In the groove

- Post Report, Kathmandu
Once I develop aninterest in something,I like to get to thebottom of it. So I tookit upon myself to learn production, filmingand editing. Theinternet was a bighelp in all of thisBishesh Pandey

Oct 13, 2015-Bishesh Pandey, known as Chronic Beatz in the Nepali hip hop community, and the owner of The Basement Studio, has had an interesting career. He has made the transitions from a rapper to a beat maker to a composer and then to a video producer. He has produced hits for B-8eight and Arluv Gurung and has also worked on TV spots for various media outlets. In this interview with The Post’s Gaurav Pote, Pandey talks about his multi-dimensional career. Excerpts:

How did you get into music in the first place? Did you receive any training?

It’s been over a decade that I’ve been involved in music. It all started with the piano lessons I took in school. As it turned out, learning the piano really paid off because once I got the hang of it, it was all about using that knowledge to master the software to make digital music. I didn’t even need to train at it. The only training I had was the piano tutorials, twice a week in school.

Besides singing, you also compose music and produce videos. How did you branch out into these areas? What else do you do that we are not aware of?

When you’ve been in music for so long, composing songs comes quite naturally. I prefer to synchronise the lyrics with the piano melodies first so that I’m not bound by the words. It has always been that was—first the music, then the song. As for the videos, it hasn’t been that long since I’ve worked as a producer. I picked up a thing or two about post-production from online tutorials, even before I knew much about camerawork. Once I develop an interest in something, I like to get to the bottom of it. So I took it upon myself to learn production, filming and editing. The internet was a big help in all of this. I also paint sometimes—it’s a childhood hobby. And currently, I’m acting in a movie, too.

What are the bigger projects you are working on?

I recently completed making music for an eKantipur advertisement and the radio version for the same. I have also finished production work of the videos for some local artists. That aside, there’s a lot going on right now, but I feel like it’s a high time for me to get back to my own pending projects.

If you had to choose only one pursuit from among singing, making music or producing a video, what would it be?

I would definitely choose making music because I’ve been doing it for so long. Music has always been in my blood, so I think I’ll never be able to let it go no matter where I go or what I do. I think I enjoy it too much. But in the future, I plan to get a degree in cinematography. It’s always useful to learn new things along the way, too.

How did you get your moniker, Chronic Beatz? Also, tell us how you made your transition from a rapper to a producer, and to being the owner of a recording studio?

I was associated with a band called Da Chronicz long ago. When we split, I chose to keep the name Chronic and added Beatz to that since I was quite good at making beats, and people started referring to me with that name.

While still in school, I wrote some lyrics, but then I needed the beats to record the actual songs. I decided to meet a producer and even handed him all the savings from my lunch-money to cover his cost—only to end up with a track that I didn’t even like. So I asked him about the software he had been using to make music, got my hands on it later and began toying around. Over the years, I was able master the software, thanks to my piano lessons. But once the songs were recorded, I needed a standout video to go with it, so I decided to try filming as well. In the midst of all this, it hit me that I could open a studio where I could actually professionally do all this. That’s how I transitioned from being a rapper to a music producer, and then to a video producer. And that is also how I came to own a studio.  

Can you tell us a little bit about The Basement Studio?

In the beginning, I did all the recordings in my room. As I grew older, I needed a proper space to work, so I set up The Basement Studio. It is now a professional studio, where we not only record songs but also compose and produce albums and make videos. I’m usually at the studio working mostly on hip hop and R&B tracks and videos. But we work on jingles, TV commercials and the occasional movie song as well.

Where do you find your inspiration/motivation as a musician?

I grew up listening mostly to West Coast music, so I have a soft spot for it. I used to be a huge fan of NWA and it was Dr Dre’s music that inspired me to start making hip hop beats in the first place. Eventually, I started producing R&B songs as well once I developed the taste for it after listening to artists like Usher, Omarion and Bow Wow. Today, I’ve come to enjoy all kinds of music, and anything that soothes me ends up inspiring me. But at the end of the day, there’s still so much left to do. At least I feel that way, and that keeps me motivated to continue making music.

How well, in your opinion, is the Nepali music industry doing today? How is it different from when you first started out?

As opposed to when recording a song as an artist meant dealing with mean record labels and spending a fortune to shoot a single music video, it’s so much easier for the artists today. The emerging singers, particularly with the technological know-how, have everything at their disposal to make a name for themselves. Practically just about anyone can record a song and package it into a budget video ready to go on YouTube and other social media platforms; and provided that their music is really good, they can become hugely popular in no time at all. Unlike in the past, they no longer need to release an entire album, and it is no longer necessary to make a mark in the music scene: a single will do. Similarly, they don’t have to hire large video crews and massive cameras and lights for the videos; a small creative team with a good DSLR will suffice. The most important tool of all is the internet. The social media and video portals make for really effective platforms for all artists.

What’s next for Bishesh Pandey?

I’ll be starting beat-making classes soon, so that I can share my knowledge and experience with upcoming producers and musicians, and I’ll also teach them a few new things. Besides that, I’m always up for anything that’s creative and challenging.

Published: 13-10-2015 09:20

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