East London artist, producer, and all-around musical genius Nikhil Beats has released his highly anticipated 7-track EP ‘Earthly Desires Lead To Enlightenment' as the first taste of his progression from producer to artist.
With the lead singles ‘Face Your Demons’ and ‘Feel Me’, Nikhil’s charecter has truly come to life as we see him head into the next chapter of his ever-flourishing career. Coming as a conceptual project that offers themes of introspectiveness, self-development, and enlightenment, this is a project that encapsulates everything Nikhil is about. Coming as his first body of work as a producer and vocalist, he is continuing to push his artistry forward as the project offers a wide range of ethereal-meets-psychedelic sounds to bring his audience into the music.
We had the opportunity to catch up with Nikhil before the release of the project to discuss everything as he goes from a producer to an artist as a whole.
So who is Nikhil beats?
Umm alright, I guess I’m a producer and artist from East London. I make music innit. I know it sounds so silly but when I say I’m a producer artist, I feel like I have to put myself in A box that just makes sense to people. Like I just do music, sometimes I make music the instrumental side of it, sometimes I sing, sometimes I do both. I just like interesting music. I like to use sounds that interest me and I like to take people on a journey through a song.
So in recent months, we’ve seen a big profession from more of a producer to more of an artist seeing you release songs that are just you with no features. How have you found the transition?
It kinda happened just naturally tbh. It was something I always wanted to happen at some point. I think as a producer naturally, you’re just sitting waiting for an artist to come to you that wants a beat, but it just got kinda boring for me. Why is my whole career in the hands of other artists? Why is it up to them when we release the song? So when covid happened I was like, I can’t wait for this. It was long, I just wanted to do my thing. I learnt to start doing more and taking control of things as I have things to say.
So going forward are you still wanting to be a producer or are you wanting to be more of an artist?
It’s not something I can put into a box, I literally just make music. Sometimes I have sessions with people, and it’s something that’s really fitting for them so I’m happy to just be a producer on that. Other times, it might come as a collaboration and I might be singing on it, it’s just I make a song and see what happens with it. I’ve got a sense of who I am as an artist and I just want to develop my sound. It’s hard to get out but it makes sense in my head.
You say you’re finding your own sound now, what is that?
I use to think a sound had to be genre specific but I realise that’s not true at all. For example; think of some of the greats, they’ve all got 5,6 albums and they all sound so different. They all pull on different genres. I think what it means by your sound, is your personality. So it’s like, so like Kendrick, he can jump on a wide variety of tracks from gritty to tracks to more funky tracks, or even a soulful thing but it’s always him. So when I say my sound I think it’s more like my personality, I want it to be no matter what type of song it is I’m on I want you to hear me through it.
Do you reckon your British/Asian heritage plays a key part in your personality?
Definitely, I think it’s only natural that all your influences and cultural upbringings affect your sound. They affect the music you listen to and the way you see the world. It plays a part but I’m not defined by being Indian. I think being British/Asian it leaves this grey area.
What sounds did you find yourself growing up on? Was it more UK based? Or did that come as you went into your teenage years?
Obviously, I grew up in London so it’s always been a mixture. Asian music was something I also associated with listening to at home, but also my dad is mad into music. He was born in India and came over to east London. When I was a kid my dad would play everything from disco to house and UK garage, my dad loved all kinds of music. My house was always full of music, my grandparents would always okay traditional Hindu music, the stuff from Bollywood films. Mixing in being in school in London, my sister would always have the latest grime track on her Sony Ericsson and we would always Bluetooth it to each other. I even went through a stage of loving indie rock music. I think I’ve just always been interested in such a wide array of music.
Would you say your parents played a key part in shaping the music we hear today from yourself?
For sure, I think you can tell when some done listens to so many different types of music. Of course, there is something I’m drawn to, I love particular chords and sounds, and vice versa. No matter whether I’m listening to drums and bass or classic Mozart, I think I can always find something I enjoy.
When you’re creating your music, what are you enjoying more at the moment?
I think production is something that I’ve spent the last 5 years focused on. I found myself within production, like before, I knew I loved music but I didn’t really know what I wanted to do so that kinda put everything into a package that I could mentally understand. Otherwise, I love playing instruments and songwriting, it’s all just intertwined with each other.
Recently you’ve been playing at a wide array of events, even seeing you perform at this year's wireless festival on an open-top double-decker bus, what was that like?
It was a cool experience, it was an interesting place to perform. It was good being there for a good cause with Climate Live. To be on a lineup with so many amazing artists. I think it’s made me hungry for more though.
With his big headline show coming up next week, we can’t wait to see what 2023 has in store for Nikhil Beats.