22-year-old Kumail Hamid’s electronic music explores the more ethereal regions of sound. His soundscape is essentially an eclectic mix of ambient music and broken beats. He combines bass with heavily manipulated live recording and atmospheric sounds and rhythms that play in sections.
‘I’m influenced by new music every day’, he says. There are also lo-fi beats, ambient soundscapes, film scores, jazz and hip-hop. ‘If there’s one artist that has influenced me significantly, it’s Shlohmo. His album, Bad Vibes really set the tone for some of my most recent releases. He tops the list!’ However, he feels that down-tempo as a genre is under-rated and needs a push. ‘I think anything that strays away from commercial music is under-rated in this industry. It’s about time that the music scene gives it the well-deserved spot. But at the same time, it’s nice to know that the community is growing and all the supporters of these alternative genres are part of one big family.’
The Mumbai-based artist has been experimenting with music for about four years now. How his musical journey began is a rather funny story. ‘My sister was in a relationship with a rapper at the time. So, I found myself listening to Young Money Squad which sort of kick started my short lived career as a rapper. The years preceding, I moved onto chillstep before I was introduced to the label Ninjatune [Eskmo in particular] which initiated my shift towards more intelligent music.’
He released his debut EP, Flashbulb Memories in 2015 and thereafter got cracking on his forthcoming album, Links. The album was released early 2016 at the Magnetic Fields Festival. ‘I was working on it while my EP was in the process of being released,’ Kumail explained. ‘It’s interesting how every track has evolved over time. These are all very different but also similar in so many ways. I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone a bit, and explored a lot of new sounds and frequencies. It’s more organic than my other work.’ Personal experiences/ stories sketch the contours of his tracks. Kumail’s music is heavily influenced by his feelings. ‘A lot of my music is a mirror of my relationships, some more personal than others.’
As a musician, Kumail has some interesting quirks and muses. He is more of a day person. He is focused and quiet when producing music. And he can’t make music in a dirty room. ‘I find myself most creative when my mind is fresh, first thing in the morning. Songwriting is a very personal and private process. I need to feel a connection with the space I’m in to get my creativity flowing, which is why my morning ritual finds me organising my space very carefully.’
Catch Kumail live on 8th September at the screening of Sailing the Kalizma at Summer House Cafe, Mumbai.
Text Hansika Lohani Mehtani