Inspired by music from video games, Upamanyu Datta better known by his artist alias – PABLO, is an Indian multi-layered artist who started making music at the age of 16, and is now one of the fastest rising names in the Indian dance music circuit.
With no restrictions to genres, PABLO’s music and high energy DJ sets are full of the catchiest beats mixed with unique sounds, striking a balance between the mainstream and the underground. Having played in venues across the country, he definitely knows how to keep crowds on their feet.
Check out our chat with Upamanyu where we discuss his highlights of 2018, and plans for 2019.
T.H.E – Hey Upamanyu! Welcome to T.H.E – Music Essentials. How has 2018 been for you overall?
PABLO – Hey Akshay! Thanks for inviting me for this interview. 2018 has been a very busy year for me both in and out of the studio. I’ve had my own set of personal struggles and doubts, but I’ve ended up making a lot of music and playing in a lot of places so it’s safe to say it’s been a very productive one, and I’ve learned a lot. Music is the only thing that has kept me going.
T.H.E – The year started with a release of a bass house track – Bloodhound, which was very well received. That must be a great start for you?
PABLO – Well yes it was. Bloodhound was released on a very big network ‘We Rave You’ and I guess it got the recognition it deserved. Bass house was really trending and it still is, and I decided to have my shot at it. It was a really different idea and I love house music, so I had a lot of fun working on it.
T.H.E – Since then, you have experimented with quite a few genres like electro-house, and G-house. Why do you feel the constant need to experiment beyond your genre, and how does it inspire you?
PABLO – Well I think artists shouldn’t limit themselves to a certain sound or a genre. I think a lot of producers just try to land their tracks on a big label and then they keep making more of the same thing. That’s not me. Once I’ve made a certain style I’m done. I move on to something new. Music for me is about personal growth and that’s how I keep pushing it forward. I always try to make something new when I’m in the studio. For example, in ‘Twitter Fingers’ I sampled the typing sound on a keypad. On ‘Food Chain’ I sampled the sound of bees. I keep looking for new sounds and ideas, but my basic vision stays the same. I have my own sound.
T.H.E – Which genre would you say are you most comfortable with?
PABLO – Dubstep. Or brostep to be more specific. It’s something I’ve been listening to since I was in school, when I was first inspired by artists like Skrillex, Nero, and Zomboy, to start producing. Those were golden days, but times have changed and so has the sound of EDM. I made a dubstep track this year and it did pretty well, but I have moved towards a more hip-hop sound right now. Something that has been more commercial in 2018.
T.H.E – Tell us about ‘Soldier’, the track that you claim is your personal favourite. How long was it in the works, and what inspired it?
PABLO – Yes it is! Its the dubstep track I just mentioned I made this year. Its got this reggae vibe to it and really cool vocals. Of all the 8 tracks I made this year, I think this took the least amount of time. I actually made it in like a week. And the best part about producing ‘Soldier’ was that I could just shred any way I wanted to. Its one of those songs I felt really happy making and had a lot of fun when I would play it in the car and my friends would vibe to it. It’s very special to me.
T.H.E – How has 2018 been on the touring front? We hear that you’re taking things a bit slow, because you are working on new music which also includes an EP?
PABLO – It has been crazy. For all the shows that I’ve done in and out of my city, I’ve played to amazing crowds and made a lot of new friends through my tours. The South Indian cities like Hyderabad, Bangalore and Trivandrum have been really receptive to my music. Its been very tiring but I’ve learned a lot about the different kinds of music people listen to, and that has shaped my taste for the kind of music I’m going to be putting out this year. I haven’t been touring for the last 3 months because I’ve been working on a lot of new music. I’m a content creator first and then a performer so I felt I need some time off so I could put my time and energy into my music. And yes I just finished my new EP.
T.H.E – What can you tell us about the EP? What kind of sounds can one expect?
PABLO – It’s a 4-track EP. It is my first one as PABLO, and it’s definitely very personal to me. I think this EP is like a status update for me to everyone out there. What I’ve been up to and what I’ll be doing from now. It’s the most honest example of my art till date and I have not held back in any way or tried to be influenced by any trend or anything. This is just who I am, and people who genuinely like my music will find me. It’s a trap/rap EP with a lot of bass sounds.
T.H.E – You have mentioned that you want to develop a new sound in 2019, something which transcends everything that you have created. Can you tell us a bit more about what to expect?
PABLO – Yes my new music is going to very different from most music that is being created these days. I’m not trying to hype it or anything, but I think it’s going to take most people by surprise. It’s about being a multi-layered artist for me – someone who can write, produce, perform and also rap. I want to tell my stories with my music, so I decided to pick up a mic.
T.H.E – What have been the toughest challenges you have faced in 2018, and how do they inspire you for 2019?
PABLO – The toughest thing has been standing out as an artist. Being a bass act in India, I don’t know if I stand in the mainstream or the underground, and the market is saturated with similar artists on either side of the spectrum. For me, it’s always been about the music, so I’ll be looking for new ways to stand out from the rest of the artists. I’ve also had some unfortunate circumstances this year including things like defaulted payments, which makes things really difficult. So I’m really looking forward to working with more honest and genuine people in 2019.
T.H.E – What goals have you set for yourself, in 2019?
PABLO – I want to create my identity as an artist. I want people to listen to a track and be like ‘hey that sounds like PABLO’. That’s what I want and I’m being honest. I want replay value on my tracks. Even if a handful of people like my music, I want them to listen to it on repeat. Tell their friends about it. Once my EP drops, I want it to go as big as possible. I want to create a listening experience for people who love my style. I want to interact with those who like my stuff. I want them to know my story. I’m sure the rest of it will follow on its own.
T.H.E – Lastly, what are your thoughts on the dance music scene in India? Which artists would you say are doing extremely well, and inspire you?
PABLO – I think India has come a long way compared to when I first started out. It is not okay to say things like a certain genre of music will not work in India, because I think every single artist can have a niche audience here if they want to. But as far as the commercial scene is concerned, its moombahton all the way. I think Indian audiences have a thing for 100 BPM and I’ve realised this playing in clubs. But on a general note, hiphop has made a comeback into the mainstream this year – just in a more dark form and I think it will soon take over happy Pop/EDM with more people dealing with depression every day. As for other artists, Akade is like a big brother to me, and he keeps pushing me to be a better producer every day. He’s made some amazing music this year with a lot of support from the biggest DJs, and I have a couple of huge tracks coming up with him. Mr. Bose has also been killing it – he’s started touring abroad. He’s like a brother to me as well and has helped me a lot as a DJ over the years. I hung out with Goa artist Skeletron too earlier this year, and he inspired me to make my hybrid psy track ‘Floe’. You should definitely check out his track ‘Kabira’, its one of my favourites this year. Btw ‘Floe’ releases on Monday, alongwith a festival trap VIP edit, and is my last release for the year.