Interview: Oceantied

Producer and DJ Ketan Bahirat, the person behind Oceantied talks to us about his sound, gigs, artists he is inspired by, favourite genres, his production set up and much more.

Your sounds are very unique and different from each other. Tell us how you go about deciding the way a particular track has to sound.

I usually never “decide” the way a song is supposed to sound. Usually, I just sit on my desk and start trying out different sounds and putting down ideas, and then work on it more only if I’ve liked the initial idea. It’s usually a mixture of trial and error and experimentation.

You are doing quite a lot of gigs of late. What parameters do you consider while coming up with your set list for a particular gig?

I’m always listening to new music between dates for all my gigs, I love being on Bandcamp and SoundCloud, discovering new tunes and artists, and I also make a lot of beats between gigs specifically to play out and to see how people react to my own tunes when I play them out at gigs, so prepping for a show always involves a lot of digging, which is what keeps things fresh and not only is it more fun, it motivates me to create more.

Tell us a couple of artists you look up to and are inspired by in your space.

There’s many artists I look up to in the huge world of electronic music. My biggest inspiration in India comes from my Dasta crew (Kumail, Tarqeeb, Sandunes, OX7GEN, Zokhuma), they’re always around and ready for a conversation when the going gets tough, and it’s always great to have such freat musicians and producers giving you such valuable feedback. They really inspire me a lot constantly both as producers and as people.

Apart from electronic music, what are your favourite genres and artists?

Personally, I don’t subscribe to genre-specifications that much, in the broader spectrum of things, it’s all music. I love all sorts of music. From metal bands like TesseracT or Textures to Post-Rock bands like Explosions In the Sky or God Is An Astronaut. I just listen to music that stimulates me and that I can enjoy either on a dance floor/at a gig or on my headphones.

If you had to come up with a wild idea of mixing two different sounds, how would you go about it and what two genres would you mix?

I think the music I make is a mixture of a lot more than 2 genres already, this is quite a tough one to answer to be honest. But to give you an example, Dasta did a Six Sample Project (SSP) recently where we used only bird sounds to make tunes, and I ended up making a techno track, so.. sounds pretty wild to me!

Considering how popular EDM music is in India, how do you place yourself in the Indian music scene? Do you think it is challenging to get your music across to people?

People being interested in EDM is in a way great for electronic musicians of all kinds, there’s going to be some familiarity with certain sounds across the board between pop-culture EDM and sounds from other electronic musicians, which paves a way for listeners to get very interested in all sorts of electronic music, which is what makes things very exciting in a place like India. As much as it is challenging to get this music heard there’s many new channels opening up and raising the bar and shortening the gap between big stage EDM and smaller stage electronic music.

Which has been your best gig till date and what made it so special?

I think my favourite gig of 2017 was the NH7 Weekender. Having been a fan of the festival for years and previously opening stages at the festival with my band Until We Last, and this year having an opportunity to close a big stage as Oceantied, it was pretty intense and amazing. Definitely the best gig I’ve had this year.

For aspiring producers who are intimidated by the complexity of the music tech world (plug-ins, DAWs etc.), what advice would you give to simplify music making?

Making music may seem simple at times to a lot of people, but my advice is to never get carried away with the market, start small. All you need is a DAW, and some sounds. Take it step by step and spend your time trying out new methods, just creating music as much as you can. Practice is key. When you keep working hard on your skills and create your own methods, it will also help in creating your own “sound”.

Tell us about your tech set up

When I’m producing music, it’s just my laptop with Ableton, headphones/speakers and a midi controller. When I’m DJ-ing it’s CDJ’s and a mixer.

If you had to create an ideal producing environment, what would it be?

A completely solar powered,as eco-friendly as possible hi-tech studio with all the synths and drum machines I’ve ever wanted, with perfect acoustics, somewhere in Iceland. Oh and in a house like Deadmau5.

Upcoming projects

I’ve been working on an album, hopefully I can finish it this year, but if not, I do have a lot of other music coming out as singles, and definitely an EP if not 2.