Anjuna to Assam (Shaveer Ahmed, Assam)

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Chakraview

Shaveer is a lawyer by day time and an avid music producer at night. Popularly known as ChakraView or Felix, he has been producing some of the most twisted tunes to have hit floors around the world.  When it comes to music, he has journeyed across genres, starting from blues to rock to night time music. His first album “Anjuna to Assam” was full of happy powerful tunes and was one of the best received releases on Ektoplazm, Ever since, he has worked with a whole gamut of top notch labels and is currently associated with World People Production, a name highly respected in twilight and night-time psychedelic music scene. We had the privilege to get to know him a little better. 

How did your journey into music start: I was born in Assam to a family of professionals leading quite extraordinary lives, and this was my first source of inspiration. My inclination towards music started at an early age listening to records from my dad’s collection. Later I joined Assam Valley, a boarding school, to which I largely attribute my development in music, instrumentation, and musical preference. Playing with several bands and musicians, and having explored an array of genres, definitely equipped me to understand arrangements and styles.

I joined Hindu College,Delhi University in 2006, where i met a host of serious musicians, and started professionally playing gigs. During the later years of law school, I joined a cult hard rock band called Rampazze. We did quite a few shows and tours,  shot music videos and briefly lived like rock stars.  2007-09 were the years when i started experimenting with electronic music and embarked on my journey as a Psychedelic Trance Producer under the name – Felix and subsequently switched to the name – Chakraview. Ever since my first contact with music production and the finer nuances of it, I can honestly say its been an exhilarating ride which is only getting better with time.

Were there any key people who inspired you to get into music: My first musical instrument was a Hawaiian Guitar, which I had the opportunity of learning from a friend who is now no longer among us. I attended tabla and piano classes back in school but I did not continue as I was not interested in learning music theory. So be it, I picked up my weapon of choice – the Guitar, and it has been my backbone till date for my compositions.

I was gifted my first electric guitar by my Grandmother, who herself was a legendary singer and musician par excellence. Guess this is how the musical genes have been passed down and she has always been an inspiration to me and many others. I am extremely lucky to have a family who has been encouraging and supportive towards my music. My mother and my Aunt Yasmin have always encouraged and introduced me to new music and musicians.

There are way too many people to thank who I have met in this pursuit. I am indeed grateful to all friends, musicians and family that have crossed paths and can truly say that each one has left me inspired and encouraged to keep making music. I am an untrained musician, and I like it that way. Have always followed Bob Marley’s saying – “I no have education. I have inspiration. If I was educated, I would be a damn fool”. But this is  just me, and I would definitely not pass this message to any budding musicians as it does lead to roadblocks sometimes. But honestly, inspiration is the essence.

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Back from the Rampazze Days

You have produced various styles of music. Do you see yourself exploring newer territories in the future?  I can say I have tried my hand with many genres and still exploring new avenues. Coming from a hard rock and blues background, the shift to electronic music was definitely difficult at the beginning. My initial experimentation with electronic music and Digital Audio Workstations started with a dear friend – Erfan. Together, we started working on basic arrangements and sound designs.

I was lucky to gain first hand knowledge from Erfan, as he was a student of SAE. Later, Zoheb, a cousin who had just come back from Goa, introduced me to psytrance and and then was no looking back. I began my production as Felix and released my first debut mini album – Anjuna to Assam in 2010, which was very well received. This definitely gave me an impetus to make more music. Around the same time I also had a project with Erfan called Alien Technology Squad.

Felix was a full on morning psytrance project and made several releases with labels like – Cosmogenesis Records (UK), Psycore recs (UK), and Chill Om recs (Ind). Overtime my sounds started changing and I had taken a liking for forest and deeper night time psytrance music. I produced under the same name though my production style in my EP’ such  as Concrete Jungle and later works changed a lot. Around 2013 I started releasing my tracks with a more serious night time label – Neurotrance Recs (bol).

Eventually in 2014, I decided to put Felix to rest and started out on a fresh lease of inspiration as Chakraview. After performing in many underground parties in Delhi and Parvati valley, Himachal, I felt the urge to change my sound completely. Here, I would like to thank Ananda for the encouragement and the time slots that he would assign to me at various parties. This definitely made me appreciate and groove to twilight psytrance, which is mostly my style of production today.

