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An Interview with Hamza Rahimtula

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We interviewed the dj, producer and percussionist of Indian origin, Hamza Rahimtula, one of the most prominent profiles of the Indian house scene and also one of the first to run a house label in India. Now from Boston he tells us how his musical career has been until today…

In addition, he has recorded a podcast exclusively for CLG, you can listen to it below …

When and how did you get your interest in electronic music? How did you decide to move into production? 

I was studying at Tufts University in Boston and in my second year I discovered that my neighbour had a Roland 505 GrooveBox in his Dorm Room. I borrowed it for a day and that’s when my life changed. Before that i just used to play the guitar and i had an 8 track recorder, but as soon as i realized that i could now do everything on this Roland Magic Box, i felt as though a whole new world opened up to me and i totally changed my Life plans. I was studying economics and looking to be an investment Banker. Instead, I decided to become a music producer. Also at that time, I had a few friends of mine in college that were making me listen to the Global Underground Compilations and I remember this one track on the Anthony Papa CD That had the most incredible bassline. That’s when I understood the sheer brilliance and power of electronic music. Of course, attending a few parties in Boston and New York gave me insight into the World of Electronic Music, and I just wanted to be a part of the whole scene. I just did not have the confidence to get into the business, so I opted to study Music Business at NYU, and that’s when I began my music journey. I spent a lot of time around music producers and the exposure was great! After spending 3 years in New York, I decided to move back to India in 2009 and Start Wind Horse Records, which is India’s House Music Label.

 

Given that Covid has taken away pretty much all live shows, do you think there will be a real increase in the amount of new music and labels coming out soon?

Surely that has to be a positive?

I feel that some amazing music was made during Covid. The entire music community had no option but to stay at home. This restriction led to a lot of forced creativity and as a result many new producers were born and many of the experienced producers got a chance to up their game and tighten up their productions. So, in my opinion, this was super positive in terms of content creation. There was suddenly so much content that new labels started cropping up as well and people started to try to focus more on making music as a means of additional revenue. Even today, the scene is benefiting from the last 2 years as some great music was released.

 

Could you recommend a set that you are especially proud of, and that we can see on your Soundcloud or on YouTube? What makes it stand out?

https://soundcloud.com/wind-horse-records/whr-podcast-50-ft-hamza

This Set is the style I most love to play. Deep Tech Minimal Ethnic with Funky Basslines and infectious Grooves. I play the whole range from Disco touching into Acid House and a bit of Techno. However I like the flow of this set a lot. When I play in Europe, I can really be myself and play this style and get into a real flow. Here in India, my approach is different as I have to educate people about different genres so I can’t get into a meditative state of mind. However, when I play in Berlin or in Places where the Audiences are more educated and the environment is more conducive,  I can really go within and this set is a reflection of that state of mind.

 

Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years time?

I am excited to play outside of India. I love playing here in India and the Audiences are becoming very enthusiastic so I am looking forward to growing with the crowd and developing the scene more here in my home turf. However, I have already been playing here for some time now and would like to perform regularly more in other Asian Countries and in Europe & The States.

 

What can you tell us about the scene of your city? What would you improve?

New Delhi was the birthplace of the Electronic Music Production scene in India. This city had a totally non commercial attitude and every established artist that came out of this city, went against all odds and just made the music they wanted. At the present moment, the other cities in India are way more creative and Delhi has fallen behind in terms of the creative output. However, New Delhi is one of those cities that always bounces back and can never be written off. 

What needs to be done now is to develop a good scene for gigs. This is an area that needs a lot of work as many of the people that are in the game now are not really from a music background & they are just trying to be hip. In other words, there will be a self correction mechanism soon or else this city will just become super lame. However I have faith in the city that launched my career and I look forward to better times post covid!

Strangely Enough, There seems to be a frenzy in the air and everyone seems to want to let loose after being locked up for 2 years, so I hope this feeling will give a kick start to the city and bring it back on the map!

 

Finally, what can you tell us about your future projects?

We are finishing our Studio and School next year in South India (Hyderabad). We are almost done and soon will be a fully equipped Mixing and Analog Mastering Facility with live rooms for bands to rehearse, a recording facility and a school as well. We are already teaching Dj & Production courses, but will start a sound engineering course next year as well.

In Addition, We have started a collective called Ngoma Collectiv featuring India’s best House & Disco Artists like Stalvart John, Unayanna, Farhan Rehman & Yours Truly! Our Goal is to really lay the foundations of House Music in India and create experiences where people can discover other forms of electronic music and can further expand their choices.

Wind Horse Records is also going ahead with a release every month and our music is being appreciated more and more with every track, so we are just looking to build up the label as much as possible and make it a more globally recognized brand!

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