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Interview: Synister

today09/12/2022 5

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Synister, is the techno avatar of acclaimed psytrance artist Braindrop. One of India’s and the genres most versatile and revered artists , he launches this project in 2013 to express his versatility in the world of contemporary techno. The driving force behind Occultech Recordings , the Synister sound is a complex concoction.

We got the chance to find out more about his new release ‘Addictive Addiction’, grab it here.

 

Hello! Thanks for your time! How would you introduce yourself to our audience?

That’s a tricky one! But to keep it brief, I’m a maker of all things deep and cutting edge techno.

 

Being present on the scene and having a career as psytrance artist Braindrop, what inspired you to explore the techno sound?

I’ve always been into techno since a very long time. In fact, at my first professional job as a resident DJ in a bar, I was spinning everything from acid house , driving technhouse to more deep minimal groovy kind of techno. However I was also rapidly making my name in the psytrance parallely in the underground circles at the time . I’m generally very curious by nature , and it was this curiosity that led me to start producing psy.  Mainly because of its complexity as I’m generally drawn to anything that’s complex. Perhaps why I explored and made my name in that field during my formative years.

 

Having said that , my techno project is now about 7-8 years old . It was a gradual process ( a bit of learning as well) to find my sound , as there is so much vastness to explore in techno . I’m generally very versatile and don’t like to pigeon hole myself . It’s very exciting , the possibilities and range of music I can explore. As I mentioned it took me a bit of time to know what I want , as I was mostly concentrating on the label side of things the last decade. Now that it’s finding it’s place globally, I can shift focus to my own productions. I will definitely continue with psytrance of course , but expect an equal amount of cool techno too !

 

How would you describe your sound?

Of course this is once again a tricky one , because it’s hard to define my sound I guess perhaps that’s what makes me stand out a bit . I like my music to have that perfect balance for the dancefloor and mind.  To put it in a nutshell , the Synister sound is one that encompasses depth , intelligence and intensity all woven together to create a powerful body and mind experience. Drawing elements from dark minimal , bass music , psytrance , deep/hypnotic techno mainly to create a complex concoction.

 

How does your creative process start?

For me I typically would like to have the track name first. It is from here I draw ideas , and get the basic framework and direction of the track . Technically I would whip up a few drums , have a combo of one hardware and soft synth to create a nice pattern of sounds and a sequence first. To have the best of both analog warmth and digital shine to create a unique feeling already . From there on it’s flexible. But to get this sequence spot on is the key for me to progress.

 

One of the reasons for this interview is your latest release. What can you tell us about your 4-tracker ‘Addictive Addiction’ and what was the idea behind it?

This was 2 years in the making for it to all come together ! The label Diffuse Reality , had contacted me 2 years ago , when I released by first hypnotic techno track ‘Rb 2020’ which was selected for Monument Magazine’s top tracks of the year. Since then I’ve been in touch with them back and forth. They’ve wanted a full length ep and I probably took a bit too much time to get back with one haha ! But they were kind and patient enough for it to happen organically. It started with Levitation Wave , which was similar in vibe to Rb2020 , and from there on the tracks came out interesting organically. After extensively listening to their catalog I was impressed by their variety , so I kept this in mind while making the ep.

 

As much as this is probably hard to answer I will not ask you if you have a favorite from the release… but is there any special story or inspiration responsible for some of the tracks?

Yes exactly ! It’s hard to pick one because all of them I really like in their own ways . But if I must add, the last track ‘Love from the machine’ is completely out of my comfort zone.It’s pretty much industrial / breaks meets cinematic kinda experimental vibe. The label requested something like this to round off the ep , and I was really unsure where to begin with. Although I like a bit of hypnotic sounding industrial , I’ve never produced any. I had literally fired some of my analog and modular gear purely for it as an idea , and was praying something good comes out from the experiment. So it was more like the machines showed me the love , to finally make the sounds , hence the name haha! I’d really like to thank the label here for pushing me to do something out of the blue. I wasn’t sure how they’d receive it , but they absolutely loved it , so I guess we’re good :D.

How are you satisfied with the feedback so far?

Oh yes! Was very well received initially with the round of internal promos I did with a group of artists and friends. Recently post the release the influential HATE collective picked it up and added it to their top new Techno tracks of the month. That was cool! And most importantly I’ve been road testing these tracks over the last 6 months and the responses have been excellent everytime I played it out!

 

The driving force behind Occultech Recordings, what can you tell us about the sound it nurtures and the releases from the catalogue?

