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Let the fusion play

Music prodigy Ritviz Srivastava is making waves with his innovative fusion of Hindustani music and dubstep

All of 22 years old, Ritviz Srivastava is strikingly modest and down-to-earth for the fame he’s gained in a short span of time. Hailing from Pune, this young music producer has made waves all over the country with his innovative fusion of Hindustani music and dubstep (form of electronic dance music). The prodigy opened up to Patriot about his journey in the industry and how he has managed to stay grounded in the midst of it all.

Hindustani dance music is quite an offbeat genre. How did it come to be your trademark style?
I grew up listening to Indian classical music. I was five years old when I first started learning music, which was Hindustani classical. So, that’s where my roots lie. I was in 10th standard when I first started producing music, and I realised how Hindustani classical can be fused with electronic music. I’ve been making music actively ever since 2013. And that’s how it happened!

What would you say was the ‘big break’ moment in your career?
I think there’s two ways to look at that. With regard to the industry, I’d say my album Mukti put me on the map. When I released those tracks, the record companies began to actually sit up and take notice. But in terms of the public, and my audience, it would have to be ‘Udd Gaye.’ When Udd Gaye came out, I realised ‘Oh my God! This is going to work!”

Who are some of the artists that you look up to as a musician?
AR Rahman has been an all-time inspiration for me. If you ask me about my one dream collaboration, I would say that it has to be with Rahman. Apart from him, Nucleya has always been there to help me and guide me. He’s been a huge help and is a truly great human being.

Do you have a process when you’re composing?
No, I really don’t. It’s an entirely intuitive process for me. I work on multiple tracks simultaneously. I start some and revisit them when I’m feeling inspired, while in the meantime I finish other projects. I try to avoid crafting a process for myself because I don’t want my music to become repetitive. So I don’t want to subscribe to a particular formula when I’m making my music.

How are you dealing with your fame and popularity? Does it get overwhelming?
It’s easy to forget what reality feels like when you get into the groove of a full-fledged music career. With the tours and the performances and the fanfare it’s easy to lose sight of all that. But I try to consciously keep track of it. My folks are great, and nothing has changed on the home front. Most importantly, my room hasn’t changed even a little bit. I ideate and make my music in my room, always have. The walls, my bed, everything is the same. So when I come home and enter my room, I’m in my zone. And I know that my home-base is still the same.

What was the thing that surprised you most about everything that comes with popularity in the music industry?
I think it was the touring that shocked me the most — just how hectic it is. I started to neglect my health as a result. But I’ve been able to learn from the past, and my health is not something I can compromise on.

How long does it take you to complete a track?
The time varies with every track. Like I said, I don’t have a process. Udd Gaye and Yuv had been in the works for a whole year, until I was satisfied with it. Whereas Taan took me just a week, Barso took four years.

Growing up, are there other things you wanted to do?
I remember that I’d always wanted to write and I took a lot of interest in art. There are paintings and artwork all over our walls in my home. I had imagined a career in writing, which I am partly fulfilling because I write my own lyrics and everything. Maybe I will revisit my art again in some years. We’ll see.

What are some themes you are yet to explore in your music?
What I will make next is a constant mystery to me. I’m constantly learning and re-evaluating my work. The more music I make, the more I find out about myself. So it’s very dynamic, and constantly evolving.