I would also like to make a special mention and thanks to Abhishek (Cosmic Brahma) who has stood by me ever since I started out with Chakraview and the entire Delhi Psytrance family who have always supported this project. I am currently signed to a popular french record label called World People Production and have also released a lot of my tracks on other labels too such as Sangoma, Macky Mad house, Woo Dog, Insectik Recs, Dream Project, and more.

First Contact
First Contact

Besides Chakraview, do you have any other projects as well: Yes, I am working on a few other projects as well. Magentik Brainz is a project comprising of Ananda and me where we play live guitars and other instruments along with the grooves of psytrance. It is more of a progressive psytrance project and we are also making some tracks on those lines.

The other project that I am eagerly working on is called Melec, with a dear friend and seasoned musician/singer – Winston Balman. It’s an experimental electronic outfit and we make tropical house and melodic deep house. We record our own vocals instead of doing remixes or using accapelas and it feels just right. I also have a sufi/meditative music project which is at an infant stage right now. Guess I need to grow spiritually first and then embark on it. But that’s where I want to  head eventually.

Besides being a musician, you are also a lawyer. Are there synergies between both lives? Does something you do as a lawyer help you make better music or vice versa: Ah yes! The combo of being a lawyer and a musician has baffled a lot of people. It’s not exactly similar but the discipline which is required is common to both. It is indeed challenging to keep pace with these parallel lives but I make an extra effort. We live once so why not? Being a lawyer has helped me be organized and professional and I apply the same even with my music. I think being professional in whatever we do is key to success. So yes I try and fit them both in my life and have absolutely no regrets. I enjoy my vocation and passion equally.

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Morning Scenes

If you ever get into a creative rut, how do you come out: Roadblocks do happen from time to time, but its a phase. There are days when creativity just does not flow so I just stop and wait for the storm to pass. I get on with other things and go attend some gigs in town to shake a leg, or travel around for few days. Have always been an optimist and see the silver lining in every cloud.

Of all the gigs that you have played at, is there one the memory of which still lingers on? And, why was this gig so important: Almost each one of my gigs so far have been special for me. I cannot rank them in any such order and incredibly grateful to all organizers and promoters who have believed in my music. During my band touring days with Rampazze, our gigs were nothing short of magic.

As Felix and Chakraview, there are so many gigs which again bring back good memories. One of my first gigs as a psytrance act was on a boat in the midst of Brahmaputra, which was unlike the ones that i have played till date. Also I specifically remember a performance atop the Aravalli hills, which inspired me to start the Chakraview project. More than the clubs gigs, its the outdoor events and open air –festivals that have always left good memories.

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Alien Technology Squad on the Boat that Rocked

Some gear that you really love and would advice people to try: I am not too much into fancy gear and gadgets, but I do appreciate quality equipment. When it comes to production, I pretty much use Vst’s, and other plugins for my sounds. I recently got myself an Access Virus Ti Snow Synth and am loving its sounds and ease of use. I would suggest that one should make music with gear that one finds easy to operate and where a comfort level can be struck easily. As they say “More than the gear, its the Ear”.

Two tips for aspiring musicians: I would honestly suggest all aspiring musicians to learn an instrument before taking a plunge into music production. I think it has an immense impact on arranging music, compositions and understanding time signatures. Yes always remember music is not a competition, or for getting a date or something. Be honest and grateful to your audience, be humble to fellow musicians, be open to new experiences and you will feel the magic.

Can you name 5 of your favorite musicians and one track from each that you think are must hears: a) Joy of my life – John Fogerty, b) Learn to be Still – The Eagles, c) Little Birds – Bob Marley, d) Train of Angels – Joe Satriani, e) The best of you – Foo Fighters. Each of these tracks resonate positivity and remind me of the simple joys in life.

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Some Releases

Three quotes that you stand by:The winds that sometimes take something we love, are the same that bring us something we learn to love. Therefore we should not cry about something that was taken from us, but, yes, love what we have been given. Because what is really ours is never gone forever.” – Robert Nesta Marley

“There is a voice that doesn’t use words. Listen.” –  Rumi

“Life consists of two days, one for you, one against you. So when it’s for you don’t be proud or reckless, and when it’s against you be patient, for both days are test for you.” – Imam Ali

You can check out more of Shaveer’s killer work on:

Soundcloud 

Beatport

Ektoplazm

World People Productions 

Facebook 

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