A perfect mix of Western sounds and Indian flavour makes ‘Bhussi’ an entertainer with an intriguing dark tale. The recently-released second track by the Indian-American DJ-producer and rapper KSHMR from the album Karam puts Indian hip-hop music on the global map. KSHMR collaborated with rap artistes Seedhe Maut and producer Karan Kanchan for this single. The first track from that album, Haath Varthi featuring MC Stan, was released in May 2023.
Niles Hollowell-Dhar aka KSHMR (pronounced ‘Kashmir’) is one of the few DJs who has broken the Dutch monopoly, carved a niche and risen to the top. He was ranked 23rd on DJ Mag’s 2015 Top 100 DJs poll and was awarded the highest new entry for that year.
Born to an American mother and an Indian-Kashmiri father, KSHMR says he has been told from a young age to be proud of his Kashmiri origins. “And for my artist name, I wanted something that felt personal to who I am.”
During his tour in India post-Karam release, KSHMR talks to us about ‘Bhussi’ and says he came up with the idea for a storyline and album to get rappers out of their comfort zone. “I wanted to put them (Seedhe Maut members Siddhant Sharma and Abhijay Negi) in perspective of their character which led to different songs for the album and the storyline and tracks came together.”
Partners in prime
After the successful collaboration with MC Stan for ‘Haath Varthi’ in May 2023, KSHMR found a perfect vibe in Seedhe Maut and Karan Kanchan as well. “’Bhussi’ came out of my sessions in Mumbai when I first flew out to work on the album. Karan and I cooked up a beat in an hour or two that we played for Seedhe Maut and they loved it,” says KSHMR for whom the album is a dream come true. “I started out producing hip-hop, then went on to pop and then dance, so to return to hip-hop and with Indian artists is surreal to me growing up. I used to visit India and loved hip-hop but never thought the two would cross over like this.”
KSHMR has always thrived on his Indian roots and believes India is a big part of who he is. “It’s my heritage, I pull from the wealth of Indian musical history to create and I am still using Indian sounds in my music all the time,” says KSHMR who also loved the Beatles and the Killers in his growing-up years. “There was a period of my life where I was into darker rock music, like Korn, Marilyn Manson. Wherever there is melody and emotion, I’m for it.”
The EDM high
About his transition to electronic music, KSHMR says when EDM came to the US, it was focused on EU Dutch artistes who were using the big room and prog house sounds. “To counter that, It was uplifting to see trap music where it got darker and leaned to hip-hop… it is constantly going back and forth where people gravitate toward dance music that is cooler. Techno and tech houses are all interesting to me and dance music that has melodies is the most interesting to me,” adds KSHMR who’s enthused about his new dance single and a dance album that’s on the horizon.
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