Our next mix on the series comes from one of the most dedicated music archivists out there, fully focused on uncovering Indian music from all corners of recent history. His YouTube channel and Instagram feed are treasure troves of lost music, showcasing the rare gems he unearths to an audience that has been steadily growing. We're beyond honoured to have him record a mix for us, taking us on a tour through 70s-80s synth-pop, psych funk, disco, rare groove and pop from India. Interview below.
Nishant Mittal is a music collector who can be found @digginginindia, where he celebrates Indian music’s weird and wonderful archives.
Hey Nishant! Very honoured to have you on the series. How are you going and what are you excited for in 2023?
Hello, the honour is all mine! I'm so happy to be featured on your platform. I am doing very well, and hope you are too. In 2023, I look forward to playing more live selector sets in India and overseas. I also plan to continue working on my blog and showcase as much forgotten and undiscovered Indian sounds as possible.
It’s truly special encountering someone as dedicated as you. How did your fascination for uncovering such musical gems begin, and what continues to draw you in?
Thank you for your kind words. My fascination with the Indian archives began around 7-8 years ago when I first heard of Indian rock-n-roll tracks from the 1960s and I was completely blown away. Prior to that I didn't even know that those sorts of sounds had a history in our country. I started my Instagram blog around 6 years ago where I posted my record discoveries, and to my surprise the followers really enjoyed my posts which inspired me to keep building my blog and find more records. Another important factor in my journey was my radio mix residency with New Delhi's boxout.fm who gave me a platform at a time when I had no prior experience with making mixes. I did around 30 radio mixes for them and each show made me dig deeper and deeper for music which I showcased for my shows. Huge shoutout to boxout.fm!
What continues to draw me in is the fact that there are still so many records out there that I still have to find and add to my collection and showcase on my blog!
Your youtube channel is an absolute treasure trove. How do you decide what goes up on there, and what’s your vinyl ripping process like?
I usually upload tracks that are not available anywhere else to stream on my YouTube channel. The most common kind of comments on my uploads are from people who have been searching for those songs for years and decades and are absolutely delighted to find them on my page. I am very sure that finding and listening to a song after a few decades must be such a special feeling. It's comments and stories like these that motivate me to continue my archival work!
The ripping process is fairly simple - my turntable "Stanton T.92" has a direct USB connection which connects to my laptop and I rip the records via the application Audacity.
Have you ever considered starting a reissue label or embarking on a compilation project?
Oh yes, I feel like starting a reissue label is definitely a project in the future that I would love to do! The work I am doing right now by adding records to my collection and learning more and more about the music archives is definitely leading me towards this goal!
For the time being I am open to helping other labels and people with help in music consultation, supervision, track compilations and liner notes.
Okay now let’s talk about this mix, totally blown away at the selection here! How did you go about curating this one, was there a focus or a context you had in mind?
I'm so glad to hear that! For this mix I wanted to introduce Indian 70s-80s synth-pop, psych funk, disco, rare groove and pop to your audience and your followers from around the world.
These are some of my favourite tracks from the vintage Bollywood era which make me go crazy and I hope the people who listen to this mix will be introduced to a whole new world of music!
Can you share a bit about how you approach DJing for a room full of people vs recording a mix like this one?
I feel like recording a mix can be easier than DJing live. I approach recording a mix with the thought that the listeners are plugged in to it while relaxing at home or maybe listening to it while travelling to work, or while having a jog so one has to make sure the rhythm and the vibe in the whole mix is smooth and enjoyable so the listener ends up playing the whole mix start to end. I also make sure that the listeners are being introduced to a lot of new music when they listen to my mixes or live DJ sets.
DJing live can be a bit tricky. Sometimes people don't vibe to the music you are playing and that can be caused by various factors - slot timing, venue, or not understanding the crowd well. To combat those I make sure to always carry a lot of extra records so the selection and the vibe can be changed and edited accordingly to the best of my efforts.
Can you tell us a bit about the vinyl culture in India these days?
The vinyl culture in India, like worldwide, is on the rise. The vinyl industry and pressing in India died out around 1995 but people who were born around or after that time are also collecting and appreciating vinyl these days! I'm very happy to see that people are opening up to collecting their favourite albums on wax, and understanding and going along with the complexities that come along with it!
I hope a large-scale pressing plant opens up in India so that more and more Indian acts can get their music pressed on vinyl.
Are there any records on our website you’d recommend to people?
Absolutely! Your store is an absolute goldmine for someone like me who loves to collect rare grooves from around the world. I would highly recommend these five records to everyone:
Steve Monite - Only You
Rupa - Disco Jazz
Maha - Orkos
Omar El Shariyi - Oriental Music
Khruangbin and Vieux Farka Touré - Ali