The person that balances everything to make the song tell its story, is our definition of a music producer. Imagine a music producer as being a mixologist and a singer, songwriter, software, sounds like the ingredients. How good the final result is will depend on how well the mixologist or in this analogy, the music producer tries to get aligned with and balance the artistic consideration of the artist or track. Look at it as if the music is a painting, and the production is providing the canvas. A good music producer is always listening to music, both old and brand new, in order to become experts of their main genre or even explore new ones. I other words, versatility is golden for any talent to find sources of inspiration
Today we speak to Harish Pahadiya, popularly known by his artist nickname “Exsite”. Exsite is an electronic music producer from Panjim, Goa who specializes in music genres such as Pop, Hip-hop, and Trap. We at Goan Insider were pretty excited about his latest release, “Sangeet” which is a collaboration with an up-and-coming Bicholim-based rapper Dimaag. Sangeet is one of his unique projects as it combines Hindi rap with Electro House. In 2019, Exsite’s psytrance track ‘Rudra’ charted in the Top 100 Trance chart on iTunes. He says that his ultimate goal is to collaborate with as many new rappers and singers as possible to create something mutual and unique that reflects our country’s youth culture and a new musical style. He wants to be more like a medium between them and the sound. Beyond the Indian market, Exsite is also working on several international collaborations with musicians from Canada, New York, and more.
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Trust in yourself, keep trying, and take care of your other obligations. A lot is possible if you work hard and plan your time wellExsite
We had a candid session with Exsite regarding his new music, his career, and co-founding a record label called MillionShades Records. Read about it below.
Tell us a little about yourself as an artist. What is the inspiration behind “Exsite’?
My name is Harish Pahadiya, and I’m a 20-year-old electronic music producer from Panjim, Goa. I’m popularly known by my artist nickname “Exsite”. Exsite is a stylized representation of the word “excite,” since I feel that my passion and enthusiasm for music are the primary emotions that motivate me to create music.
You are a young independent electronic dance music producer from Panjim. What got you interested in production?
Music TV channels were a big source of amusement for me while I was in elementary school. VH1, a music channel that strongly marketed electronic and pop music, drew me in to music in general. As soon as I was introduced to the internet, I began downloading songs and saving them on my laptop in an attempt to further that curiosity. The internet has also played an important role in my music career because it has helped me to get a better understanding of the music industry. I installed VirtualDJ, my first music app, solely out of curiosity. It didn’t take long for me to get used to it and make my first mashup. For a while, I made mashups and wondered, “How are these songs even made?” and “What if I could make my own song?” These were the thoughts that fuelled my interest in music production.
People starting out in music may be questioning what they need, in order to get started. What was the first set of equipment/software you ever bought?
I was never a demanding kid. When the thought of music production struck me, I simply decided to download a free demo version of a DAW called FL Studio and installed it on a decent laptop my father had bought me for school. I used to make music with a pair of earphones because I didn’t have any professional knowledge about equipment. Finally, I upgraded to a pair of good headphones that I could afford. We now live in such a technologically sophisticated environment that anybody can make a hit song in their bedroom with nothing more than a good laptop, a pair of headphones, and some determination.
What process do you go through in finding the perfect tune? Did you study production through courses or just experiment?
Music production for me started as an interest, which later became a hobby and now it’s a side hustle. The process of finding a perfect tune took me a while as I was doing nothing but experimenting with the DAW and the sounds with an intention to make a good song. Having no knowledge of music theory or any practical production knowledge, my experimentation and YouTube were the only two things that helped me train myself. As a couple of years have passed now, the process of making music for me has become very smooth and independent because I was never bound or restricted to traditional music making methods.
Tell me the story of how you arrived at this point in your musical career?
My career as a music producer started in 2015, when I produced my first ever Remix/Bootleg version of the late Avicii’s song “Waiting For Love.” I’ve always loved and admired Avicii, and he’s always been an inspiration to me, so I figured there wouldn’t be a better time than now to remix one of his new album’s tracks.
Throughout these years, I produced and released various songs in my free time trying to find my sound or a special thing about my songs. It wasn’t until 2019 that I did an official remix of a Hindi pop song called ‘Har Taraf’ by a Gujarat-based singer/songwriter, Dhyan. The remix blew up among my local audience and gained about ten thousand streams in about two weeks. I started to realize that this is the type of style and sound people in my surrounding enjoy and it also formed a signature identity for myself. Those sounds included a plucky bass shot, catchy melodies, and punchy drums which I continue to incorporate with my songs even today. My most noticeable songs with my signature sounds are ‘Har Taraf Remix’, ‘Parade’, ‘Nandini Remix’, ‘Kyun Hai’, ‘Sangeet’ & ‘Trade It All’.
What genres do you specialize in? How has the response been towards your tracks?
I specialize in Pop, Hip-hop, and Trap since I’ve discovered that these are the styles in which I can best articulate my sound design and imagination. The response to my songs has exceeded my expectations. In 2019, my psy-trance track ‘Rudra’ charted in the Top 100 Trance chart on iTunes for the first time, and I realised it was beginning to mean something. I began working with my sound design more at the start of the 2020 covid-19 quarantine, and I created a number of tracks that I independently scheduled and published during the year. Slowly but gradually, my work gained recognition both locally and internationally. In the same year, I also won two official remix contests. One of them was hosted by Goa’s finest music producer Skeletron, placing me #1 in his ‘Table Fan Remix EP’.
