Arjun Vagale – The Big Reveal: AsymetriK

Treading his own path to become a leading figure in India’s Techno scene. More than a decade later, he’s still at the top of his game. 

We’re catching up with Arjun Vagale also celebrated as the pioneer of techno in India as he talks about his new alias “Asymetrik” & further discusses his love for all things out of symmetry.   

Arjun Vagale Aka Asymetrik Live in Bangalore
Credits: MK Chaitanya

What is AsymetriK? How is it different from your regular Act?

AsymetriK is my alias for all things experimental, but simply put, all things non 4-to-the-floor or non ‘Techno’ in the traditional sense

Will this be your new alias or will you continue to perform as Arjun Vagale as well?

Ofcourse, I can never get away from the relentless 4/4, but for everything else, AsymetriK.

Arjun Vagale Aka Asymetrik Live at AntiSocial
Credits: MK Chaitanya

More than 25 years in Music. You have seen the industry evolve to what it is today, any milestones in the industry that really affected your music leading upto your new project, Asymetrik?

To be honest, I’ve been listening to & making TONS of experimental, chill, industrial, abstract, glitch etc music for the last 2/3 years … a lot of it was just me messing around in the studio. Music is a form of expression, and as cliché as it sounds, it’s completely true for me. I just let myself make music, without having an agenda. Last year I decided i’m going to do just that and actually finish a bunch of tracks and see what happens … its evolved into a whole new alias, and i’m really excited to put out this music later this year.

Arjun Vagale Aka Asymetrik Live in Bangalore
Credits: MK Chaitanya

Keeping you distinct sounds, how is your approach to music production different for Asymetrik and Arjun Vagale?

It’s actually all the same, I get into my studio, and just jam with my gear. It depends on my mood, and how i’m feeling. For my Techno tracks, it’s always the kick, a 4 by 4 running, and then I add bits. For AsymetriK its the same .. but instead of a steady 4/4, I have a probability module on my modular, that just does crazy numeric gates … and that’s how I get the kicks. I tend to record a lot of what i do on my modular even when i’m just messing around, and a lot of the AsymetriK tracks start that way.

Arjun Vagale Aka Asymetrik Live in Bangalore
Credits : AsymetriK

You are known for your love for synths and technology. What’s your new setup for AsymetriK?

I’m trying to keep it as simple as possible coz its a pain to travel with equipment … the LIVE setup has changed a lot since I first started experimenting, so now its my Mac running Ableton & Traktor in sync via link (ableton runs mostly midi to the Mod + some complex synth loops, Traktor is purely for drum loops), My modular synth, and the beatstep pro. They all feed into a 14/16 channel mixer. I have a couple of FX pedals as well. I wanted to take my 909 but it’s a bit of a delicate old lady so can’t risk it, though I do have some clone 909 modules in my rack, as well as a sampler that has drum hits. Basically, i’ve got a compact case that is a full blown techno machine. 3 full synth voices, noises, and drums. I have 4 outputs from the modular running into the mixer, and I have a send running back to the modular for sampling and / or FX!
Arjun Vagale Home Studio Close Up
Credits : AsymetriK

What is the one piece of tech you cant tour without, apart from your laptop?

Well … I guess my phone + headphones. It’s got music & movies + some apps that help me ‘chill’ when dealing with hectic travel.

There is a sudden emergence of music performance acts, attaching the word “Live “to it; what is your take on the word “Live” in electronic music performance?

I think the word LIVE is misused a lot … People have different ways to do it. Some mix stems live on a mixing board, others trigger clips or add a few synths over beds. Some just hit play … running your own productions, sequenced in Ableton is NOT live in any way.

What’s your favourite piece of gear in your studio and why?

My modular synth .. it’s naturally a custom built synth, that’s always evolving. I love it as every day is a new day with it. Sometimes I get tired of it, i’ll disassemble it and reconfigure the way it’s laid out, and bam, it’s like a brand new piece of kit. I do love my 909 tho :)
Arjun Vagale's studio
Credits: Arjun Vagale


More on AsymetriK

///// As an artist, I’ve always believed that evolution is essential – to explore uncharted territory and to stir things up, to keep it inspiring for myself, but also to bring YOU something exciting. I spent most of last year working on a new project, breaking away from any limitations. And I’m very proud to present my new alias for experimental music, ‘ASYMETRIK.’

///// The idea was to showcase this sound in a live format, and in collaboration with Thiruda and Cursorama, we’ve developed a brand new audio-visual show called ‘ARTEFACT ASSASSIN.’ I couldn’t be happier to premier this new experience in Bangalore, my original home, alongside dotdat, Likwid and Aural Eye.

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