The foundation of any musical work is an idea, which might range from a shaky tune to a collection of emotionally relatable phrases. But to turn a raw composition into a full-fledged masterpiece, takes hours of production work, tinkering with MIDIs & thousands of samples. Then further mixing it by struggling with EQ, compression, and reverbs and finally giving it a pleasing touch of mastering.
I remember when I used to play around with Virtual DJ & Audacity in school to mix songs for cultural events. Even to correctly match the transitions & tempo would give me ‘Tiesto’ like vibes. Well, if production was easy then everybody would be jumping on the train to become the next Rick Rubin or Dr. Dre. On that note, we bring to you a list of 5 visionaries that have helped in the formation of phenomenal sounds behind some of the ground-breaking acts in the independent scene. This list is no way exhaustive and we recognise that we might have missed some producers who are out there doing a great job.
1. Karan Kanchan
Mumbai based Self-taught beatsmith Karan started by producing bass inflected trap beats and he quickly established a distinctive sound by seamlessly merging powerful dubstep trap with Japanese traditional instruments such as the Wagakki. After collaborating with rapper Naezy for his track ‘AANE DE’, his roots were firmly entrenched in the hip-hop scene. Since then, the 23-year old producer has coherently worked on multiple hip-hop projects with Divine, Aavrutti after getting signed to Gully Gang Entertainment’s independent venture. Kanchan also launched a royalty-free Sound-bank called ‘Sounds of Bedroom Producers’ that features over 800+ samples created by varying artists such as Jazz-funk queen Aditi Ramesh, electro-hop projects DJ Sickflip, Sez on the Beat, progressive electronic act Plastic Parvati, and more.
2. Vivek Thomas
Indian Recording Arts Academy award winner Vivek Thomas is a go-to person for many indie artists in the scene when it comes to building/fixing their songs. This Kerala-born producer/vocalist is the man behind the sound of country/folk-rock band ‘When Chai Met Toast’. Thomas has his own recording studio in Kochi where he has worked on mixing, mastering, and producing some of the finest works for known bands (including WCMT) such as The Down Troddence, Shubhangi Joshi Collective, The Pineapple Express, Dhruv Visvanath to name a few. Vivek Thomas was also the lead vocalist for the Carnatic fusion-Rock band ‘Motherjane’ during 2011-2017. He won the IRAA award for the When Chai Met Toast’s song ‘Khoj’ in 2019.
3. Sez On The Beat
Started from a basic mixing software like Virtual DJ, Sajeel Kapoor quickly caught up with all-things production and has sparked a revolution in the scene over the course of his formative years. The man who doesn’t need an intro – Sez on the Beat, has reinvented the definition of Hip-Hop in India & has helped many artists to push the envelope in the indie circuit. Sez has worked with eminent artists like Divine, Naezy, Badshah, Zaeden, Prabh Deep, Seedhe Maut and has designed some of the most unconventional beats for the hip-hop fraternity. Sez recently formed indie hip-hop collective THE MVMNT with Faizan Khan, which serves as a talent agency, record label and artist accelerator for emerging prodigies such as Yungsta, DAKAIT, Aniket Raturi, Lit Happu, etc.
4. Aman Arakh
Aman Arakh’s journey has been acclivitous since he 1st collaborated with Singer/Songwriter Samar Mehdi, who is considered a perfectionist when it comes to percussive-fingerstyle guitar. The record producer from Madhya Pradesh certainly knows how to weave emotions into ear-warming melodies at his studio ‘Music First Studio’ and earlier at ‘Flying Carpet Productions’. Aman Arakh has worked on all of Samar Mehdi’s records including the latest poetic tale of a toxic relationship – ‘Martbaan‘, he doesn’t like to confine himself between certain genres which leads him to work with artists ranging from progressive post-rock to modern pop to indie singer-songwriter music to neo-soul/blues-inspired ambient pop.
5. Ritwik De
Musician/producer Ritiwk De started Ghar Ka Studios in 2008 which he named after his home studio setup situated in New Delhi. After producing 20 albums, in 2017 he upgraded to a multi-purpose audio recording studio and partnered with his friend Amar Pandey, a known bassist in the delhi indie circles. Ritiwik gives his wholesome touch to every project that he picks up and makes sure that it gets repetitive listens. He has produced/mixed/mastered multiple indie-acoustic songs for Bharat Chauhan, Taba Chake, Tanmaya Bhatnagar, etc.