Sandunes Breaks New Ground with Her Epic Boiler Room Debut

3 years ago

It’s not surprising that Mumbai-based Sanaya Ardeshir – better known as Sandunes – was roped in to play at the much-hyped first edition of Budweiser x Boiler Room in Mumbai. (For the uninitiated, Boiler Room began broadcasting gigs in London in 2010. It’s known for putting the spotlight firmly on the artists and the alternative electronic music.) Sandunes is easily one of the hardest working producers on the indie electronic scene with six EPs and an album to her credit – constantly tweaking, shifting and nudging her progressive sound.

She started the year Perfectiming (a fresh EP and collaboration with percussionist Jivraj Singh), and followed it up with a solo album Downstream, toured North America, hosted listening parties for her album across six Indian cities (simultaneously, might we add). We caught up with her before she rounds off the year with an epic Boiler Room set:

What did you get up to in Sydney recently?

“I was in Sydney for a very brief but awesome co-writing experience called Songhubs – hosted by APRA AMCOS and curated by Electronic Music Conference. It was an intensive three-day studio session with Aussie producers and songwriters, and we had to churn out a track a day for three days. Some awesome talent there, including an artist called Elizabeth Rose whose music I really vibed with.”

Studio time or travel – what feeds your music?

“Often I long for routine and staying in the studio to be able to develop and flesh out ideas over long periods of time, but it’s easy to get drawn into patterns. Travel and exposure to the music and culture of different geographies is a great way to break that.”

How did you drift towards drums?

“I think it was after working on Perfectiming with Jivraj Singh for a better part of the previous year. After working with a drummer, going back to a solo-approach, I just felt the need to develop better my beat-making skills. More pocket and less metronomic – drum rudiments seemed like a good idea at the time.”

What was the driving thought behind your latest release, Downstream?

“Above all else, I just wanted to flesh out music without over thinking it or judging it. Downstream was about the process and less about ‘finishing an album’.”

You’ve collaborated with a bunch of artists over the years, who among them has helped shape your music the most?

“There have been several collaborators over the last few years but I haven’t worked with anyone other than Jiver [Jivraj Singh] on a long term basis. So that really influenced my processes for the following creative phase as Sandunes. I’m looking forward to collaborating with Nicholson on an EP in the coming year.”

On your Instagram Stories we saw you out and about collecting ambient sounds. Can you elaborate on this project?

“Over the last few months I was working on a Red Bull project called ‘Searching for Sounds’ where I dug through the city to collect hundreds of samples via field recordings – sounds reflecting the essence of Bombay. I also sampled a few local musicians, and went on to create a piece of music made entirely from those field recordings. It was an awesome experience that really changed the way I was approaching music-making. There’s a short film on the whole journey around the project that will be out soon.”

What can we expect from your Budweiser x Boiler Room set? 

“A fully live set with some select moments from Downstream and other un-released works.”

You’re planning a fun, visual set for Magnetic Fields as well. Can you elaborate on that?

“I’m trying something new for Magnetic Fields. We’re re-creating the visual approach that we used for the Downstream club gigs but the music is going to be set up and performed totally differently – you’ll just have to come see it.”

Which artists are you big on at the moment? 

“I’ve been listening to Daedalus’ recent album Labyrinth a lot and enjoying reading all his interviews too. I’ve also been into Mura Masa and Pomo – especially their live sets – for obvious reasons.”

Catch Sandunes at Budweiser x Boiler Room on December 1, or Magnetic Fields between December 9-11