“Back in the day, there were very few DJ's who were pushing the underground house and techno scene in India, but right now the scene is huge… It's just getting bigger at the moment, (and) I would say that India has become one of the major hubs for electronic music in Asia.” – Ash Roy
On Friday the 15th of March, we open New Guernica’s doors to Calcutta’s techno don and founder of Soupherb Records, Ash Roy. Between festival bookings, international tours and brand new production releases, Ash sat down with us to talk about what inspires his music, his favourite movie and the development of India’s underground house and techno community.
Tell us a little about the first gig you ever played?
So, it all began in 1995 in Calcutta, India. I was a dancer and a choreographer, and the reason I wanted to become a DJ was because I loved dancing so much. At a certain point, a friend of mine was throwing a terrace party and needed someone to play music. He asked me if I could do it and I was like, ‘why me?’. He replied, ‘because you’re a dancer and you know what to play’. So, I played! I asked a friend to assist me, because I needed someone to sit behind me and cue the tracks that I wanted to play. I played on Cassettes, so the day before the party I sat down and went through all my tapes until we were ready. That was my first gig!
How would you describe your sound to someone who hasn’t heard you play?
I would say.. Trippy, Minimal, Groovy, Techno with Live percussions.
What is your favourite track of all time? The one that can really turn things around on the dance floor?
"Higher State of Consciousness" by Josh Wink is my all-time favourite. Right now, it's "Aries in Mars" which was also released recently by Josh Wink. Both tracks can definitely turn things around on the dance floor.
What is your favourite movie? Why?
I have a lot of favourite movies, but one of them is "Snatch" (directed & written by Guy Ritchie). Firstly, because the plot is absolutely amazing and it's made in such a slick manner, quick cuts and to the point.. and secondly because of the humour.....so witty!
Who inspires you the most in music?
My friends who are producers and DJ's. They inspire me the most.
Tell us about the underground house and techno scene in India?
Back in the day, there were very few DJ's who were pushing the underground house and techno scene in India, but right now the scene is huge. We have a lot of festivals that have a stage dedicated to house and techno. Festivals like Supersonic have the mighty Awakenings (Amsterdam) stage every year. Artists such as Carl Cox, Sasha, Richie Hawtin and Dubfire (to name a few) have played in India recently. There are a lot of smaller festivals in the country that have emerged, and the sound of the whole festival is house and techno. So it's just getting bigger in India at the moment - I would say that India has become one of the major hubs for electronic music in Asia.
Favourite album of all-time?
Pink Floyd - Pulse (Live Album).
Tell us a bit about Soupherb Records?
Soupherb Records is an imprint I launched with my close friend Ashvin Mani Sharma. Over the past 6 years, the label has proven to be an international outlet, creating a platform for forward thinking and experimental music producers.
Bringing together genres like techno, minimal, house and their sub genres is what has led to Soupherb collaborations taking artists across the globe and hosting tours both within Asia and Europe. On the label we have featured artists such as Ambivalent, Acid Pauli, Maksim Dark, Stiv Hey, DJ Lion, The Reason Y, Breger, Elmar Strathe, Timboletti and Insect Elektrika (just to name a few).
Can you share with us a memory of having played at a festival, or club, that you’ll never forget?
One of the best memories I have is when I played with my live act Jalebee Cartel at Fusion Festival (Germany) in 2010. It was my first proper festival in Germany, and we played on the main stage Turmbühne in the afternoon. It was so special for us because we got the opportunity to showcase our music on such a huge platform.
What can Melbourne expect from an Ash Roy set?
Surprise surprise ;)