Independent Music

He Is Creating His Own Sounds, Building His Own Instruments: DIY, In Conversation with Nishant Gill

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Nishant Gill, or at least him in his a maze avatar, is an inexplicable experience. It’s not music, it’s not noise, and I’d probably call it sound-art/noise-art. And whatever it is, one can’t like or dislike it, one simply experiences it. He’s the most extreme artist I’ve heard in recent times who not only pushes the envelope when it comes to breaking the form, but he also plays his own synths. Like synths, he made with his own hands!

Like, seriously, check out his Lunetta synthesizer !!! 

I had to get in touch with him and talk about this. Find below, an exciting conversation with Nishant Gill, talking all about his journey and the DIY project: 

Loudest: Nishant, I’ve already seen you perform as “a maze” and with Ikagar (Infinite Jar Space) as “Astral Doormen”, and both times my mind was blown to smithereens. Tell us something about yourself, for the uninitiated.

Nishant: I am from New Delhi. Been here since I was born. Seen the city change from sparse localities surrounded by keekar forests everywhere, to today – the ruins. 

I bought an acoustic guitar in school just before my board exams. I didn’t have a laptop or had never worked on any software until the college gave me a Linux laptop which had a basic DAW and I started making music on that. A year later I started using Ableton.  

Loudest: How did you get into ambient/noise music?

Nishant: I love Indian classical music and the shruthi boxes and the tanpuras. I also like binaural beats. I like to make more ambient music; it’s just that things always drift towards the noisier side when I start composing. I also like to make other stuff and not just ambient/noise, something with beats. Going towards IDM a little maybe. Anyways, I never specifically try to make music according to genres. I just make whatever it is I am feeling at the time. 

Also, the first noise gig I went to I heard Hemant Sreekumar (Hemant Sk) play. That was the first time i listened to noise music, like harsh noise, and it was very imposing. Noise music takes all thoughts away from your mind and puts you in a meditative state, well, if you let it. Yeah and that experience got me more into noise. But I think I will soon be over the noise phase and want to make a different style of music.

Loudest: How did you start making synths?

Nishant: I always wanted to own a MS20. I then also wanted to buy a modular setup. But if i had waited to buy synths to make music i don’t think it would have happened anytime soon. ‘Cos I’m always broke. About 6-7 months ago i stumbled upon the DIY electronic forums online and got the inspiration to start building. I am an economics graduate but i had science in school. So I knew how to read schematics and what component does what. But that’s all i knew. So I started building my own shit. I don’t build complex analog modules just yet because I don’t know how to. I am still an amateur when it comes to synth DIY. There is a lot of information for audio synthesis on the internet. All the praise goes to the synth DIY geniuses who have made everything open source and have also put all the information out there to help new synth DIY enthusiasts like me. ISRO is an inspiration. 

Loudest: Tell us about the synths you have made.

Nishant: I am building a Lunetta synthesizer, based on the works of the great Stanley Lunetta. These are based on some very simple circuitry and perfect for a newbie like me. It uses CMOS chips and is capable of some very cool and random sounds. Add some filters and effects and it can make some amazing soundscapes. You can think of it as a simple rhythmic modular musical computer and it sometimes works in unpredictable ways. It is a beautiful experimental synth.  

The other synths I have built are small drone/noise boxes based on the works of Ray Wilson (Music from Outer Space); he died about a couple years ago from cancer but did so much for the DIY community. I also have an echo/noise pedal/stand alone noise generator. I have a few more things in the arsenal.

Loudest: Tips, tricks, fixes, recommendations for people who want to get into this?

Nishant: Of course, the internet is your haven. There are many DIY electronics forums and there is literally a fuckload of information on the internet if you wanna get into this. But before you venture towards this dark side, know, you will fail a lot of times. A lot! But that’s how you’ll get better at it. Troubleshooting something you’ve built but doesn’t work can be the most exhausting thing you might ever do. But then, once in a while, when you achieve success, and you turn on that machine you just built, and listen to the beautiful analog sounds, then that shit is addictive. Now, I find soldering better than socializing. So yeah, you might miss on spending time with your friends, well, if that matters to you so much, don’t get into it.  

Loudest: Where do you wish to take this in the future?

Nishant: I honestly don’t know what the future holds or where I wanna take this. The future just seems to be filled with so much uncertainty. The world’s in a bad shape right now. I don’t know where things will stand in the future. The immediate has become the future. I just wanna keep building stuff for now. Make new music. Maybe conduct some workshops in the future to help the DIY community in India grow. I want to learn more about sustainable energy. But tbh, there are so many things I want to do, so I’m not sure what all I will end up doing. And one just keeps on learning new things as they go, so to tell where I want to take this in the future is not possible.

Loudest: Are you putting anything out in the near future?

Nishant: I haven’t put any new music out in a long time because I’ve been busy building stuff, and of course my sound has changed a lot since I put out the last music. You can expect something new, soonish. 

Check out Nishant’s work below:

A Maze


Astral Doormen

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