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“It’s about trusting your conscience and just letting it all come together sometimes”- In Conversation With Shauharty

The Delhi-based underground artist is known for his unique musicality and perspectives in music. His debut project ‘Madheera’, still is one of the finest projects to be released in the sub-genre. His influential artistry and unfazed personality make his pieces stand out. In this interview, we talk about musicality, inspirations, and the creative process of his debut EP, ‘Paint It, Dull’.

1. Madheera was atypical, an exceptional body of work that boasted of Arslan and your musicality. How was your experience of debuting with a tape that rapidly took over the alternative scene?
Starting off, it was never supposed to be atypical, although it does shy away from the convention of this redundant form of hip-hop in India, it was very typical for me and ARSLAN as that was the kind of music we had been accustomed to since long. It was just atypical in the sense that this had never been done in India before and I take a lot of pride in that. Secondly, we never set any expectations starting off, doing it for the love of it and not caring about anything else and then it caught ears, word of mouth especially was the driving point. The project single-handedly changed things for us, everything that I envisioned myself doing 5 years back is what I’m doing now. The alternative scene gaining prominence after MADHEERA is enough talk for how important it was and is, and glad to be the catalyst for change.

2. One can say that post releasing such an impactful project, attempting to work on something new would be kind of difficult. Of Course, you have a newfound fanbase that identifies your artistry as something extraordinary, and this results in expectations. Do you believe that this affects your creative process?
None, when one starts paying heed to external expectations, they’ll start joining the herd and that’s one thing I’m petrified of, not standing out. I’m confident in my choices, so much so that not once will I question what I’m doing when I’m doing it and I always know it’ll work, it’ll work for a group of people who get me, and that’s about it. I don’t expect or pursue a massive following anyway, I’m happy with a set of people who are ready to kill for me, my creative process if anything is facilitated by the bunch of people who listen as they see me in themselves and what I do is what they would want to do and I’ve figured my audience enough to make choices that will only aggravate that level of dedication.

3. Tell us about curating Paint It, Dull. How was the whole setting this time around?
Very civil, this time around it was very civil. By civil I mean, not rash like MADHEERA was, more attention has been given to the sonic quality, structural ideas, compositional arrangements, collaborators, etc. A solid set of collaborators is necessary to make any project great, I’m glad we had that. Every feature is there for a reason and not just placed for the sake of it, having live instrumentations on multiple tracks to having artists like Rounak Maiti, Kabeer, Shantanu Pandit, and everybody involved, these are people we looked up to for so long, now finally them being a part of the picture, it’s beautiful. It’s so nuanced and layered, from the title of the tracks to everything, really tried to make the music more personal and conceptual this time around as it is an extended play and for me, it was pretty spot on in that regard.

4. There is an influence of art forms such as Cinema, Music, and Literature in your style, it somewhat affects your musicianship too. How would you describe your inspirations while working on pieces like Paint It, Dull?
The media I consumed, changed everything for me since childhood and it will forever change everything for me. However, if I give away the inspirations, it will kind of be like giving away meaning to the thing which I don’t want to, however, one major inspiration throughout making the project was ‘Making longer songs’.

5. The features included in the EP further contribute to the beauty it possesses. How did you pick the artists?
One recurring theme in great projects is the placement of features and their contribution. Knowing which artist will fit where is a skill that we really wanted to explore in my sophomore project as now we have the privilege of knowing many. Ideally, understanding the soundscape of a song is the first step to determining which artist is to be featured eg. Rounak Maiti on the title track was a no-brainer as I could already hear it on him before he even sent his vocals. It’s also about trusting your conscience and just letting it all come together sometimes.

6. The sound of Paint It, Dull sets the melancholic setting of the project, and the intricacies of the sonics add up to the meaning. How did you and pakeezah work on creating the soundscape?
Incorporation of the influences that we had gathered for the project, and then adding both of our signatures. Engraving a project with interesting sonic moments to facilitate the melancholy desired to be depicted. Had to make this project very personal and musical, for it shows the growth of an artist, more specifically displaying the sensitive side of the frame.

7. Tell us about your future projects. What can we expect from Shauharty in the coming year?
Projects that will be changing things for everybody.

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