A New Breed

Devjani Bodepudi interviews B.R.E.E.D and heralds their upcoming tour of India this summer.

Comprising Ritesh D’Souza and Tara Mae, future bass electronic duo B.R.E.E.D performed for the very first time during the iconic Coachella festival this April. By all accounts, they made quite the impression. In keeping with firsts, they also released their first album Binate in 2014, hit the No.1 spot on the top Addictech album releases and No.3 on the ‘Top 5 Glitch Hop Albums’ on Beatport.

So start off telling us about yourselves. How did you get to where you are? How did you meet? How did it all begin?

We met back in 2005 in a club in Mumbai. We hit it off right away and our interest and passion for music connected instantly. We started composing songs together and wrote our first track together called ‘Metaphor’ in 2005 a few months after we met. We haven’t even released it yet to this day. It is such a gem and meaningful track that we’ve been holding onto it for the last decade, waiting for the right time to release it. After 2005, though, it took years for B.R.E.E.D to really form and develop into what it is today, especially in regards to our music. We feel like we have only just found our true sound in the last two years, so it has been an amazing journey and an in-depth process, to say the least. We have been able to get where we are now because of hard work, passion, dedication and focus.


Who were your influences, musically and who/what do you listen to currently?

We have always been influenced by what we consider ground-breaking artists that vary across numerous genres and styles, but currently we are continually inspired and impressed by artists like FKA Twigs, Flying Lotus, Sia, Flume, Ganz, Aluna George, George Maple, Chet Faker, Jungle, Cashmere Cat and many more.


You’ve done really well in the US, in an industry dominated by some big names. How did you break through to get to No. 1 on the Addictech album releases and No. 3 on the top 5 Glitch Hop album releases on Beatport?

We think our unique sound is what really made us able to stand out a little in an otherwise very tough market. People had never heard sounds like the ones we created on our Binate album, and they were super fresh and different. However, we still have a lot of mountains to climb in the US market, that’s for sure.


Tara Mae, you’re a classically trained pianist, how has that fed into the music you make now?

My skill and experience in piano, and everything I have been trained in it classically, has been a pillar for me in writing and composing music, personally. So the chord structures and musical compositions that I bring to our music, I believe, is really a direct result of my piano training. I also sing and write lyrics and all of that is based around the piano too, it is my foundation personally. It also directly feeds into our music as a whole in so many different areas, including everything from the use of synths, string and orchestral elements, to varying basslines. So the training in piano goes way outside of just the piano.


There are some big names in the Coachella Festival line up. Do you see yourself collaborating with some of the names such as David Guetta, in the future?

We are not really interested in the very mainstream artists like David Guetta per se. However, it would be a dream to collaborate with some of the other big names that were on the Coachella line up like FKA Twigs, Flying Lotus and Chet Faker.


You’ve been described as ‘Indian-bred’. Do you have any Indian influences in your music? How important is your Indian identity to what you do and who you are as B.R.E.E.D?

We are described as Indian-bred mostly because Ritesh, one half of B.R.E.E.D, is an Indian native, and we also started B.R.E.E.D while in India. B.R.E.E.D really blossomed in India, and a huge part of our fan base is still in India currently. However, while we definitely have worked with some amazing classical Indian musicians and we’ve incorporated some of those sounds in our tracks. Our music is definitely not completely Indian-influenced, and we would not use Indian influences as a description of our sound. We like to think of our music more as universally “forward-pushing.”


Your music is really quite layered, yet can be described as minimalistic. How have you achieved this? Was this a conscious decision?

Thank you for a great question. Our music is actually very layered and we have done that purposely as we love layers overall. The minimalistic part is a more recent development in our sound that we really love to incorporate, as this approach creates space for the striking elements of the song to stand out and also allows for a lot of subliminal textures to seep into the landscape. We like the artistic use of minimalism too, because we use this approach in a very eccentric direction.


Tell us about your future projects. What’s in the pipeline?

We have so much in the pipeline, actually; there is so much to list. Besides our next EP that we are super excited about and the development of the music video for that EP, we are also focussing on really developing our live set and performing all of our tracks live, as well as focussing on tours, including a live tour. We are also excited to work with another LA-based poet/rapper/vocalist on some new material and incorporating that into our live set as well. So much to come!


Do you have a message for your fans in India?

A huge thank you goes out to our fans in India for all of their amazing loyalty and support always! (Probably the best fans ever.)

“Speak English!' said the Eaglet. 'I don't know the meaning of half those long words, and I don't believe you do either!” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland.. Devjani believes in simplicity and just telling it how it is.

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