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Interview with Hamza Rahimtula

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Hamza Rahimtula joins us today for our latest QA, we sit down to chat about music, life and much much more.

How would you present/describe your work to someone who doesn’t know you?

I am a house music producer based out of New Delhi, India. I started the first House Label in India back in 2009 and we have been educating and introducing house music to Indian Audiences for more than a decade now.

I started Wind Horse to create a platform where I could experiment with world music sounds from my country and other parts of the world that have been blessed with a rich traditional musical heritage. I always felt that African and Latin countries had contributed extensively to the world of house music, but there were many other cultures that had some serious instruments and folklore, that could add value to dance floors as well. So through my label, I wanted to expose audiences to certain rare instruments that I felt were amazing and needed to heard.

Today our music is played by many heavy hitter DJ’s across the globe and we are spreading our sound more and more as the years go by.

In addition to releasing on my own label, I also love Funk, Jazz, Soul, Latin Music and Acid sounds so my other releases are all over the house music genre. At the end of the day I am a house head for life!!

And your last record? How was it born? And where do you want it to lead?

I started the concept of Banjara Series during the lockdown to consolidate my work and research in different geographic regions. The word ‘Banjara’ means Nomad, which is an indication of the direction of the sound. Each Banjara Series LP has 10 tracks in it and the sound is focused on a particular region of the world. So far we have released Banjara Turkey, Mali, Spain & South America, Tibet and now India.

I have planned 5 more LP’s in this series that will be released over the next 2-3 years on Wind Horse Records.

What message would you like to convey to the public?

Through my choice of working with traditional and folk music, I have had the pleasure of working with rural communities very closely. What I found is that the depth of understanding these rural and indigenous cultures have about life in unparalleled. Especially the communities that live in the desserts. Be it Rajasthan in India, or Mali in West Africa. Their music, culture and experience of life is something we can all learn from and enjoy in our lives. However to make these communities sustainable, we must give back to these musicians by supporting their music and donating to their communities and music schools so that their culture is kept thriving and does not perish.

How do you make music? What is most important for you?
I use Logic X. I use Newman U-87 for recording vocals and melodic instruments. I use some Aira Roland gear at times like the TR8S, TB3 and System 8. I also sample a lot and record a lot of musicians. I use Genelec Ones for my mixdowns and my mastering process is all analog gear. We use Manly Compressors and very high end Eq’s. My studio is also well treated and the speakers are calibrated according to the room so that’s why I am able to get great mixes!

In my opinion, one of the most important aspects to focus on while producing a track is to use different sources of sounds in one track. Instead of just sampling, I like to record, sample and play certain parts on my own in each track. This is when you get a rich track that sounds dynamic and pleasant to the ears.

Also mixdowns can make or break a track. This process is very very important and I spend a lot of time and go into minor details while polishing up my tracks. I have suffered in the past as I made very good ideas that did not work on the floor as they were not mixed properly. In other words, my failure led me to focus on technical aspects of making a track sound good and today I am much closer to the sound I want.

Another important tool I use in Logic that is actually my lethal weapon is the flex tool. As I sample a lot, this tool has helped me tighten up and bring to life the weirdest and most complex samples out there.
I can recreate any sample or save a sample by bringing it to life with the flex tool! Love Logic for this reason!!

Is there a unifying concept behind your art?

My goal is to fuse the best of modern culture and not forget the gold from the past cultures. In terms of modern house music, I feel that the deep tech minimal grooves have won my heart as they are perfectly balanced and bang in the center of the spectrum. From the old world cultures, there are so many amazing traditional and folkloric sounds that are yet to be discovered. So the unifying concept is to take the past along with the future and create the perfect equilibrium!!

What makes you unique?

I have lived in New York, Boston, Paris and in India and have travelled extensively across Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. In addition I have also studied in the states at Tufts & NYU and in India for my school. Lastly I am married to to an incredible woman who is Lebanese/Turkish/Palestinian and her culture has now become part of my eco system. In addition, I have worked with people from many countries and have friends from across the globe. All this exposure makes me appreciate cultures in a deeper way. Along the way, I have learned a key lesson that no country is the best country in the world. Every place has its contributions and it’s failures.

