Tomato Garlic Onion Curcuma: When Audio Pervert Met Psychorigid
“I met Audio Pervert when he came to IOMMA 2013. He was wearing this t-shirt with the logo of Black Flag, I asked him if he knew that band, he knew the band and listened to the music. I was impressed seeing him play with Teddy Boy Kill, with two computers and a Mopho synth! I thought it would make a good partnership if we play music together. And what a name – Audio Pervert! Mine’s Psychorigid. I think we were destined to play music together”.
And thus began a collaboration that would cross genres, countries, boundaries, oceans, languages, sounds, psychologies, styles – eventually leading to three singles and a three city tour in India. This was when Psychorigid met Audio Pervert, when Réunion Island met India, when dirty basslines met original techno met acid house met trap met moombah met madness.
The encounter first transpired between the two artists when Indian electronica duo Teddy Boy Kill won the IndiEarth – IOMMA Call for Artist Showcases competition, which sent them to Réunion Island to perform at IOMMA 2013 and the Sakifo Musik Festival. “At Sakifo, Teddy Boy Kill got the electronic stage to share with Psychorigid”, says Audio Pervert aka Samrat Bee, one half of Teddy Boy Kill, “The stage was set for 6 hours of music to be mixed. The point of collaboration started right after the gig, with Dominique aka Psychorigid and myself wanting to create a song together with our varied backgrounds and tastes. He figured I junked on Acid House and I figured his Dutch Hard House fetishes”. Samrat would go on to introduce Psychorigid (Dominique Iva) to Delhi based DJ/producer Hashback Hashish aka Ashish Sachan – and the collaboration would extend into a third direction. “Though we had been writing to each other previously, we finally met at the IndiEarth XChange when Audio Pervert introduced us to each other”, says Ashish, “This collaboration has come about with IndiEarth providing the opportunity to share and extend the bond of underground and indie music between our (mine, Audio Pervert’s, and Psychorigid’s) worlds”.
With three varying universes of sound from different corners of the world, the challenge for these three artists would be to bring their three worlds together harmoniously and in a way that made sense. Similarly, the resplendent isle of Réunion, from where Psychorigid hails, has been a melting pot of cultural and musical diversity with different identities weaving their worlds together to create a truly unique and colourful tapestry of culture. Maloya music – indigenous dance music of Réunion, sung often in Réunion Creole and believed to originate from the music of African and Malagasy slaves – played a significant role in the cultural and political history of Réunion, as Dominique recounts.
“Réunion Island, before becoming a region of France, was a French colony. France brought African, Indian and Chinese people to this very tiny island for labor”, he says, “Before 1980, the only authorized culture was one that was approved by France. There was only one radio station and only one TV channel, which broadcast a kind of civilized sega music and other French kitschy music. Maloya was banned and did not go on the air. Why? Politics. The French national motto “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” didn’t apply to Réunion, we were not considered full French citizens. Maloya music was used to denounce these injustices and encourage Réunionese to rebel against the French authorities. One of my uncles was very involved in the struggle for the recognition of our culture and our rights as French citizens, because as Creoles we were being denied access to public places; from 1963 to 1982, Réunionese children were being deported to French rural areas that lacked labor; constables mostly of French origin would often abuse our people – we were considered underdeveloped because we were Creole”.
It is from this historical milieu that Psychorigid emerged with his own unique musical identity. “On the advice of my grandfather, I am open to all styles of music”, he says, “I like to compose catchy rhythms and play over big dirty basslines. As no one could put a definition to my style, I found my own: Moufia Bass. Moufia is a district of the town where I live. There is nothing special about Moufia. It is a popular neighborhood of Saint-Denis, influenced by French dirty rap”.
Samrat’s experiences of Réunion and of Maloya music during his travels have also sowed the seeds for a future project between himself and Dominique. “Our idea is to reinterpret Maloya music and beats into electronic sounds and definitions. The project has been initiated between Dominique and myself out of a need to connect many uncharted common cultural points between India and Réunion Island. Maloya also has a political facet to its roots – the voices and lyrics of times gone by. At this stage we are just about deconstructing the basics of Maloya”.
However more immediate is their current collaboration. “As for the musical exchange between us – it was a tiny midi file which started the whole business,” says Samrat, “A melody derived from a happy hardcore style. The three versions of the same melody have been interpreted in three different energies. The language is the sound itself”. The melody Samrat refers to is from Psychorigid’s release Tomato Garlic Onion Curcuma. “The name? That’s Dominique’s creation”, muses Samrat, “His grandmother was from Tamil Nadu. And after seventy odd years the masala influence has remained in the Creole tradition in Réunion. Tomato Garlic Onion Curcuma – the waves and masala across the Indian Ocean”.
The track has been remixed by Audio Pervert and Hashback Hashish, who have reinterpreted it with their own individual sensibilities. “The challenge here was to co-create something in terms of electronic sound and music, and is beyond just sampling and remixing”, says Samrat, “We attempted to create three energies out of one melody. As a producer, it is a unique opportunity for me to push the envelope on the mutation of traditional and digital practices”.
“Psychorigid’s track instantly appealed to me as an amazing, uplifting melodic tune. The swoops in the bass-line took me to a distant landscape. Audio Pervert’s remix is a continuation of the melody, remarkably showcasing his knack of blending it with his unique techno innovations”, says Ashish, “For me, it was more than just an opportunity to create a remix; I wanted my mix to be a piece of art. In this remix, I have attempted to explore the dark techno side of myself, through intense, dance-ready industrial, and bludgeoning beats”.
The collaboration and experiences touring through India had an equally profound impact on Dominique’s artistic sensibilities. “Before my tour in India, I was full of doubt about my art direction, I doubted my own compositions”, he says, “French professionals had issued bad reviews on my work. I now understand that my prospects are very different from their own. I don’t live in Lyon or Paris and they don’t live my everyday in Moufia. Playing my music in India has strengthened me in my approach. I’m convinced now that there’s a strong Indian Ocean identity, and that’s the one I want to belong to”.
These three singles are now being released as an EP titled Tomato Garlic Onion Curcuma Project, which is available for free download until March 9th 2014, right here.
Click buy now > enter 0 in amount > enter email, pincode > you will be sent a download link via mail. Downloads available in mp3, mp3 320 and flac formats.
The release and remixes by Audio Pervert and Hashback Hashish are also available on IndiEarth:
Psychorigid – Tomato Onion Garlic Curcuma (Original Mix)
Psychorigid – Tomato Onion Garlic Curcuma (Audio Pervert Remix)
Psychorigid – Tomato Onion Garlic Curcuma (Hashback Hashish Remix)