It’s a monumental year for the label as we completed 10 years! We just had a 2 day anniversary in Goa. We had the rising techno star DEAS and a host of other top national talent such as Moses , Kohra and more. It was a sensational weekend spread across 2 venues ! Couldn’t have asked for a better celebration!

The label is in a transitional phase right now . As a little insight , we actually made our name in the dark minimal techno scene for a long time. Although the sound is not represented in the main echelons of techno ( I don’t understand quite why!) , it has a very passionate and vast fan base across the world , and our releases were often played out everywhere by various artists and djs . We almost enjoy a cult like following for our take on the style , which was in its prime in the mid 2000s, to which we brought our unique twist to it .

However we felt over the last few years the style has been quite uninspiring , predictable and it’s been hard to find the music we are looking for that particularly suited to our vision. Hence looking for new dimensions was a natural shift. We also started getting more and more exposed to the more deep and night time hypnotic scene, and discovered a plethora of exciting new talents and music on top of the existing legends. We have been steadily releasing the style over the last couple of years and being watched with interest by a lot of new audiences which is great!

Similar to the vision of my own music  , the Occultech sound is constantly evolving to new dimensions . We’ve been also enjoying the faster side of techno  , as we feel this more to our roots coming from our psytrance background . It’s like coming back in full circle . We love our music deep , but also intelligent  cutting edge to create havoc on the dancefloor.

Eventually we are going to have our take on this style as we combine our past and current influences and present something exciting to the scene in various formats. This would be the future of the label going forward.

 

How would you describe current situation on the scene in India?

It’s safe to say that India is probably the biggest music market in Asia , and perhaps one of in the world. The sheer number of artist tours happening every weekend across all genres is testament to this . We are a massive country with a scene that’s now present even in the smallest of cities. The techno scene especially is in its biggest explosion right now the last 7 years.

We have a very vibrant scene ranging from intimate club ones , mid sized open airs , boutique  and gigantic all around music festivals set in exotic locations representing all niches. We also have Goa , which pretty much equates to Asia’s answer to Ibiza where events are non stop every day and can go upto anywhere between 50-100 events every week during peak season time.

It is pretty remarkable considering that this springs from a totally underground movement purely based on the passion and determination of a lot of my peers past and present over 3 decades with barely any media presence who have been influential to make it what it is today . The government support for our music in a large picture is very bleak , as we are always constantly in battle with them with changing  ridiculous nightlife laws and regulations that are not conducive to making successful events. Yet we move on , carry forward with a strong underground movement.

We also have exceptional talent across all spectrums with some of us already releasing on some top labels worldwide and already rocking it big time nationally. I would like to see them perform on an international level more.  Showing some more support and focus on them by the international and national mediums would be instrumental in this.

 

Do you believe that a producer can be prolific and is it better to show your skills by not being bound to only one genre?

It’s a bit of a double edged sword at the moment . I’m testament and guilty of this , as a multi faceted and versatile producer. It is definitely good and ideal to be versatile in the long run, because the more versatile you are the more your reach will be in my opinion. Also a lot has changed in the music scene globally overthe last decade . Prior to that it was common to have a variety of different style of releases under one alias and was appreciated more I felt . But now we are in different times where it’s all about certain niches , as an identity of an artist. So in my opinion if one is taking their first steps in their career right now  , it would be ideal to make your name in a certain niche and then as you grow , in a few years you can branch out to different styles to broaden your palette. This way you have an identity, otherwise you could be prone to kind of being ‘all over the place’ which makes it confusing for even promoters,  not knowing where to place you in lineups. This is just my opinion drawn from my experience all these years.

 

What are your plans for the future?

Definitely the Synister album is my next main focus. Bringing the label showcases in different regions would be another. I’m a tech buff so I’m really curious with what’s happening in the NFT and VR space so experimenting on some interesting projects in this field with a team will be in the works. And now that the borders are open I’m super thrilled to be back on the road internationally , as I was not able to these last 3 years due to Covid. We are working on some dates for these with my team.

 

You album is coming in 2023? Any exclusives you would like to share?

Without giving away too much , expect a solid versatile one with various shades of techno within the sphere of the label , but also something refreshing and cutting edge to the scene ! Can’t wait for the day to come honestly 🙂

 

What are your top 5 techno tracks at the moment?

Luigi Tozzi – Raiders

Egbert , Metodi Hristov – Connect

Deas – Screenshot

Ben Khlifa – Bad bitches stuff

Jc Laurent – Intercept

 

What message do you have for all the producers currently working on their debut releases?

Take all your time in getting the musicality , production and Mixdown absolutely spot on before putting it out. Your first release, especially on a reputed imprint , can leave a big impression that is crucial especially in today’s world of fast moving music . There is no room for

 

 

 

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