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kali mirch

Kalimirch – Packs a Punch

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Kali Mirch is Adi Chaudhri, a Producer/DJ from Mumbai. He plays house, nu-disco, and techno. The alias was inspired by Jalebee Cartel, but there’s no deep meaning behind it. And since Adi is at home just like everyone else, he would be investing his time watching tutorials on something related to music, working on a track, or be spending time with family.

What got you into this genre?

There’s something about old school drums, funky guitar riffs, even soulful vocals that I’ve been gravitating towards these days. It instantly adds some  pep to my step and improves my mood. There’s a lot of fairly generic, even mainstream, techno  acts out there today and I was a little tired of the sound - I think that’s another reason. Kali Mirch preaches a lot of Nu-Disco, Disco, House mostly or some funky, retro sounds.

What are the various equipment and gear you have in your studio to facilitate production? 

Kali Mirch

A powerful  laptop, a 4/4 in/out soundcard to record multiple things at once, two Pocket Operators (the Sub and the Arcade), two Korg Volcas (an FM, and a Sample). a Push2, a Behringer Neutron, a Squier Strat, a small Blackstar amp, some pedals from Behringer and EHX,  and a pair of monitors. Most importantly, plenty of cables to make all this come to life and speak with one another.

Tell us, what does a typical day in the studio mean for you?  What inspires your productions?

I don’t think I’ve been ‘inspired’ to produce, it rarely happens - those rare occasions are when I’m in awe of someone’s process or a sound that I want to try and replicate for my own work somehow. Mostly though, the inspiration comes after I’ve already sat down to make music. I may be noodling with synths, cycling through samples or  patches when  the bulb above my head lights up. That’s a typical day ‘in the studio’. My productions off late have been inspired by the human condition and nature - those are my biggest fascinations.

How has the struggle been so far to your current stand? 

Relatively easy because I have another job so I don’t depend on music exclusively for my survival, the people who do that have it much harder. The syndication of the industry makes it harder for a fairly ‘new’ lad like me to get in or  stay in but I’m in it for the long haul. Maybe we can have this conversation again in 5, 10, 20  years and I’ll have different responses. I’ve definitely learned a lot about myself, ‘the business’ and a lot more since I’ve been trying  to do this. This is the school of hard knocks.

Kali Mirch

Your recent release on Bandcamp, while I am sure you would get a label to host you, i am more curious why you chose to release the EP independently.

I would love to release my work with a label but i don't think I'm ready for that yet, if you listen to my work you'll see I've tried lots of things and don't have 'a sound' yet. Practically, it is my goal to start working with labels starting next year - working independently taught me about the business side of things and what it takes to release music, so now I can empathize with labels better as I look to leverage them and in return hope to provide value with my work. Also, there's so many labels out there it's hard to keep track and do quality checks, so other than a few that I trust (but am not ready for) - it's just so much easier to depend on myself.

Is the path ahead more struggling or does it get better from here? 

I think the struggle is permanent and will keep changing forms. Someone like me may be looking to associate with labels, get a manager, tour or play bigger venues with more people.  Someone who is already doing those things may be looking to play festivals or work with bigger labels. Someone playing festivals here may be looking to tour internationally. The race never stops, I don’t suppose the struggle would either.

Not necessarily monetary, how have the rewards been so far in this career?

The rewards are some things I’ve learned (which one can hear but only  experience to actually learn)

The BIGGEST reward is just having someone text you or walk up to you telling you they liked your work. It’s still unbelievable when someone strikes up a conversation with “hey you’re that Kali Mirch dude, right?” or “I really liked your work in  so and so” - it makes me feel like I made something that has value to another human, I also feel good about my music reaching people - no matter how slow that is.

That no one will offer you anything unless you have something to give in return, skill alone means nothing. So don’t go around asking for gigs or favors unless you bring something to the table. This is a bitter pill to swallow.

Making, playing, distributing my own music is an enterprising experience -

the reward of figuring things out as I go along has been me leveling up not just with my music but also with my marketing skills, budgeting skills etc etc. 

Kali Mirch

Who according to you are the top 5 labels in your genre? 

  1. DFA Records
  2. GlitterBox
  3. Diynamic
  4. Ellum
  5. Crosstown Rebels
Kali Mirch

Why did you choose this career? Do you think there are other reasons to choose too?

It was mostly on a whim, I’ve been listening to dance music for years now but don’t have a music background so for me to dive into this career comes from an internal drive to push my own limits. It started with wanting to imitate DJs from what I saw in festival aftermovies - everyones having a good time, there’s a lot booze, and the partygoers look attractive too...eventually those reasons became trivial and it was about “I’ve brought myself this far, let’s see how much further I can go”. 

I remember starting on Jan 4th 2017, I had just declined my Master’s Degree admission to a school in Canada and was on a holiday in Spain when I saw a busker near a lake playing the accordion - I thought to myself if he is content doing this and not worried about amassing wealth and ‘career trajectory’ and growth and whatnot, maybe I could be too. Shortly after, I spoke to my mum and asked to be sent to music school.

And how is the support from industry peer's? 

There’s a lot of people I would ban from the scene if I had the authority, but there’s an equal number of people who I am extremely grateful to have met, their support has been instrumental in helping even get this far. It is a very long list so I’ll save you the trouble, I’m particularly thankful to the entire Locals Crew in Delhi  for showing so much faith in my work and love to me always. 

 

​Who is your inspiration?

Arjun Vagale, he was doing this before it was ‘cool’ and he’s been around for 2+ decades, that's a major commitment and contribution to  the Indian scene. Even Joris Voorn, I’ve seen posts from spending time with his kid while being a busy touring DJ. Any DJ leading a balanced life, making an honest living from their work going to bed content inspires me.

 

What is your methodology behind a set you play when you open for artists at clubs? What is the creative process behind your sets?

No method per se, play chill grooves but don’t tire them out so the next act has the chance to show their chops. I stay in key always and don’t play ‘bangers’, that’s my only real ‘rule’.

Kali Mirch
Kali Mirch

As an upcoming artist with tough competition, what struggles and challenges do you face?

It is also a challenge to get my music to reach more people, that is something I’d be looking to change - a lot of good stuff and a lot of trash gets drowned because of a release that has a lot of money behind it. Also, casual listeners relying on Apple Music and Spotify don’t really pay directly to artists anymore, I think monetising music as a commodity is a challenge for all of us.

 

What’s coming up for you down the road?

I’m actually already working on a  big EP that I plan to release by the end of the year. It is sort of like a sequel to Nature Boy and I’m hoping to bring my A-Game to it. I also have to finish graduating from acting school this year after  the lockdown ends.  Other than that, just keeping at it hammer and tongs.

 

Well, thank you once again for spending time with us, giving us valuable insight into your career. We wish you all the very best of luck in your endeavours. See you soon at a club.

 

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