Shamik Interview

shamik-press-shot

Photos by Kelly Jacob

  1. What are you working on right now?

 Keeping busy at the moment. The latest release on my label, Sensing Waves, just came out. I have been training in Vancouver for the past year to become a voice actor. I just finished my commercial demo, so I’m getting ready to start auditioning for things on
line. I have a bunch of new beats on the go for a few different projects as well. It’s been a good year, and I’m just getting everything in order this month to keep the momentum going into 2017.

 

 2. What was some of your earliest musical influences?

 My sister and I grew up singing in our religious organization, so music has been around since I was very young. It’s great because I had roots in traditional Indian music, and was also heavily influenced by 80’s & 90’s Western pop culture. I had tapes, listened to my dad’s records (everything from Stevie Wonder to Santana), and used to borrow music out of the public library. I was pretty into Michael Jackson w
hen I was a kid. I remember seeing footage of his concerts when Thriller and Bad came out thinking he was the coolest entertainer in the world. I listened to the radio a lot and watched MuchMusic. I used to record audio from the radio and listen to it over and over again. My sister used to record all the Much programs to VHS, and we’d watch those repeatedly too.

  1. How long have you been making music?

 All in all, I have been performing my whole life and I released my first album in 2006. I have been beatboxing for about 15 years. I started performing at underground shows around 2002, proper shows in 2005, international in 2007. I started producing in 2012. When I was a kid and teenager, I also sang and played tablas.

  1. What inspires you?

 Music and nature. My day to day involves listening to records and looking for music online. So not much has changed since the VHS days haha. Everything is just a bit more accessible now.

Living on the west coast with mountains and ocean around me keeps me motivated and inspired.

Photography is another one of my passions, so I try to go out and take photos every week all over the city. I’ve been in BC for 8 years now and am always discovering new places.

Ideas inspire me as well. I tend to take on a few projects at a time, so I’m usually excited while I’m in the different stages of creation.

 

  1. What changes would you like to see to the music industry to make it more profitable?

 I hope things comes full circle again and more people pay for music. Bandcamp releases, physical copies, concert tickets. It’s all already happening, but I hope it increases even more. I know Spotify and Apple Music are pretty convenient, and there is value to being easily discoverable…but I hope there’s more people seeking out stuff instead of hoping a playlist will do the work.

 

        6 . What would you like to do more of?  Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years?

 I want to keep focusing on Too Attached. The project challenges me to get betToo Attached press shot.jpgter as a producer and write songs differently. I think what Vivek and I are doing is pretty fun and freeing, so I look forward to our growth. I would like my Channeling India series to get noticed in the UK. Some of the best Indian electronic pioneers are from the UK, and I looked up to them when I made Channeling India vol 1. It would be great to share my music out there where there is a huge Indian community. I still feel like the series has somehow gone over a lot of people’s heads, but I’m sure there will still be a volume 3 down the road. My ideal life would be making music, getting booked as a voice actor, getting better at photography, and building on my label. I would love to have more money to spend on Sensing Waves, doing physical releases when there is even more interest, and putting more energy into the visual components. I haven’t toured overseas since 2012, so I would love to take my music internationally again and also tour more with my sister. I also aspire to keep attaining more balance in my life. It can be difficult to navigate having so many goals, so I hope I can live life more seamlessly. At the moment, it’s kind of a healthy chaos.

  1. What personal advice would you give to someone wanting to pursue this career?

 Make goals. Short term and long term. I have a whiteboard on my wall kind of like a to do list. I write on it weekly and cross things out as I go. I find that it’s very much like keeping my eyes on the prize, or having a daily reminder of what I’m working towards. Many times my short term goals are what I need to accomplish to attain my long term goals.

Invest in your career. Your art is your own small business, and you have to spend money to make money. It’s like you are the plant and you are also watering it. Make art because you want to and for yourself. If you have the idea within you, then that’s all you need to begin. Focusing on the results or what people will think can leave you lost or distracted. It doesn’t matter how old you are or if you’re just starting out. You are on your own timeline.

Apply for everything. A lot of my early success came from applying for every festival, sending my CD to promoters in the mail, and spending time reading about events. If you don’t get booked or accepted, keep applying!

Embrace your day job. I know a lot of my peers who have quit their day jobs, and found a way to make art full time. All the power to them. However, if you are funding all your personal projects through working, you have to find a way to be content at work. I used to look at my job as a burden or time wasted, but now I am grateful to have the means to make it all happen. It’s good to have a safety net. I also think it’s great to keep increasing your skills. You might get really good at one thing and want to pursue that…but sometimes having several skills can lead to multiple incomes down the road. I have been teaching myself Ableton Live, Lightroom, Photoshop, and Final Cut Pro all via the internet. DIY!!

 

  1. What are typical mistakes people make when trying to pursue this career?

 I can’t speak for everyone, but I think my biggest mistake would be not believing in myself. I have had a lot of ups and downs in my career. After every tour or release I’ve wanted more even if things were great. Other times, I’ve felt like a vision was overlooked or failed. I think once I turned the 10 year corner of my music career, my faith was renewed. I know now that I just have to keep putting in work. I didn’t think I could become a producer. I thought I would have to spend all this money on gear and making a studio. Now that I have a studio in my place (after steadily buying stuff over the years), it feels pretty natural. I can’t sit and regret not getting here sooner, but I know that I can do a lot if I keep going for it.

 

  1. I saw Too Attached when you played in Edmonton, and I loved it! What can we expect from Too Attached in the future?

Cheers man. This past summer we did 3 dates with Lal, and played at Pride in Toronto…and we recently did 7 dates opening for Tegan & Sara across Canada. I have been working on a bunch of beats for Vivek, and she has sent me some demos as well. It’s a unique dynamic being in a sibling duo with me in Vancouver and her in Toronto…so we have been sending each other ideas via the internet. We are hoping to spend the next few months writing new material, and we should have a new album out in the fall of next year. This past tour was our focus for most of September and October, so it will be nice to make music again. Our first EP was created with us handling our parts in our own cities, but I will most likely go to Toronto next year…so we can complete the album there together.

 

Shamik press shot.jpg

Photos by Kelly Jacob