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Mummy Daddy Records: Indian Urban Music

By Vishal Gandhi | September 1, 2008

Split Magazine caught up with Amrish Kumar — the man behind Mummy Daddy Records, a new record label that aims to brings to the fore the best of the Indian electronica and independent music scene. Featuring the likes of Sha’air + Func, Bandish Projekt and Jalebee Cartel on the just released compilation ’01′, it promises to be an exciting blend of urban electronic elements with a distinct Indian folk essence.

Split Magazine: Mummy Daddy RecordsFirst off, what’s the story behind the name Mummy Daddy Records?

When I lived in Mumbai, my friends nicknamed me ‘mummy’, since I was the only one who had a car (amongst my friends) and therefore was responsible for dropping them home after nights out. So I was coined ‘mummy’. They are the ones that came up with the name and given the mission statement of the label — it was a tongue in cheek type of name to have.

The recently released compilation album from Mummy Daddy Records is simply titled ’01′. Is it going to be a series of compilations? Can you tell us if there are any more compilations planned and if so, what artists are you planning to feature?

That’s the plan. We hope to become recognized as a brand that delivers a sample of the true up and coming originality and inventiveness of the Indian urban music scene. As for who is going to be in it, we don’t know at this point. It’s a case of going out there and exploring.

Can you tell us a bit about the artists featured on ’01′? What are your thoughts on their music, and what do they bring to the Indian music scene?

The defining commonality is that each of these artists are very international sounding and yet originate from an Indian aesthetic. What I mean is that each of them have had an exposure to some type of Indian music form, be it classical, folk, ballad, etc. They bring in those influences in a way that nobody else in the world can, and therein lies their new sound. This is a sound that will develop and form its own niche in international music and is a strong reflection of our culture today.

They all have their own signature and feel and its very evident on the album. Each of them has been influenced by or are partial to a certain genre and I think you see a real mix of them in this album from dub, jazz to rock and techno.

They bring in those influences in a way that nobody else in the world can, and therein lies their new sound.

Are any gigs being planned to promote the album?

Yes, soon, hopefully. We are in talks with various partners currently.

Coming to your own music, the song “Zindagi” has an interesting line: ‘Hume azmaake bas yoon chal padi zindagi’. Can you tell us about that and the meaning of the song?

It’s a laid back don’t-take-yourself-too-seriously type of track. It is about the fact that sometimes in life you don’t have control over things, so just accept [them] and literally go with the flow.

Split Magazine: Mummy Daddy RecordsYou have quite an unconventional voice and there is a marked difference between the English and Hindi vocal styles in your songs. When you sing in English, there is an almost David Gray like rasp in your voice. Is that a conscious thing?

The Hindi part was sung by Papon, who is a fantastic vocalist from Assam — check out his band East India Company. The English vocals are mine. As for the style, it’s just is the way I sing.

You’ve lived in the UK and studied in Bristol. How much of an influence was the whole Bristol Sound? And what are your influences in music and other art forms since you’re also a designer?

The Bristol Sound has been a huge influence. It’s really where it all began for me. From the massive attack and drum and bass sounds come a lot of my rhythm associations. Also the bases of that music — reggae, dub, soul are the roots of my own musical direction so it all fitted very well. As for art forms, I guess my exposure teaches me to be open minded to all influences as you never know where inspiration may come from.

Are you planning to do a solo album or collaborate with MDR Collective in the future? It’s quite an interesting reggae/dub sound mixed with Indian classical.

Good question. I would love to one day, but at the moment I’m just about finding enough room to do one track at a time. The MDR collective is a floating organism and in that they all have their own commitments, so we will see as and when we can piece together a complete album.

Is there anything else you would like to say to those reading this interview?

It’s important that they go out and support their own. Buy CDs of Indian acts that are coming out and go watch their gigs. After all, it’s your own culture that is represented and it’s time we stood up, patronised them and are proud of them.

Comments

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  1. September 19, 2008, 8:37 am stephen stefano

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