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Asian underground, up-and-coming artists and a call for non-conformity: A chat with Boom Shankar of BMSS Records.

Which are the most interesting discoveries for BMSS Records of the last months? Which newcomers rock and why? Which old artists are back in the game and are considered fresh again?

Our latest rocking release is definitely by “Reversed Logic” (aka Ivan from Middle Mode) – we positioned at #2 on Beatport. “The Key” (Ovnimoon and Ascent) released their debut album “The Light within the Darkness” which blasted its way to #2 on The Psyshop charts. For an underground label, with a small dedicated following like ours that’s a huge massive achievement!

An interesting remix EP of this featuring one of our latest signings “Sabretooth” and our long time artist “Datacult” is definitely worth a listen or two.

Newcomers “Mind Lab” (Alchemix), “Lunatica” (Lupin) and Synthaya released EPs and they all charted well. Last year we were very pleased to release an EP of Mittelstandskinder Ohne Strom, an artist the older crew grew up with.

Ascent signed with us, his next EP will be available soon.  M-Theory’s next album is scheduled for summer alongside our CD compilation for Ometeotl Festival in Mexico.  “Strontium Dogs” (Eat Static & Martian Arts) is coming up, and will be notable because it is Techno, but with all the untamed wildness of psychedelic Trance.

Which style you guys currently feature because it’s interesting? Which trends do you notice? Faster? Slower? etc…

Of course, within the bigger picture there are certain trends and shifts that one can identify from time to time. Right now Goa Trance and FullOn orientated tracks with classical ideas and melodies are making an impressive and substantial comeback, which is great for BMSS as that is the sound we try to cultivate. Between Asia and Europe the main difference is the BPM. In Europe the BPM is trending downwards, while in Asia, dance floors prefer a faster sound that is more dynamic but not necessarily dark.

Our vision and values as a label allow us to be free from mass influence and current dominant styles and tempos. It’s our intention to seek out unique artists with distinctive sounds that will hopefully outlive trends and still be musically relevant in the years to come.

Free compilation for mushroom readers

Boom Shankar about the compilation: “Not limited to one subgenre, the compilation is our label’s philosophy encapsulated. Featuring a wide range of interesting sonic output, from Techno to Prog to Psytrance. With newcomers like Sabretooth and icons like Eat Static it’s a real adventure into sound. I guess for us, what matters is the quality, not the genre, so we release intelligent music by artists most people have never heard of… ;)”
Download your free compilation at:
mushroom-magazine.com/free-2016
BMSS Interplanetary Communications 2

What made you happy currently?

Even though as a DJ, or label manager it always looks like we are hardly working, we work hard. BMSS is a team effort for sure!  We’ve just hit #2 on Beatport with Reversed Logic. The debut album of The Key hit  #2 on Psyshop. My latest mix  “Jungle Spirit” a very special mix which pays pays respect to the intoxicating vibe of Asia was overwhelmingly well received. We’ve signed new artists to our label roster like Ascent and Hakan Hisim and these are all things that give me a certain amount of pleasure.

From a slightly broader perspective, I’m pleased to see the scene embracing platforms like Bandcamp and Youtube. Bandcamp is the perfect platform to get music for a fair value. We’ve had a few purchases on our entire back catalog recently… yes, i’m pretty happy about that too! We finally uploaded our whole backstock to YouTube as well and added a few interviews and some rare footage.

The real happiness though comes from growing the BMSS family, helping our artists take steps with their careers, and adding to the scene with our involvement in the festivals I’ve mentioned further on. These are the things which I take the most happiness from. Did I mention my girlfriend is awesome?! 🙂

What currently pissed you off?

Flies. I really hate flies. You can never have too many fly swatters. Which brings me to my next point. Frankly, I feel as if the Trance scene is taking too many cue points from the dead carcass of the EDM circus. It’s impossible to say how or why things are swinging away from the core value of the scene but it is happening. Festivals and parties are slowly becoming formulaic and somewhat predictable. You see it in everything from flyer design to festival names to festival content even down to festival fashion! Over time this will have a homogenizing effect which, once again, is completely counter to the idea of diversity.

Decision makers need to step up and remember that they are ambassadors for a counter culture that is about variety and non-conformity both musically and artistically.
This might mean booking different artists or experimenting with different elements, it might mean taking risks but that is what this is all about.

Which festivals are you looking forward to to DJ at? Why are those festies so special, any stories to share?

I look forward to all my gigs no matter what so let me focus on the ones I consider the most special. I’ll start with Asia. The scene is still so fresh there. There are no hipster hippies. I always look forward to playing alongside members of the BMSS family at the Belantara Festival organised by Epic Tribe in the depths of the Malaysian Jungle. It’s been five years now and each time it’s still like travelling back in time to when things were less commercial. A recent addition to my Asian tour is a gig  at one of the best underground venues in Asia: Under9KL.

In Thailand, there are two parties that I play which have kept the vibe of the 90s and not (thankfully not) turned into Ko Phangan satellite parties. There is Lost in Paradise and Moon Mountain.

China hosts some amazing festivals run by Goa Productions in the Yunnan province twice a year. The scenery is breathtaking. It’s completely underground, and I was honoured to be a part of their efforts. For a DJ willing to break new ground I feel that this could be a very interesting area as there is such genuine enthusiasm. No hype just pure underground. In Europe, I am looking forward to Solar.United.Natives this summer. Our label is a big part of this community driven, non-profit event and we’ve worked hard to ensure that the attendees are those who appreciate the core values of the Psytrance movement.

Hexaplex Festival in Lebanon is another family gathering, as BMSS is a partner of the organising team Analog Lebanon. The Key, Ascent, M-Theory, Radzy (Epic Tribe), myself, our latest signing Hakan Hisim (visuals) and our deco crew Mimesis will all be present.

Rebirth-of-the-Sun-(2012-Israel)-Boom-Shankar-5

PsyFi Festival in Holland, Doof Festival in Israel, Life Celebration in Croatia, Kannibalen Massaker in Germany, are all special to me for various reasons and I’m glad to be invited to play. Earth Garden Festival on Malta deserves an extra special mention. I’ve played every edition since its inception. Over the years they’ve grown from 500 to 20.000 people and yet it is a festival hardly anyone in Europe knows about…but it is worth checking out as the organizers truly understand the idea of diversity 🙂

What else you wanna tell the scene out there?
Find your own weird. Find your own amazing. Find your own definitions and find your own destinations.
Stop buying Lonely Planet guides. Stop following. Stop fitting in. Explore. Be the one who says “Hey, listen to this! You can’t even find it on Beatport”. Don’t conform to this illusion of “nonconformity.” And most of all, don’t listen to me! 😉

Boom Shankar
This article appeared first in our print edition.