Twenty-one-year-old Kumail Hamid is a DJ and producer who makes down tempo music that he describes as ‘organic and experimental’. He is one of an emerging breed of music artistes producing interesting new sounds that define millennial India. In early 2016, he released tunes from an album he previewed at the 2015 Magnetic Fields Festival in Rajasthan and is focusing his energy on collaborations, live shows and the making his first music video.
#QueMag caught up with him to talk about his music, and what makes him tick:
Tell us about the best gig you’ve played as yet.
So far, it’s been the Adidas Flux gig at Social, organised by Homegrown. The response was great.
What has been your most awkward experience at a gig?
I was playing at Katzensuppe [restaurant] in Goa, during a Krunk showcase. A guy asked me to play a Bollywood track and said that if I didn’t, ‘tamasha ho jayega’. So I had to call the bouncers.
Do you have a different persona on-stage?
I’ve always had a few drinks before I go on-stage, so I guess I’m a little more relaxed and less awkward.
Which is the best place you’ve played at?
Sri Lanka. I played an early morning set which started at 6am.
What is the weirdest song request anyone has ever asked you to play?
Animals by Martin Garrix is very popular.
What’s the worst thing to happen to you during a gig?
I was playing at Boveda in Mumbai, and they gave me a very small place to keep my laptop. Because of the thumping bass, it fell off the stage. Luckily Sick Flip, who was playing after me saw what happened and that the music had stopped. He ran to the stage, plugged his laptop in and played some tunes till I set up again. My laptop was badly damaged.
Who is your spirit musician?
I got into music because of an Ninja Tune artist – Eskmo. But I think a major influence for me would be Shlohmo; he’s the reason I make music I do now.
Which musician would you bring back to life?
Jimmy Hendrix, for my dad.
What would you do if you weren’t a DJ?
I’d like to think I’d be an astronaut, but I’d probably be sitting behind a desk in some media firm.
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What is your go-to gig outfit?
I always wear the same thing – a plain t-shirt and a pair of jeans, and the same shoes that I’ve worn for four years or so.
What is the most hilarious Bollywood video/song you’ve ever seen?
Dhinka chika from Ready [goes ahead and sings it].
What is your favourite Bollywood movie?
Rang De Basanti. It was a very well made film. At that time it got away from traditional Bollywood drama.
Which is the first book you’ve ever read that made an impact?
Autobiography of A Yogi.
Which fictional character do you have a crush on?
[Batman’s adversary and Suicide Squad member] Harley Quinn.
Have you ever used a pick up line or has anyone used it on you? Has it worked?
Yea, I have. I went up to a girl outside a bar in Mumbai; she was on a call and I made her hang up. I gave her my phone and said ‘Listen, there’s a problem with my phone’. She asked me what it was. So i said: ‘It doesn’t have your number on it’, to which she replied, ‘Minus 10 for being creepy’. So yeah, things are getting serious between us now.
If you could travel in time where would you go?
To the ’80s; It was a cool time to live in.
You can listen to his music at https://soundcloud.com/kumail-2
This interview is part of a series of q&as with artistes who’re playing new, interesting sounds that represent a young India.
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