesting anecdote from your album recording process?

I Remember me using a toy vibraphone the one you get for small kids to record on this track called ‘push start‘ which is our version of childhood arcade rounds to nearest shops (LISTEN TO IT!). I also used ghungroo’s and shakers to record on it. Like I said we both dived into and found these natural ways to make music. I remember BK as I call him he had these different ideas of using Krishnamurthy’s voice on tracks.

What’s your music making and recording process like?

My process is like a very natural flow, being a bassist I try not to come up with a bass groove rather I always hear the drums, it’s the drums man they got to knock and if they grooving it gives me an instant idea to lay down a bass groove. Hear a melody put down and build it from there.
The recording process is pretty much sorted in my head and with the gear since I record a lot of session bass and I use zero effects or compression and do believe in creating the tone directly from the bass.
Above all keeping it simple yet knowing what sound you want is my key to work. Like if I can hear it in the head it’s easy to create or fine-tune it.

Hear Hash Bass’ Ep 1011 here :

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