After the Mumbai-based party crew WAVLNGTH (who hosted the Mumbai edition of Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide FM), put us onto local DJ Kaleekarma, we couldn’t wait for her to make us a city guide and mix on Mumbai. Her sounds and sets instantly captured our fascination as she blends inspirations of various Indian, organic and tribal and contemporary sounds into her unique style. Mumbai has been Kaleekarma’s home since 2010, where her obsession with music led her to discover the ‘underground music scene’, drawn by its melodic, groovy and psychedelic influenced essence. Kaleekarma is playing a significant role in pushing the Indian electronic scene forward, with her digging and mixing. In this guide, Kaleekarma takes us around her bustling city of Mumbai, India and captures its aura in a truly transfixing mix.
Check out the map above and interview below for Kaleekarma’s favourite spots, while you listen to a 100% Mumbai mix.
Favourite place to buy records?
I am not a record collector myself as yet. But here’s what Mumbai-based electronic music journalist Kenneth Lobo had to say about it, “Mansoor Mohammed Ali, in Chor Bazaar, doesn’t have the biggest collection of records, say like, Pilak Bhatt’s Music Circle store in Kandivali in the northern half of the city, but he’s one of Mumbai’s go-to guys when it comes to Bollywood funk & disco. He’s hosted some of the world’s best DJs / collectors in his tiny 8ft X 8ft shawl in Pydhonie in South Mumbai. That list includes Gilles Peterson, Kenny Dope, Edo Bouman of Bombay Connection Records and Colin de la Plante (aka The Mole). Ali understands what his customers want and equally importantly, he knows what a vinyl in a good condition looks like. Furthermore, if you compare his prices to anyone else (even though he knows that the records he’s selling will make a tidy bit profit abroad) he prices them well below what others offer. There’s something old school about him; even if he knows what a collector is looking for, he won’t immediately hand it to him. He will, instead lead him to it through a rehearsed routine of drawing out other albums the collector might like, and finally produce the one he wants. While this is a good business practice, it also gives the collector the feel of digging in traditional vinyl shop.”
Favourite live music venue?
As a space I would say Razzberry Rhinoceros in Juhu is very nice for a live music set up. Its an outdoor property, right by the beach with a 500+ capacity. And, you can always watch a nice sunset from there. : )
Best soundsystem / favourite club?
Unfortunately, there is no venue in the city with an on point sound system. In most cases there is an additional sound set up to enhance the audio experience. The clubs that I like going to currently would be Antisocial and Summer House Cafe.
Best party in the city?
Parties that i like going to in the city, are the ones organised by teams like WAVLNGTH, RBMA and Mixtap
Best view of the city?
One of the best views of the city to mention would be the one you get while on flight, before the landing, especially during the evening – night time. As the aeroplane makes its way towards the city from above the Arabian Sea, the beautifully lit up queen’s necklace welcomes you. The city lights and its twinkling spirit starts taking over from there on and its gorgeous.
Best spot for a picnic?
Best spot for a picnic would be anywhere inside what we call as the lungs of Bombay, Aarey colony which is very green and beautiful. You would need to explore and find a spot for yourself though. Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Borivali is another easy and good option to go to, for a picnic plan.
Favourite Cafe’s and Restaurants?
Candies in Bandra is great for its vast variety of food and a very cool set up and ambience to sit in. Dakshinayan, in Juhu for its delicious South Indian dishes. I love Kitchen Garden in Bandra for its amazingly good, consciously prepared food. It really is goodness in bites to your body and soul. The Daily Bar & Kitchen Bandra is another place I really like going to. The cocktails there are my favourite. : )
What are the best local dishes or street food?
Vada Pav and Pav Bhaji would be the closest authentic street food to enjoy in the city
Is there somewhere you like going to escape the hustle and bustle and take some time away for yourself?
There are a lot of places in the outskirts of Mumbai to escape the hustle bustle of the city. The western ghat that surrounds Mumbai from one side has beautiful valleys and locations to explore. Definitely one of my personal favourites to pack my bags and leave for, anytime i feel like unwinding.
Best place to experience something unique to Mumbai?
In my opinion, something unique to the city would be its spirit. To see and experience that you need to witness the craziness on its roads, its railway stations, its markets during the day. Hundreds of dreamers, hundreds of survivors, hundreds of achievers everywhere.
First thing you miss after leaving Mumbai?
Its the spirit of the city that I miss when I am out of Mumbai for a long time. Something about this city of dreams that makes you feel passion, makes you think, makes you act. I miss that inspiration when I am away for too long.