I now view myself as a global citizen that is not biased and is more curious to dig deeper and find the gold. To sum up my point, I feel that I have more exposure than a regular music producer living in just one part of the globe. This is the reason why I believe am adding value to house music by introducing new concepts to the table that have not been heard off before. It’s just having access to a wider spectrum of cultures and sounds.

As far as music, that’s subjective! Not everyone will think I am unique or special but as long as I feel I giving my listeners some food for thought, I am good!

As for your studio, what is it currently composed of?

– Logic x
– Ableton
– Lynx Arora Digital to Analog Coverter
– MEA 2 (Maselec)
– Vari Mu Compressor & Limmiter
– Dangerous 2 Bus + (Analog Summing)
– U-87 Newman Microphone
– Audix Mics for Drums + Percussion
– Roland System 8
– Roland Mc 707
– Roland TR8S
– Roland TB3
– Roland VT4
– Genelec Ones
– Genelec 1030A’s
– Fender Guitar Amps
– Fender Guitar and Bass
– Pioneer DJS 1000’s
– Mapex Pro Drum Set

What is the one instrument you would never get rid of, no matter what?

I value my ears the most, not my instruments! I believe the ears develop over years and have an intelligence of their own. They keep learning and becoming sharper and more precise! Instruments come and go but yours ears are your best friends through thick and thin!

Do you have hope for the future of music? How would you like the future of the music industry to be?

Todays music landscape has been overtaken by instagram and music has taken a back seat! The new generation are spending as much time on Insta as on collecting or producing music which shows that credibility of our industry is at stake! We need to shift the focus back on the music makers.

Concepts like Aslice are very promising and are heading in the right direction. If a handful of DJs make the money and play the content for free, than soon in the near future, it will not be possible to keep making content without something in return. The last 10 years, producers were told that it’s ok to make nothing for your music as you will make money indirectly through DJ’ing. What if someone just wants to produce and they don’t like to perform. What happens to such incredible talented people. There has to be a portion of the revenue made by the promoter and Dj that goes to the content creators. It’s the right way forward! What’s fair is fair! If we want our industry to thrive, we need to protect everyone’s interest and not just a select few.

Another problem is the streaming services. Firstly they have devalued the subscriptions to a very low amount that is just not enough. On top of this problem, the split between the music stores and the music makers is skewed in favor of the music platforms. None of the major labels took the initiative to protect the music industry. Instead they let outsiders come in and screw up the entire playground. Spotify did well in terms of providing access of content to listeners, but it seems that the listeners and the corporates were the ones to come out on top, and that too at the expense of the content creators. In other words, the music industry so far has not learned how to protect the interests of the artists and until this happens, our industry has no real hope!

Can you reveal some future projects to us?

1. A New Lp with Selekta Recordings
2. Banjara Series Arabia on Wind Horse
3. New Album with the Rajasthan Folkstars (who are gypsy musicians from the north western desert region of India called Rajasthan)
4. New Ep on Lump
5. New Ep on Open Bar
6. New Ep on Kolour
7. New Ep on Good For You Records
8. New Ep on Ocha with Cantos

What makes you happy?

Anything that in harmony creates a sense of joy and happiness. Good relationships with family, friends and colleagues make me happy. I enjoy harmony between people and harmony in music and my environment.

What bothers you?

Disagreement and going out of key in music, life and relationships creates discord and discomfort. Eventually negative emotions get stored in our mind and body and create anxiety. I guess, just as a musician trains to stay in key through practice, we have to train our minds to distance ourselves from toxic energy and hit the right notes in life!

HAMZA RAHIMTULA

• Facebook : https://bit.ly/3PpXAZp

• Soundcloud : https://bit.ly/3zr9gSq

• Instagram : https://bit.ly/38BPGeO

Written by: Alejandro Serrano

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