Name: Himay
Occupation: Producer, DJ
Nationality: Indian
Recent release: Himay is one of the artists – alongside Shantam, Pulpy Shilpy and Nigel Perera – featured on Swarm Intel Vol 1, the inaugural compilation release launching Goa-based Orbs Cure Labs.
Recommendations: Keith Haring: Ignorance = Fear; Air: Moon Safari

[Read our Pulpy Shilpy interview]

If you enjoyed this interview with Himay and would like to find out more, visit him on InstagramSoundcloud, and bandcamp.

When did you start writing/producing/playing music and what or who were your early passions and influences? What was it about music and/ or sound that drew you to it?

I started performing almost a decade ago. Writing and producing music has been slightly more recent. Although I’ve been experimenting with music production for some years now, I released my first single in March 2020.

For me, sound is another form of media I can use to create art. That curiosity is what lead me to buying my first synthesizer.

Some people experience intense emotion when listening to music, others see colours or shapes. What is your own listening experience like and how does it influence your approach to music?

As an introvert, listening to music is a very intimate experience. Although in an ideal situation, I’d much rather be by myself listening to music.

But while DJing, things are obviously very different.

How would you describe your development as an artist in terms of interests and challenges, searching for a personal voice, as well as breakthroughs?

Although the pandemic has been super hard for us all, I felt like it really gave me time to introspect and spend time thinking about and producing music. It hasn’t been easy, I have felt burned out quite often over the past two years, but you just have to come back stronger, whenever that is.

Tell me a bit about your sense of identity and how it influences both your preferences as a listener and your creativity as an artist, please.

Having spent all my life in India, I feel a close connection with our culture. I have been super inspired by Indian art and culture, and always look for ways to use influences in my art.

What, would you say, are the key ideas behind your approach to music and art?

Art, for me has always been a creative outlet. With music, producing and writing is where I really let myself experiment and not be concerned about what others think.

With DJing, the approach is slightly different. I feel like its important to find the middle ground between the my personal taste and what the dance floor is feeling that night.

How would you describe your views on topics like originality and innovation versus perfection and timelessness in music? Are you interested in a “music of the future” or “continuing a tradition”?

I think it is difficult to set out with the intention of making art for it to be timeless or perfect as these things are so subjective.

But I am a firm believer in taking influences from the past and innovating to create something completely original.

Over the course of your development, what have been your most important instruments and tools - and what are the most promising strategies for working with them?

Since I bought my first synth, its been a slippery slope of cheap, used and sometimes abused gear. I use a DAW to record and mix mainly.

Strategies include lots of experimenting and failure. (laughs)

Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please.

I was never really a morning person but I have tried waking up earlier these days.

My day starts with a cup of coffee and then maybe I exercise. The rest of the day is usually spent working on freelance design projects or trying to produce music.

I enjoy running and try to run at least 3 evenings in the week. I usually hang out with friends after dinner.

Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece, live performance or album that's particularly dear to you, please?

During the second Covid wave, the situation in India was devastating with people dying and there being a serious lack of medical infrastructure and oxygen. I released an album, The House Sound of India to raise money for Covid relief in the country.

I collaborated with 2 vocalists and 6 remixers from around the country, all virtually. Although we had some struggles, everyone pulled through and I managed to release this album in less than a month from when we started working on it.

I do enjoy collaborating and have released quite a bit of music with other producers. I feel like bringing together different influences produces art way richer than what one person can make.

Listening can be both a solitary and a communal activity. Likewise, creating music can be private or collaborative. Can you talk about your preferences in this regard and how these constellations influence creative results?

Listening to music has always been a fairly meditative activity for me, I prefer doing it privately.

With production, I enjoy collaboration but I also like the creative freedom of working alone.

How do your work and your creativity relate to the world and what is the role of music in society?

‘Underground’ Music has always played a big part in counter-culture. It has always had a purpose bigger than just drugs and partying. I really feel like music brings people together, a dance floor is where people can be themselves and not have to fit in with society.

Art can be a way of dealing with the big topics in life: Life, loss, death, love, pain, and many more. In which way and on which occasions has music – both your own or that of others - contributed to your understanding of these questions?

Some songs have such vivid memories and people attached to them. Coming back to that music always tends to bring back those memories, some happy some not so much.

Music has also helped me deal with loss. I remember DJing at a party the night my grandmother passed. It felt like a celebration of her life. I’d much rather pick that over mourning the loss.

There seems to be increasing interest in a functional, “rational” and scientific approach to music. How do you see the connection between music and science and what can these two fields reveal about each other?

It is interesting and is something I would really like to know more about. A friend and collaborator makes music using code and I think exploring possibilities just adds to the toolkit an artist has.

Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you feel as though writing or performing a piece of music is inherently different from something like making a great cup of coffee? What do you express through music that you couldn't or wouldn't in more 'mundane' tasks?

Coffee is a bad example, making a great cup of coffee is art (laughs)

But I do feel like doing a mundane task creatively could make it easier or less mundane?

Music is vibration in the air, captured by our ear drums. From your perspective as a creator and listener, do you have an explanation how it is able to transmit such diverse and potentially deep messages?

I feel like it's a bit like the atoms forming molecules forming most objects around us.

But it is something I’ve not spent much time thinking about, so I will leave it at that. (laughs)