Chatting up Kohra, Delhi-based music producer and DJ who is all set to bring his mystical music to Vh1 Supersonic 2018 to be held in the city next month
What is the purpose of music? Different people may answer this differently. For some it might be entertainment, for some it might be to provoke thinking, it might be rebellion for some and peace for some others. For Madhav Shorey aka Kohra, music is synonymous with mystery — a medium through which the mind is taken on a trip to explore new ideas, to spaces in the mind that are undiscovered. Hence his performances are spatial, mystical and ethereal dance music experiences. To know more about his music, you’ll have to experience it. The good news is that you have the chance to catch him live at the Vh1 Supersonic 2018 at Laxmi Lawns, Magarpatta, Hadapsar, from February 9 to 11. But before that, let’s know more about the artist.
The fascination with fog
Shorey used to be a drummer for a few heavy metal bands and got exposure to a lot of electronica, break-beat and house music. “I used to DJ under the moniker ‘Haze’ until I realised there was already a ‘Haze’ somewhere in the United States which is when I thought about Kohra. I’ve done a fair amount of schooling in Delhi and was always fascinated by the dense fog in the mornings and still am actually. I guess it also works for me since it translates to ‘unclear’ — which have always been my sentiments towards my music that I feel is always taking a new direction,” says the artist, adding, “Sometimes, even I’m not sure where my music is going to go next.”
He claims to be quite lucky for having been introduced to various kinds of music by family and friends, and this has helped him develop his own distinctive style. “I think I was always intrigued by music that wasn’t quite obvious, and was thought-provoking to some extent. I was also quite lucky to hear everything from The Beatles to Mike Oldfield and Kraftwerk to The Doors while I was a toddler, thanks to my dad’s incredible record collection. One of my uncles made me listen to atmospheric Drum n’ Bass while I was in school and one of my cousins made me hear Prodigy when I was about 15, so I guess my family and friends helped me listen to great music and it’s helped me develop a certain taste towards new sounds in music over time,” he says.
The fuss over social media
Social media is a huge platform for aspiring artists all over the world. Some have entered the mainstream and have been signed by big labels after becoming famous on the internet by posting their work online. But Kohra feels that “there are always two sides to a coin.”
Says the artist, “I’m all for social media because it really helps putting out ideas and connecting directly with an audience and has probably helped me to a good extent as well. But, I have to say — when it first came about, it really helped independent musicians work in a DIY format and not be reliant on big labels. Now, sadly, the effect of social media on this generation of music has had quite a negative outcome in many ways.” He adds, “I often see ‘fans’ of artists via their Instagram accounts who can’t even mention a single track name by the artist. When I was growing up, it was the music first, then the rest if you were interested in knowing more about an artist. I have my reservations towards this but it’s a personal opinion.”
The future of the underground music scene
The obsession that Indian audiences have with Bollywood music makes it difficult for artists making ‘offbeat’ music to find takers for their work. There is a long way to go for majority of the Indian audiences to shift focus from Bollywood music onto something different. “The underground music scene in India has had a very slow but organic growth. I am grateful that our scene (the underground music scene) grows each year and it’s safe to say that it’s making good progress,” says the artist who has his hands full with making new music this year.
But he’s tight-lipped about upcoming releases. “I wish I could plan these things better. I intend to make a lot of music this year, so I hope to release a lot more content in all forms, including EPs, collaborations, remixes and singles. I have three tracks signed for 2018 at the moment and a lot more in the pipeline,” he signs off.