In a dubstep first, Ravi Shankar and Moby meet Mozart, Motorhead and Magnetic Man - VF catches up with Prashant Mistry, the man behind Engine-Earz Experiment.
The Engine-Earz Experiment collective have been turning heads since their mind-blowing performance on the Maida Vale Sessions for BBC Introducing. As dubstep’s first fully live act, DJ and producer Prashant Mistry hits the synths and sequencers, working with a revolving line-up of diverse guest musicians, including Foreign Beggars, Nathan ‘Flutebox’ Lee and Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. Breakthrough track ‘Kaliyuga’ features live sitar and tabla, whilst recent release ‘Reach You’ mixes heavy guitar lines and the vocals of Lena Cullen (from She Is Danger) with the pulsating bass lines and euphoric electronic drops that Engine-Earz reinvent from song to song.
Blending genres comes naturally to the man who takes inspiration from Rage Against the Machine, Nitin Sawhney, The Prodigy and Chemical Brothers. “When I wrote the first track, ‘Kaliyuga’,” explains Prashant, “I’d been working with a lot of musicians while producing other artists. We worked with Nathan ‘Flutebox’ Lee, sitar players and veena players. It allows us to bring on musicians for one track rather than a whole show.”
‘Kaliyuga’, with its distinctly eastern sound, could have threatened to label the band as Asian dubsteppers, but Engine-Earz refuse to conform to genres: “We want to bring sounds of struggle from throughout the world – reggae from Jamaica, Latin music from places like Cuba – and I think dubstep is the sound of our struggle in this country at the moment. Engine-Earz Experiment comes out of frustration with what’s going on in the world,” he offers. “There’s a huge imbalance between rich and poor – it’s about creating some kind of bridge between that.”
For the producer, music has always had the ability to deliver a message, and he believes that the time is right for electronica to become more political. “Maybe it’s because [electronic music] has got an intrinsic link to getting mashed up and dancing your tits off – not that there’s anything wrong with that! But there’s an untapped ability, given the reach this music has, to do more than that.”
Gaining a decent amount of attention, the group have amassed a fan following that includes BBC DJs Zane Lowe, Huw Stephens and Tom Robinson, and now the pressure is on to produce a worthy debut album. “We’ve developed in the public eye,” says Prashant. “We’ve got to make sure we deliver otherwise we’re in fucking trouble!” Still, as the producer points out: “Different fans lock on to different facets of the sound – you get people who love the Indian elements, people who love the dirtier sounds, so the key for us is just to write what we enjoy.”
Noted for the energy and versatility of their live sets, Engine-Earz Experiment are playing at Camden Crawl 2011 on Sunday 1 May with We The People, Glastonbury and Glade all booked in for this summer too. “There’s Big Chill as well,” he reveals, “but we haven’t been announced for that properly yet. We had 3,000 people at Bassline Circus at Glastonbury last time, even though we had to scramble around for musicians. I can’t wait to go back there primed and ready – we’re going to annihilate that place!”
Engine-Earz Experiment are putting the finishing touches to their debut album, which is tentatively titled ‘Symbol’.
Engine-Earz Experiment will perform at Gaymer’s Camden Crawl 2011 on the XFM/Redbull outdoor stage on Sunday 1 May with The Lemonheads, Killing Joke and many more set to play too.
Weekend tickets are priced at £63.50 with day tickets available for £39.50.
Click here to buy Camden Crawl tickets.
Camden Crawl 2011 takes place at various venues across Camden, London, from 30 April to 1 May.