Please tell us about yourself
More popularly known as Chatty in the music world, Chaitanya wasn’t born in a family of musicians nor was he trained in music. Yet, there was a natural inclination. His family’s love for Ilayaraja’s melodies was his earliest influence towards music. But slowly the bug bit him too!
“I used to listen to enigma in seventh or eighth class, back when there was no internet in 1998 or 1999. It was a new-age futuristic music. 104.8 FM Wicked Studio used to come at around 12-1 at night. Once they played an Enigma song. My real love for music started from there.”
It wasn’t just there that the 12-year old boy from Panipat would stop. “I couldn’t find the songs anywhere. Cassettes weren’t available. I used to write 15 paise post cards asking the radio station to play the same song again.”
Coming from a small town, the most available English songs back then there would be Michael Jackson and, in case you are lucky, the likes of Madonna and Backstreet Boys. In order to buy the lesser popular albums, one had to travel 120-130 kms all the way to Delhi. The misery wouldn’t end there, as the shopkeepers would sell the cassettes at 150 times the price.
“It needed four Maths papers to get 35 out of 35 marks in my unit test exams to get enough money to buy four cassettes. Back then it used to cost Rs 195 – 130 for the cassette and additional 65 as black. However, once I got hold of it, I would keep listening to their tracks. Soon I realised that I was not only enjoying the music, but also started wondering how it was being made.”
How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and cool career?
Slowly, with the advent and popularity of internet in India, in the early years of the century, Chatty became exposed to the more like-minded music bands. It opened new dimensions for him as he became acquainted with the music of Chemical Brothers and Deep Forest. Yet, he wasn’t playing beats on boards or humming songs. He enjoyed music in his free space.
But destiny took its first turn for him when he joined his engineering college in Kurukshetra. “The college was in Kurukshetra mostly had students from backward areas. People used to neglect me for the kind of music I would listen. They would think that I was not sane, I was a maniac. What it did was, it left me alone to listen to my kind of music.”
However, in all neglect, he found his real companion. It was in college that he was introduced to FL Studio. “There was a magazine that used to come – E4U. They used to give free CDs with free demo software. It was when I got hold of FL Studio – the software that I realised that music could be made on a computer. But really proved to be a bane was the fact that people often confused my music to be a work of technology. Many often fail to realise that there it is complete art with the technical know-how of the software. The music is created by me the way I want it to be.”
What were the challenges?
Yet, his music was hard to understand in an age where the exposure to world music and its different forms were limited. For someone who had limited reliance on lyrics and strayed far away from the Bollywood style, it didn’t cut ice with the people around him. Yet, his expertise in cross-fading using Winamp earned him the respect of being the virtual DJ in college days.
Things were to go nowhere as Chatty would come to realise with his music. In his own mind, he wasn’t too concerned about making music as a career option. Few could understand and fewer could love and relate to it. Yet, he persisted with ‘his kind of music’ even after college days. He would make and upload his music on online forums for electronic artists. This happened to form his first genuine fan base. Slowly, he gained popularity there and rose as high as the third rank in the list.
Financially, ‘his music’ could’ve never been a viable option in India. Most of little fan base too was formed abroad. It was around 2004-05 when DJs in India started gaining popularity, that some flicker of hope for Chatty’s music career to rise. “People in my college would then remember, ‘woh chotu kuch bajata tha na. Shayad woh DJgiri hi karta tha’. I tried to learn that thing, but it never worked for me. For me ‘my music’ was still an art. I could’ve never been a DJ”
“It took me a few years to meet like-minded people and those who could understand ‘my music’ and respect it. Slowly, with a few people coming and going, endless jamming sessions and countless ideas being floated around, we managed to make good music together.” With the popularity of the band growing in India and the international market, Chatty, now a father, wishes to devote more time to music with the hope of taking it up as a full-time profession.
Tell us about your music
As Krazy Electrons sets to launch its album on Friday, it will be the first time the world will be witness to an Ethno Drum and Base form of music. With a line-up of eight songs, Ajay Jayanhti (violinist), Anand Bhaskar (vocalist) and Chaitanya Bulusu (Electronica artist) will present a unique form of music, hitherto unheard. For those who have seen them perform live, vouch for the refreshing twist Krazy Electrons brings to the usual line-up of rock and electronica artists.
“Today, people are more accepting and appreciative towards new forms of music. It is clear with the way people react and respond to us after our live performances. The music scene in the country, especially metros has changed for the better,” Chaitanya concludes.
It’s a mix of emotions, contrasts, moods and science. Well, technically one will find a lot of elements like techno, synth, electro and loads of melodies in my portfolio; it is like a mix of everything. However, essentially, I don’t really like to put my music in any genre. I guess everything is electronic music. But when specifically asked, for example, this EP, I mention it as Synth Minimal. The mix of elements I use is quite unique and synth-driven and hence Synth Minimal. LAYER’s music intends to make the audience groove, make them dance and make them experience a meaningful trance by introducing them to ecstatic and special stories – something which the electro enthusiasts yearn for. All my tracks have this innate harmony between melody and groove. The forte spans across Minimal Tech, Deep House, Electro Clash and Ethnic Psychedelic to name a few.
What are the instruments that come along in Layer Music Project?
Talking about my contraptions and my musical companions, I use Korg Volca FM, Zaquencer, Spark Altruia Drum machine and customized MIDI controller in live gigs and my influences run deep and vast as Infected Mushroom, Prodigy, KSHMR, Royksopp, Enigma, Deep Forest and Illayaraja. Also, I would like to highlight here that LAYER wishes to break the perception that music has to be accompanied with drugs to experience ecstasy; it believes there are many more ways to represent underground music and celebrate.
Who all are your major inspirations in this journey?
My major inspirations are my journeys, my experiences and the people I meet. Besides, a very close friend, Ankurz deserves most of the credit for inspiring me in everything I do in LAYER.
How did you start off with LAYER Music Project? What does the name signify?
LAYER is a pathway to a boundless repository of music in its purest fractal form transcending genres and styles. Curated in the summer of 2016, its conception is based on a simple idea – creation and promotion of quality music. Talking about the decisive moment to create it, I think somewhere we all like to think we have years to try things out. But then comes the subdued moment when you realize that none of the things you tried made you happy. Once you know what your happiness is attached to, all it takes is to make the decision.
Coming from a DnB and Psychedelic trance background, I try to include a generous and innate dose of live sampling, layering and an overall vibe in all my creations that could be truly and easily defined as eclectic. Hence, it is called as LAYER. The oeuvre has myriad compositions experimenting with swing, melody, vibe, emotions and atmosphere. In the live gigs of LAYER, one will always hear high Octane energy dance Music.
Tell us something about your upcoming gigs?
The EP’s promotional tour is on and so many more gigs are in the offing, both at national and international level, at Mumbai, Pune, Goa and United States. The last two gigs, held at Mumbai at Covert Café and 3 Wise Monkeys respectively, received an amazing response and I look forward to this next batch in-store.