Taken from Firstpost (May 03, 2018)
MIDIval Punditz: Music industry not designed to promote artistry but to make money
Gaurav Raina and Tapan Raj of Midival Punditz
New Delhi: Their sublime fusion of Indian classical with electronic music has given listeners a new experience with every album. Gaurav Raina and Tapan Raj, the pillars of Indian fusion duo MIDIval Punditz, feel the music industry is "definitely not designed to promote artistry" but to "make money".
The men behind the fusion mixes started out in 1997, when electronic music wasn't all that popular in the country. Weaving their way through the music scene, the duo is now one of the most popular electronic music producers here.
"The music industry is definitely not designed to promote artistry; it is designed to make money. That is the inherent problem with the system - it's too much about money," Raina told IANS in an interview here on the sidelines of a performance as part of The Step Up by Johnnie Walker.
"Everyone feels very happy when good art is made, but what they don't understand is that great art comes from creativity. And if you don't have a system that encourages creativity, then art is just going to die," he added.
But Raina has hope in Indian crowds who, he feels, are open to change and creativity.
He said: "India as a country is very receptive to new art and music. Indians are very intelligent; we have a huge diverse culture, which has only been about creation. Inherently, people are very receptive to change and creativity. That's one thing that I've learnt through my years."
Taking their craft a notch up and reinforcing their signature style with rich folk influences, their fourth studio album "Light", which features a bouquet of musicians such as flautist Pundit Ajay Prasanna, Rajasthani folk stalwart Kutle Khan, Indian classical singer Malini Awasthi, American producer Todd Michaelsen and musician Papon, will be released in India on May 19.
Raina, who forayed into music as a DJ when he was 17, says being exposed to Indian music in his teens made him amalgamate electronic and Indian classical to develop his style.
"I've gone to clubs all my life, listened to a lot of electronic music... but at the same time, I've grown up in India, I grew up listening to songs from 'Silsila', 'Umrao Jaan' and old-school Bollywood music, which I liked a lot. So, classical and electronic music came together in my mind, somehow. That's when this new sound emerged - Indian classical and electronic, it was a fresh sound.
"Then computers came in and it got easier to make music. So slowly, we learnt how to write music using computers and naturally the Indian part came into our music," he said.
Explaining how the duo ended up with the band's unique name - MIDIval Punditz, Raj said it was all about a technical term used in music production which is MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface).
He said: "MIDI is a technical term that's used in making electronic music, and it was an inherent part of our music. We wanted to use the term 'MIDI' in our name, and since we wanted something that can be ancient and contemporary at the same time, we came up with 'Midival'. Both of us are Brahmins, so it became 'Midival Punditz'."
Raj, whose playlist contains tracks from artists like Karsh Kale, M.I.A, Radiohead, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Metallica, The Prodigy and A.R. Rahman, says he would "love to work with Thom Yorke from Radiohead, M.I.A from Sri Lanka, The Do from France and A.R. Rahman from India".