As the sun began to set on the first day of SulaFest 2018, we sat down to discuss music, hip-hop, career and more with Bangalore-based rapper, Vighnesh Shivanand who goes by the stage name, Brodha V.
Let’s jump straight into it, how long have you been performing and making music?
I’ve been making music for, I think about 10 years now. The first few years, I was more of an underground artist until I got signed to Sony Music around 2013. I think that’s when I saw my career take off. Before that I had a couple of music videos that started going viral on YouTube and I started considering myself as the alternate mainstream sort of an artist. So, yeah it’s been about 10 years in the game.
If you had to pick five hip-hop producers do make an album with, who’d it be?
DJ Premier, number one, no doubt. I need to have a track with DJ Premier in my life. So, yeah, DJ Premier, Dr. Dre, Pharrell Williams, Timbaland and A.R. Rahman.
Which other artists in the Indian hip-hop scene do you think are really standing out?
I think there a lot of people. I think there are lot of rappers from all over the country that bring in their own different style. Every region has their own style, like, Delhi is so different Mumbai, Mumbai is different from Bangalore and the North-East is really unique as well. Each of them come with their own flavour to it. I don’t wanna pick one or two names, I think every one of them brings their own style and contributes to the culture and that’s what matter.
What do you think about the subgenre of rap music that’s been labelled as “mumble rap”? It’s been getting a lot of attention of late.
Mumble rap is awful, to be honest. The thing about mumble rap is that it stems out of trap music and drug culture, while hip-hop has always been about uplifting its communities and its people, it was always about sending out a message and the lyricism. While I think the production value is great and the songs are catchy, it shouldn’t be classified under hip-hop or rap music. The world is changing. That’s just the mainstream industry for you. That is why we have festivals like SulaFest who are bringing in good musicians from all over the world and promote meaningful music.
You’re a producer as well, run me through your setup and your workflow.
So, I basically use FL Studio, I start my project on FL Studio, I use it to layer my drums and everything else on it. I really like the workflow. Once, I’m done composing my basic melodies I take it over to Logic Pro where I do my final programming and recording. After the recording is done, the final mix is carried out on Pro Tools. I have a very basic home recording setup, I like working in my own comfortable space, my own little space. I use an Apogee Duet 2 and a Neumann U82 for recording. That’s it, pretty simple setup.
Have you always played with a live band or was it ever a rapper-DJ type setup?
I used to play with a DJ setup before, long back, like every other rapper. I just wanted to take my sound into a different direction altogether, I really wanted to explore the option of having more live instruments on stage and adding more elements to my music when I play it live. People can always go and listen to my music on YouTube or on a CD but what I bring to them in my live shows is totally exclusive. And each of the musicians bring their own vibe to the sound. You get this experience only when you come to my shows. I want it to be distinct and different from what I make for the YouTube audience.