Best place to see another medium of art other than music?
To see another medium of art other than music, a good theatre is a great option. The biggest film industry being in Mumbai, the city has a lot of actors, story writers, directors etc. The theatre space of the city offers some really nice stories and acting performances to watch and experience.
What are your favourites shops for things other than music?
Mumbai has a lot of street markets and shops spread across one complete lane or more, like Linking road, Bandra and Colaba Causeway. I like going through stuff that the small shops in these locations have.
Are there any markets in your city worth checking out?
Crawford market in South Mumbai is that place in the city one should definitely spend a day or two at, if they love shopping. Its the city’s famous wholesale market, a repository of everything from food, household items, clothes, furnitures to souvenirs.
If we had to buy one local thing from your city to take back, what would it be?
Some classic movie cassettes would make for the perfect souvenir to take back home from this city.
Where will you find the friendliest, most interesting locals to have a chat with?
The whole of Mumbai in general has a warm spirit in comparison to the other metro cities. People are friendly and helpful almost everywhere. Compassion and kindness is ingrained naturally as you have people from different places reside here. In all probability, you can meet someone or the other to have a nice chat with, anywhere in Mumbai.
What’s the best and worst thing about living in Mumbai?
Best thing about living in this city is the drive and passion you can absorb from its amazing spirit. The zeal towards doing things that you love, and doing it well. This city gives you inspiration and many examples, for you to keep dreaming, to keep achieving. The worst thing about the city would be the pollution.
Who’s doing good things for Mumbai music right now, who you’d like to shout out?
Shout out to team Jwala, Boxout, RBMA, Mixt
Are there any interesting organisations/charities/projec
Aneesha Kotwani of WAVLNGTH shared her thoughts on Organisations/Projects involving music in Mumbai. Here’s what she had to say, “There are a lot of interesting things happening in the country as a whole, but pertaining to Mumbai I think DASTA has taken a good initiative as a collective of musicians to do something beyond just making music. They run this project called The Producer Circle where they engage, interact, share ideas and exchange music between up and coming as well as existing producers. It is a great step to learn new things & enhance one’s knowledge on the musical direction one can take.”
Who are some of your favourite up-and-coming DJs/producers/musicians bubbling up in Mumbai right now?
This opportunity to do a mix for Stamp The Wax made me explore and know more about the talents in the city who have left me pleasantly surprised. Artists like sparkle & fade, MALFNKTION, zzz, Burudu
Could you tell us about the mix you’ve made for us? Where and how did you record it, what was the idea behind it and are there?
I recorded this mix in Mumbai. The way I went about recording this mix was to collect sounds that were able to make me feel the vibe of the city and its culture. With so many dreams blooming and crushing everyday, this city has a lot of stories to tell and I have tried sharing one through this mix. With every track that I have selected for the mix, I intend for the listener to go to through different scenarios and experience the related emotion. Soft ones to take you through the beautiful mornings and evenings by the beach and tunes from the older times to take the listener through the era of retro movies and madness. I have used a couple of tracks by a few artists in this mix that are sampled with a bit of Bollywood dialogues/lyrics from the 80’s and 90’s which made me feel the essence of those times very strongly. There are some intense and deep tracks to take you through the crazy, loud, hustle & bustle streets of Mumbai and some warm ones to make you feel the mad love and passion that is felt in the spirit of this city, Mumbai.
I guess I have expressed enough in words now. The rest, I hope you feel it when you listen to it.
And finally, what’s on the horizon for you in terms of live dates or releases we should look out for?
Releasing productions will take some more time. Although, work for a semi live musical presentation is in the process and the first one should take place in 2018
Tansane – Guru Dakshina featuring Nigel Rajaratnam, Vatsal Bakhda
DSTNCT – Tranquility in motion
sparkle & fade – Kindergarten Crush
Three Oscillators – Ethereal
MALFNKTION – Where did ! go
MALFNKTION – Elvis
Tarqeeb – Blip
zzz, hollow – Noctura
zzz – mykingmyqueen
Chrms – Her
Monophonik – Untitled
Burudu – Hell of a lie
Burudu – Mujen
sparkle & fade – Your 4am dance moves
MALFNKTION – Moth
Schlick – Acres
Luna Toke – Wandering
zzz – chandanyat
Debo – Panchali
sparkle & fade – SA41
sparkle & fade – for the fossil which once was a fawn