I remember meeting songwriter and music producer Arsh, aka FuzzCulture at a music convention in Mumbai called SoundBound. This was in 2010 and I was eyeing a CD he had of his then band The Circus. I quietly took the From Space CD he offered me, and he walked off to find some friends and distribute more CDs. We had no conversation at all, it was only smile-hi-CD?-thanks-cool. When I took the CD back home, I realized my brother also had a copy!
We’d heard so much about the band and had seen them live only a couple of times. That particular record for me really translated as bouncy, super groovy and funky, all captured at once. The Circus were one of Channel [V] Launchpad’s finalists, and the music reality TV show held the competition’s finale in Mumbai. The band was one of my instant favorites! From there, I’d seen each of them take up their own music projects individually with other bands and solo productions.
Arsh had paired up with New Delhi drummer Srijan Mahajan, forming FuzzCulture. The act started off with pounding drums that were played live at their gigs, along with Arsh’s setup, where he played around with samples, guitars and also did vocals. I got into listening to them from the No EP in 2014. A few accolades were won through this time including a VIMA Music Award, and FuzzCulture toured in a few countries across South Asia, even Reunion Islands.
Srijan and Arsh eventually parted ways, and Arsh spoke to the good folks at 4/4 Experiences, which was also my workplace at the time! Most of my time knowing Arsh personally was through handling digital marketing there. He released his album Escape To Where You’re Wanted in 2019, which did very well as his first solo release. 2021 was the year of Strange Cities, another fantastic release. It brought out a very different sound, with some unavoidable earworms, and elements of pop, dance and electronica.
I thought it would be a great time to speak to him as we’d also done some fun video interviews with him over the past month! Watch his Artist Spotlight video interview, and read the chat below to know more!
Pratika: You’ve gone through quite an evolution as a musician and producer; from your days as the guitar player of Delhi rock band The Circus, up to your electronic music project FuzzCulture. What steered you into the direction of the music you make today?
FuzzCulture: I don’t know. It’s always been natural, I’ve always followed my muse whether my muse wants me to or not. With The Circus, we were all always into all different types of music. In fact, the other dudes were way ahead of me in their interests and love.
I’m naturally curious to a fault so I just followed what I wanted to do to its logical end. I still don’t know how the music I’ll make will end up. I really don’t have an agenda besides the love of music, and just finding new things that excite me.
P: Besides FuzzCulture, what other music and production work have you done in the past 2 years?FuzzCulture: Besides FuzzCulture, in the last two years, I’ve mixed a lot of tracks for some great bands and artists like Daira, Seedhe Maut, Pratika, Cartwheels Over Moon, Ahmer, Tienas, and quite a few more. Besides that, I have done a few ad jingles and a Hindi song release as well.
As of now, I’m looking into releasing a lot more Hindi songs and collaborations over the next few months/years. Also, the FuzzCulture collaboration with Manas Jha and Sidhharth Basrur was a killer project (Myrooh from ‘Trifecta’). The pandemic did hit work pretty hard, but I’m hoping to amp it up over the next few years (fingers crossed).
P: What do you like to do in your spare time when you’re not working or making music?
FuzzCulture: I’m majorly into world political history, reading up and watching endless documentaries on the subject. I love playing chess and actually love researching economics and financial studies. I’m also crazy into psychology education, and a lot of my time goes into studying that as well. Basically, all subjects that don’t have anything to do with the arts, and help me dig a little deeper into my nerdy side!
P: Pick one favourite release by: 1. The Circus 2. FuzzCulture
The Circus – With Love
FuzzCulture – Strange Cities (So far)
P: Tell us one CRAZY incident on tour from anywhere in the world!
FuzzCulture: Once while in Singapore after playing a gig, I partied a little too hard with all the A&Rs from different labels and got so drunk that when I came home, I actually fell on the sidewalk and got a major cut on my forehead!
Next thing I know, my lovely friend Srijan had taken me to a Singapore ER where I got 20 stitches and I spent the night there as I was a little too wasted to sign the approval form. Next day, I played my 2nd show in Singapore with broken glasses, a mild concussion and 20 stitches. Good times!
P: What are some of the albums that you look up to as some of the best-sounding when it comes to music production, mixing and mastering?
FuzzCulture: I’ve actually stopped judging music like that. I try to see it more in terms of vibe, and some of the records I love are actually very poorly mixed. But they have a great vibe and represent the music perfectly. The more I’ve grown up, I’ve realized how emotional and vibe-based mixing and mastering can be. I’ve also stopped seeing things as right or wrong sonically as that’s a really narrow box to fit yourself into.
Vibe and communication is all there is in my opinion. Fundamentally, we are just throwing sound waves into the air and it’s too abstract a concept to get so stuck up on!
P: Who is the musician or producer, past or present, you were most excited/happy to see or meet?
FuzzCulture: I’ve met some great producers and musicians and I doubt I can single out a fanboy moment as I generally don’t see things like that. But to be honest, every time I’ve watched Megadeth live, I’ve been a complete fanboy! Otherwise, I just like to have a conversation with some of the great people I’ve met if they’d oblige me with one.
P: As scary as it’s been, what’s been one of the better things you think has come out of the lockdown?
FuzzCulture: I don’t know if it sounds positive or negative, but it has just shown me how fickle and meaningless most of our endeavours are. Also the fact that we’re the only ape species which needs to be paid by other apes to be able to eat. All our plans and ideas are so easily disrupted and destroyed within a few minutes. A lot of people would see this as nihilistic but I see it as an opportunity that if nothing really matters. I’m not going to take my time on this random rock in space so seriously and do exactly what I want to do with my time on it.
P: What are your favorite venues to play in India?
FuzzCulture: I love every venue that has ever hosted us! I’m an equal opportunity offender and every venue who wants us to play is the best at that time, and everyone who supports us is the best person possible. Equal love for all!
P: A word of advice to aspiring and young musicians and producers?
FuzzCulture: I think the young producers are absolutely smashing it with some of the work they’re doing, and I find myself learning from them a lot more. So maybe I’d ask them to share some tips they have with an old scrooge like me!
Maybe the only advice I would have is to be open to all lines of thought, and there’s something to learn from everyone. No matter how much you work, you never know it all. And please be kind to your fellow musicians, everyone’s trying their best in this exceptionally difficult world.
We thank Arsh for giving us his time and being a super cooperative guy! We wish him all the best for all his future endeavours.
Listen to FuzzCulture: @fuzzculture | Linktree
You may also like;
- Handpicked Music Releases: January 2021 (India) | TFword. (ticketfairy.com) featuring FuzzCulture’s EP Strange Cities.
- TF Selections Vol 2 | TFword. (ticketfairy.com) featuring FuzzCulture