TFword in Conversation With Prismer

Ahead of his residency at Summer House Cafe in Delhi, we had a chat with the eclectic DJ and producer about his beginnings, his approach to productions, and lots more.

One peep into Prismer’s music and you will find yourself immersed in his deep and mystical world of influences that are devoid of any bounds. Initiating his musical excursions in 2010, Prismer honed his craft for half a decade before stepping into production and DJing.

Being a phenomenal selector behind the decks exposed him to varied styles of electronic music, which he implemented to his enterprises in the studio. Since then, we have seen the Delhi-based producer’s sound evolve at every stage; one that makes him one of the most forward-thinking producers in the country.

Over the years, Prismer has released his intricate brand of music on labels like Boxout Recordings, Reel Long Overdub, and Tokyo Hell while sharing stages with heavyweights like DJ Stingray, Benjamin Damage, Denham Audio, Pangaea, Fixate, TommyFourSeven, Ivy Lab, Slick Shoota, Champion, and Rider Shafique, to name a few.

After a successful year full of captivating music and playing shows across the lengths of the country and the UK, Prismer kicks off his new year with a residency called ‘Mixed Feelings’ at Summer House Café in Delhi. We were keen to know more about his journey, his style of music, and his Summer House Café residency. So, we had a candid chat with the man himself; and to make things sweeter, Prismer has given us a slice of his astute selections with an exclusive guest mix for Ticket Fairy.

TFword: How did the Prismer journey begin?

PRISMER: I started the Prismer Project sometime in the middle of 2020. I had been DJing under my own name (Rohan Kalé/Kalé) in India since coming back from university in 2013 and simultaneously was getting into electronic music production. It took me a long time but when I finally got closer to being comfortable with releasing my productions, I decided it was time to create a moniker under which I would put them out and further my craft.

This led me to create Prismer, under which I have released a handful of singles on Indian ( Recordings) and International (Tokyo Hell from Japan, Reel Long Overdub from UK) labels as well as playing countless gigs around the globe including Magnetic Fields Festival (IN), Grasslands Festival (NP), Club Glow (UK), and I have a lot more in the pipeline.

TF: After traversing through various genres and styles when you started making music, what was the moment in landing on to your definitive sound?

PRISMER: To be honest, I don’t really think I have landed on my definitive sound as yet. I don’t even know if it’s necessary to have a distinct sound – I feel like it just happens while you’re doing the work. As someone who is constantly exploring new genres, new styles and new production techniques – I am always evolving with the way I produce music.

I also believe if I make something from my heart, it is distinctively going to sound like myself. So I always aim to create music that excites me and feels like an extension of myself as opposed to creating music with certain boundaries in mind (which happens if you’re aiming at making music for clubs/radio play/streaming etc).

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TF: Who were your biggest inspirations when you started making music?

PRISMER: When I got serious about producing music, it was artists like Djrum, Skee Mask, Special Request, Suzanne Ciani, Objekt, Andrea, Stenny, Alix Perez, Calibre; whose music struck a chord with me. They are able to express such otherworldly stories through their music that invokes such strong emotions/ feelings within me that are both exciting and strange at the same time. On many occasions, I have been put to tears while listening to Djrum’s music and I strive to create the same feeling within listeners when I produce music.

I genuinely believe these are some of the most valued electronic music producers of our time – creating truly invigorating and sonically engaging music that sounds beautiful on headphones as much as it does in a club.

TF: You are also known for your thrilling DJ sets. How do you go about prepping your music for shows?

PRISMER: My research for DJ sets never stops. I am constantly digging through music on multiple platforms such as YouTube, Bandcamp, Instagram, etc. I have hundreds of playlists on YouTube that I update on the daily according to the mood of the playlist.

When I am close to a particular show, I create a playlist and constantly go into YouTube rabbit holes that can last up to 10 hours (Just ask my wife hahah!). Once I am done preparing a broad list of tracks that I would like to play – I organise them onto Rekordbox (industry standard software) and make sure I have maximum cue points set on each track. This particular time-consuming job allows me to have complete control over my mixes in a live gig setting.

I also have an extensive amount of music that I have collected over the years, from which I will choose certain tracks for the gig as well. Most of the time, I have a good 200-300 track playlist (for a 1-hour gig) which allows me to make bold decisions while playing, depending on the vibe of the night.

