From classroom to Bixtel, their journey was no less than a roller-coaster ride. But their efforts made them win hearts in huge numbers. We are talking about the Rapper and Producer Duo – Ashutosh Rai aka Warboy and Devam Pandey aka DEVM, who won the Red Bull Spotlight national finale in June 2019. As a result, they were given the opportunity to record their full-length album at a professional studio – working with Bixtel, a young producer from the US. Ashutosh and Devam, who have been working together since 2018, opened up on their journey during an exclusive interview with The Statesman.
Rapper Ashutosh Rai aka Warboy
How did the idea of taking part in Red Bull Spotlight 2019 come about?
Honestly speaking, I did not know anything about the Red Bull Spotlight competition earlier. It was Devam who introduced me to the Red Bull Spotlight and asked me to give an audition for the competition as the duo. He was a music producer and I used to rap, so we agreed to audition for the Chandigarh audition and ended up winning the audition.
How was it working with Devam in your debut album?
I think everyone has a different vision in terms of music. We had a difference of opinion on some things and we also agreed on a few things. Initially, it was tough but in the end, it all worked out well. There were some things that did not match between the both of us but we found a solution for that problem.
Clean lyrics! What are your thoughts on it? To what extent is it important?
I think lyrics should be all about what you feel. Although, there are not many cuss words in my album. If I cuss a lot in real life, I would express that in my music as well. I know there should be a limit to cuss words but if there are some feelings one wants to express in their lyrics, then it should not be a problem.
How did the music of your debut album ‘Out of the Blue’ fall into place?
I think there were many factors that helped us. The fact that we won the Red Bull Spotlight competition in Mumbai last year, gave us an opportunity to produce our own music album with the help of Red Bull. They also brought in a music producer from Atlanta, Bixtel, who guided and helped us better understand how to produce music. We also had a lot of fun in the whole process.
What would you like to say about the trend of song remakes?
I do not like song remakes, I feel that it kills the originality of the songs. I do not listen to Bollywood remakes either.
Who inspires you to be in the music industry?
I was inspired into doing rap since a very young and Lil Wayne is the one who inspired me. He always used to be cool and talented, I really enjoy his music. I am inspired by punk and metal music as well and is open to all genres. I also like listening to Gully Rap artists like SeedheMaut, DIVINE etc. All these guys are an inspiration and I also want to be like them.
What are your upcoming projects?
I want to give time to myself and would like to explore much more than just rap. There are other genres that excite me as well. As of now, I am not involved in any projects but will see what comes in future.
Music producer Devam Pandey aka DEVM
Tell me the story of how you arrived at this point in your musical career?
I started as a bedroom producer at the age of 14, after that, I started producing music; not necessarily putting out my content but just sticking to producing my music. I wanted to pursue a career in the field of music. My dad suggested that I should pursue my engineering and go abroad to Australia or the Netherlands for my masters; I was initially okay with that.
For me personally, engineering was very tough as it is not related to music. I pursued engineering for a year and then decided to drop it. Post that, I moved to Delhi for studies. I have done my bachelors in Performing Arts with a specialization in Music production. That is where I met Ashutosh aka Warboy and auditioned for Red Bull Spotlight. I came to know about the competition via Red Bull on their website and we decided to audition for the Chandigarh edition. Red Bull has supported us a lot as they helped us launch our debut album.
Who are the producers who have most influenced your approach to music production and why?
I started with electronic dance music (EDM) and saw many young artists produce music with the help of just a laptop; this inspired me to give it a shot at producing music. My inspiration would be Martin Garrix, as he started off at a very young age and became successful. As I grew older, I started listening to more genres and I gained more knowledge about different types of music and learnt that there are various artists across genres who are inspiring people with their music. Some of them would be Cashmere and Hans Zimmer, who is known for producing background scores in various movies.
How do you approach the music projects on which you work?
It is all about the concept and the vision which you create in your mind before producing any project. Whenever I sit down to produce music, I think about what could be the reason that people would listen to my music and what people would like in the music from the hearing as well as technical point of view. It also depends on what phase I am going through, if I am in a good frame of mind, then I make happy songs on the other hand if I am stressed then I like to make some banger music.
What is the one thing every song must have for it to be solid?
I think the song must have a vision, if you have a vision then you can progress. There comes a time where you get stuck on what type of music you would like to produce. Thus it is important to have a vision and a plan in place for producing music.
What made you work with Ashutosh Rai aka Warboy?
Warboy and I studied together in Delhi. As we were classmates, we were aware of each other. I knew that he was into rap. Every weekend we use to have a jam session and we used to perform there. Singers, musicians, all used to gather and perform together. I used to produce music and people used to jam on that. Warboy used to rap on my music. I was interested in rap, as I am from Mumbai and we have the Gully rap scene growing here. However, when I heard Ashutosh I understood that there are people here who want to express something but they couldn’t which caught my attention and that is when I approached him.
How did your involvement with producing music for Rapper Ashutosh Rai begin?
As I mentioned earlier, we studied in the same college and we were aware of each other. He was the only one who used to rap on my music and that is why I decided that I should go with Ashutosh. I was scrolling through Red Bull’s website and got to know about their competition and we decided that we should go and audition for the Chandigarh edition of the competition. He performed well there and the crowd really enjoyed his music. He has a very unique flow and his understanding of the rap scene is also admirable.
What would you like to say about the trend of song remakes?
Everyone has their own opinion on that. If we talk about independent musicians, we prefer to produce original music. If people like to listen to Bollywood remakes, then even that is valid. We are no one to say that it is wrong. Although, as an independent music producer I would like to say that I prefer original songs as it helps me put my own thoughts into my music.
What are your future projects?
I like melody tracks and would like to prefer more of that kind. It will be an eclectic mix of old school and new school music. I have a vision of what type of music I want to produce. It will be a mix of melody as well as hip hop. The upcoming projects will also be on the same lines.