Abhishek Chanda, who was raised in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands, talks about his downtempo new record
Among the calming electronic EPs released this year from club favorite DJs, Bengaluru/Port Blair producer Synths Back aka Abhishek Chanda’s debut record Kioku has been in the works since 2017.
The artist, a faculty member in the audio engineering department at True School of Music in Mumbai, teamed up with two connections he made at the institution. Mumbai-based singer Ruhika Rao contributes airy, moody vocals on the tracks “Aural” and “Fall,” while there’s an improvised trumpet lead by Italian-origin multi-instrumentalist Aki Spadaro injected into the tranquil song “Ocean Express.” The DJ-producer says, “Aki and I were listening to the EP when he just picked up the trumpet and started doing a improv during ‘Ocean Express’ was playing, which was later recorded and then added to the track.”
When the three tracks were (remotely) pored over by Chanda, Rao and Spadaro during the first lockdown in early 2020, the producer realized the songs “belonged together.” Released on Mumbai-based company Krunk’s label Krunk Kulture, Kioku takes its name from the Japanese word for “memory” or “memories.” Chanda says, “The name ‘Kioku’ was inspired from the love for anime culture and Studio Ghibli movies that Ruhika and I shared in common and the name stuck.”
The DJ-producer worked with stock digital instruments in audio workstation Ableton for Kioku, also using a Arturia MiniBrute analog synthesizer for “low end bass sounds” on “Aural” and “Fall.” He adds, “’Ocean Express’ chord sounds came from an analog modeled Mellotron guitar preset from [software sampler] Kontakt library, the mellotron guitar sound is what gives the track its nostalgic appeal.”
Owing to the pandemic taking away regular gigs in Bengaluru, Chanda has been in Andaman and Nicobar during the pandemic. “Apart from the financial constraints, personally the lockdown gave me a better mindset to reflect upon my production skills,” he adds. There’s more “upbeat club music” in the works next and the DJ-producer hopes “we can once again return to celebrating life like we did before.”
Stream/buy ‘Kioku’ EP below. Hear on more platforms.