While touring the US last year, music producer and DJ Sanaya Ardeshir lost both her hard drives which contained all the music she had ever made. Shattering news for someone who spins for a living, one that is capable of causing major heartache and an emotional outburst.
While Ardeshir cried buckets, “briefly”, she soon found her live set recording and began work on it. A year later, the loss of those hard drives almost sounds as if it was meant to be. The 27-year-old is now ready with her first full-length album titled Downstream. “I had no intentions of creating an album. It just happened on its own. The album wrote itself, and now we have the launch date ready, art work, singles — everything,” says Ardeshir, who goes by the name Sandunes. She will now launch the album on September 27 and embark on a pan-India tour to promote it.
With tracks such as Crystal pink and Closet jester, Downstream tilts towards hip hop electronica, and comes at a time when Ardeshir is obsessed with hip hop sounds from Montreal, especially that of hip hop and electronic music producer Elaquent. “All the music one creates is deeply personal, and this album in some way is about feeling secure and being able to take risks,” says Ardeshir, who will emphasise on more live shows than DJ sets this year.
From the moment she landed back in India, after finishing a year-long course in sound engineering from London in 2012, Ardeshir has released five EPs and has collaborated with a number of musicians including Kolkata-based Jivraj Singh. From melodic tracks that work best on mellow nights to hip hop/electronica, Ardeshir believes that her sound has evolved quite a bit in all these years. “In 2012, I felt that my music wasn’t really club music. It wasn’t energetic or aggressive enough to pull a crowd. But all I was getting was club bookings. I do not ever want to compromise on my music sensibility but I realised I could strike a balance by teasing the audience with what they want, but in my style,” says Ardeshir, who has come up as one of the more interesting electronic music producers in the recent times.
At gigs, Ardeshir shows up in jeans, collared shirts with rolled up sleeves and a pair of kicks. “So many times, the audience and even my peers have asked me to show more skin on stage. I’ve been told to ‘try harder at gigs, after all you’re a pretty girl’ on my face. This has pushed me to the other extreme,” says Ardeshir. Apart from performing at the best festivals and venues across the country, Ardeshir wants to create “a healthier representation of women in the music scenes”. She says, “I feel like I need to set an example for young girls. It’s my responsibility”.