TF: Who would you regard as your dream collaboration?

PRISMER: Hmmm, this is a tough one to be honest. I don’t know if I have a particular dream collaboration but I would love to collaborate with as many musicians/ producers (that I admire) as I can. I think collaboration is an important part of an artist’s journey within any industry as it is a unique chance to learn something new from someone who is involved in the same field as yourself.

The perspective of two musicians making similar styles of music is so different that it has to lead to learning for both sides. I have upcoming collaborations with two of my favourite producers in the game right now, namely Monophonik (IN) and Mani Festo (UK). I am truly excited to finish these projects and unleash them into the universe! It’s been such a pleasure to work with both of them as the mutual respect we share creates a lovely space in which we can let our creative juices flow and mingle.

TF: You’re about to start 2023 with your own residency and a string of shows lined up in the UK as well. What are you most looking forward to?

PRISMER: I’m looking forward to it all! My residency, ‘Mixed Feelings’, will be hosting some of the most exciting and upcoming producers/DJs in India and I am so honoured to have them play my party. The pilot edition is on 27th January, 2023, and features Antariksh Daddy, who runs Antariksh Records and hosts a radio show on Komrad (EU). He is responsible for signing some fantastic homegrown music producers (Sentient, Marbman, Kon-ark, Zero State Kid, Fr4ctal) who are inspired by the UK/Europe rave culture and make music that pays homage to the Hardcore Continuum.

Also on the bill is GoodMostlyBad, a Doha-based, India-born producer/DJ, who has been making waves in the global circuit with releases out on Earful of Wax (UK), Scuffed Recordings (UK), Reel Long Overdub (UK), etc. She’s a fantastic selector as well and hosts her radio show titled ‘Bad Bidnizz’ on Radio Flouka (FR). I can’t stress enough how amazing it feels to have homegrown, world-class artists play at my party series!

After the first edition of my residency, I head to the UK for a show on the 4th of February for the Hot Contents Crew. I’m thrilled for that as it’s my second gig in the UK and I feel really grateful towards them for trusting me to headline their party.

As an artist born and based in a third-world country, it’s quite hard to break into the very competitive, international circuit independently so I do feel great in somehow managing to do that. I also have few radio interviews (Threads Radio, Bass Scoops Radio) lined up in the UK and I’m really excited to share my story so far with them. It feels great to be recognised by the global community and have people want to know about your journey. Hard work, having a sexy, supportive wife and belief in oneself does pay off!

TF: How does your studio downtime look like?

PRISMER: Mostly bantering with my wife, eating junk food and netflixing till our eyes hurt.

TF: Thank you for slicing up an intriguing mix for TFword. What can people expect from it?

PRISMER: Thank you for having me! I figured it would be best to send you guys a mix recorded live in the club as it unabashedly represents how/what I play at gigs. This is a recording from a Medium Rare party (Hosted by FILM at Auro) from November 2022 and it traverses through UK garage, Breakbeat, Broken Techno and Bass music, all stitched together in 100% Prismer style. Including tracks by Vromm, Otik, SP:MC, Tessela, Dexorcist and the likes. Proper underground dance music with plenty of groove, rhythm & bass to get that body moving.

TF: What are Prismer’s plans for 2023?

PRISMER: Lots of exciting things going on with the Prismer Project. As mentioned earlier, I have a 3 month residency from January to March at Summer House Cafe, Delhi that I’m thrilled about. Once a month I will be taking over one of Delhi’s most famous venues and hosting some of the freshest and most exciting names in dance music, both Delhi based and International.

I hope it turns into something bigger. I also have two exciting collaborations with friends who I respect as producers – we are looking forward to releasing both projects on solid labels. I have a few remix projects coming out real soon as well. Side by side I am working on self-releasing a bunch of music that I have been writing over the past few years. All the while I am going to be playing gigs around the country and I am also hoping to plan a small EU/UK tour for the summer.

I have been in talks with some friends from Delhi to form a collective that A&R’s the next generation of music producers from around the country and provides a platform for them to release music and get involved in the music industry. To grow and continue to foster a community around the music we promote is an important step in being a bigger part of the industry.

Here is the mind-bending mix Prismer has put together for us. Sit back and enjoy!

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