Which track that has been released are you most proud of?
I am very proud of my song ‘Trade It All’ which is my biggest International collaboration with a Canadian rapper and a singer, JSTN DMND and FYSL. The reason I say this is because this song is signed and released via Elysian Records, which is one of the best Trap music labels in the entire world right now. It was a dream come true to me as some of the artists who I grew up listening to during my early years of music production have released on this platform. I find ‘Trade It All’ my most well written, composed and produced song by far.
What inspires you and what makes you want to keep producing music?
My love and enthusiasm for music is what motivates me to continue making music. It’s been years since I first joined the music industry, and there hasn’t been a single day when I’ve grown tired of it. If I’m not making music, I’m listening to or watching others do it. It is everything about which I am still drawn. Another factor that motivates me to continue making music is my past self, and how much I’ve progressed and developed over the years.
Who are the producers who have most influenced your approach to music production and why did they have that influence?
Skrillex, Diplo, and Avicii are three of my all-time favourite music producers who have inspired me. I’ve been listening to these artists long before I started producing music. There was something distinctive about these musicians. All three were effective in getting their distinct musical styles into the mainstream, and this is what drives me: not restricting a musical style to a niche, but bringing it global by incorporating and collaborating with a variety of other musicians and letting the world hear what you’ve created and what you’re capable of.
How do you approach the projects on which you work?
I am a big fan of sound sampling. Before I begin any session, I record or lay down samples and begin stacking, layering, or manipulating them until I feel I have a solid base upon which to build a track. I create the whole track around my foundation (which I often refer to as the “backbone” of a song). I personally follow the 4-bar loop principle, which states that if a 4-bar sound loop does not bore me after playing it repeatedly, I realise I’ve got a hit on my hands. This principle can seem strange at first, but it has always proven to be useful for me.
Tell us a little about your recent release ‘Sangeet’
‘Sangeet‘ is one of my new releases. It is a project which I started in 2019 but it didn’t see the light of the day until this year of 2021. The reason I delayed it was because I wasn’t satisfied with my work. Normally, I dump a lot of projects when I don’t feel happy with them. But the core idea of this project in specific felt really special to me so I decided not to ditch it but store it for later.
It wasn’t until late 2019 that I reopened this project and made significant structural improvements without losing sight of the original concept. When I thought it was almost over, I asked an up-and-coming Bicholim-based rapper if he’d like to contribute a verse to the song’s breakdown. He decided to work on it and wrote the lyrics, giving the song the name “Sangeet.” This song is unique in that it combines Hindi rap with Electro House. I’ve always wanted to do something different to reflect Goa’s EDM and rap scene. So I self-released this song this year when I saw the perfect opportunity because rap is popping off in the state right now due to the contribution of the hip-hop collective group, Goa Trap Culture.
You are the co-founder and the manager of MillionShades Records. What got you interested in starting a record label? How has this experience been?
I am a co-founder and the manager of MillionShades Records, which is a registered EDM record label company pushing out and representing the EDM scene of India to the world.
The idea of starting this record label came in 2017 when I was looking for record labels to publish my songs as I had no idea how to get them out there. I would get rejected a lot of times because at the time my songs did not meet the label standards. Instead of the situation letting me down, I decided to keep making music and upload them on a Youtube collective channel named “The Million Shades”. My internet friend and I who share the same interest started this channel. As time passed by, we started receiving a lot of song submissions requesting an upload. With all the knowledge, experience, and resources we gained, we eventually decided to turn this music collective into a record label and start publishing songs on every single platform and not just YouTube.
In a few years, we were able to garner more than a million streams across various music platforms as well as make a name for ourselves in the Indian EDM scene.
What sorts of projects are you working on lately?
I’m currently working on a number of Trap, Pop, and Hip-hop projects. My goal is to collaborate with as many new rappers and singers as possible to create something mutual and unique that reflects our country’s youth culture and a new musical style. I’m also working on several international collaborations with musicians from Canada, New York, and more.
What are a few key lessons you’ve learned about producing that other aspiring musicians and producers could take advice from?
Regrettably, India is a place where studying creativity is fraught with difficulties. This is mostly caused by a lack of support from friends, families, and the community. The mentality that surrounds us causes us to doubt ourselves to the point where many young artists give up. Knowing this, I make an effort to avoid being consumed by negativity and to continue doing what I enjoy.
Because of the lack of appreciation, music production, in particular, can be aggravating. Producers are rarely included in the main titles and are often included in the credits. People underestimate the value of producers in a project. Any advice I might offer to aspiring musicians is to always try to treat yourself as a standalone brand, collaborate in projects that encourage your artist identity to shine. Apart from that, trust in yourself, keep trying and take care of your other obligations. A lot is possible if you work hard and plan your time well.
How can our readers stay connected with you and your music?
I am a very social person who is constantly posting content and updates on my social media accounts. Instagram is my go-to platform; anyone can join me and stay up to date with my regular activities and songs.
Where do you want to take your production career and record label going forward?
It’s a long road to discover my true potential, but one thing is certain: I’ll never stop cultivating my musical talent and creating music, even if I never officially post anything. Through this art form, I hope to improve my production skills, gain expertise, and demonstrate imagination.
My record label will still aim to promote young and emerging artists by providing them with a platform rich with tools to help them expand their music and become the best EDM label in the country.
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