From Trapistan to Twerkistan; he has been setting the Indian trap scene on fire.
Su Real recently launched his new album ‘Twerkistan’ and has been going about the country, promoting it in full swing. The Sherp had the opportunity to conduct a tete-a-tete session with the man himself and it was absolutely enlightening. Read all about it here:
The Sherp: Tell us about your experience working on Twerkistan.
Su Real: I’ve played music my whole life but I’ve been a DJ first. And then, as I got more and more into DJing, I realised that one of the things that’s different about it, is that once you start becoming a producer, you’re trying to produce tracks for your DJ set, to play on the dance floor, to get a specific reaction from the crowd. I wanted to make music that makes sense to the desi dance lovers in India. It needed to be something that everyone can dance to, whether you’re inclined to Hollywood or Bollywood, or if you’re a local or an NRI. That’s where the thinking for Twerkistan came about. The name for the album happened when a couple of friends and I would play at parties and instantly see the crowd twerking when we dropped the right songs. So I thought this would be a fun concept to play on and get people twerking on our desi dance floors.
The Sherp: From Trapistan to Twerkistsan, how has the journey been? What’s changed? What are the new and different sounds you’ve incorporated this time?
Su Real: It’s been a great journey. What’s helped is that trap, as a style, has become more mainstream now with Major Lazer and DJ Snake and so on. I remembered today that when ‘Harlem Shake’ first came out, I’d stared doing these trap parties with my friend, DJ MoCity, and we were both on the mad decent mailing list. We got the track the day they put it out and we played it at the party. No one really understood at the time what trap really was all about. 6 months later, after the whole viral video thing happened, I’m playing at a party or a commercial event and people are coming up to say, “Arre Harlem Shake baja lo”. That was a really good scene for me because I just happened to be in that zone and it became popular. So I’m still trying to push it to the max and keep introducing people to new stuff. When I first put out ‘Trapistan’, I was going around playing gigs but I was still learning to adapt a little bit more to the crowd. Now, I’m at the point where if I go to play any show, even if it’s very commercial, even if the rest of the line-up is house inclined, they are receptive. So that’s great!
The Sherp: So you think the audience has slowly started adapting themselves to trap.
Rapidly! For example, last year Nucleya played at the Ganpati Visarjan. He was kind enough to have me open for him. But before me, they had these local guys who were playing for the Visarjan crowd and played all the dhol-wala hits like Bollywood songs and I was getting nervous. I asked Nucleya’s Baja team if they were sure they wanted me to play because I didn’t think it was going to work. I was nervous so when it was my turn, I had a bunch of oldie Bollywood stuff because I like those. But then I mixed trap into the set and I will never forget what happened there. It was one of the best gig experiences of my life. As soon as the bass dropped, the whole place lit up. Everyone had this look that said, “Hum toh yeh dekhne aye the, pehele kya kar raha tha.” So that was a really nice feeling. One thing that really makes me happy is that 10-20 years ago, things used to catch on in India very slowly. Now it’s instant.
The Sherp: How important is it to feel the vibes from the crowd?
Su Real: It’s also a bit of a direct conversation. Like the way I fashion a drop or what I put before a drop. It could be a joke; it could be a statement; anything that I can have a lot of fun with that. I mix very quickly so that I can get as many build ups and drops and other things in. When I started messing about with audio software and computers back in the early 2000’s, people were doing more artistic things. I like to do that stuff too, but with this whole school of mad decent, it’s very vibrant and it’s alive because you don’t have to play the same thing each time. You could go to different cities and incorporate different styles based on what’s going on there. When I started DJing, you couldn’t imagine putting a DJ on stage. As a DJ, you didn’t want to be seen and definitely in the west this was the standard. The DJ booth was hidden away. Now it’s a different environment where you have to be there, with cameras on you.
The Sherp: Do you have any festival performances scheduled or a festival where you’d personally want to perform at?
Su Real: Every year at Krunk they do a bass camp and so I think this year we’re really ramping it up. I’m looking forward to it. Over the last 3-4 years, that’s where I’ve made most of my friends and connections. People unite with a common love for bass music like trap, bass, reggae, etc.
The Sherp: Which is your favourite track off Twerkistan?
Su Real: I might as well reveal it here. My favourite track on Twerkistan is actually a secret bonus track on the album; track number 16 called “Rave Bust”. It says its 12 minutes long because it starts with the audio collage. It is followed by a rave bus track and then there’s some more audio collage and then it’s my favourite track called “Shaadi Barbadi”. It’s right at the end and it’s a little bit twerky. It has the feel of an Indian wedding season and there are all these baraats with the horns. I’ve used some samples of that and then some famous samples of “Yeh shaadi nahi ho sakti hai”. So that’s my favourite track.
The Sherp: So Jagermeister has been a part of your Twerkistan journey in a big way. What do you have to say about your association with them?
Su Real: They’ve been very supportive of this tour. I really appreciate everything that they have done for the album. I just made a song for them so let’s see if they like it and if they want to go with it. The track is called ‘Ice Queen’ and it is heavily inspired by Marshmello, because I wanted it to be fresh and ecstatic.