Mumbai’s EDM duo, Prayag Mehta and Rishab Joshi, better known as Lost Stories, will be performing at the mega EDM festival, Tomorrowland, that kicks off in Belgium on July 24. Suprita Mitter charts their journey
How it all began
Rishabh Joshi (RJ): We met online. Today, there’s a guy from Russia who is producing with a guy from LA. The Internet was of great help.
(From left) Prayag Mehta and Rishab Joshi of Lost Stories. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
Prayag Mehta (PM): There was not much of a scene in India at the time. The best way to exchange project files was on the Internet. We met and launched our first project, our first single called False Promises. Lost Stories was formed in 2009.
RJ: The sounds were not similar but we were looking for production quality and music-making techniques. Mine was a harder sound while Prayag’s was melodic and dreamy. We felt it would be cool if we merged both. It’s how the first track took shape. Soon, the biggest DJs in the world started dropping (slang: using) that track because it was a new sound. DJs like Armin van Buuren, Tiesto and Markus Schulz were playing it. Tiesto’s Blackhole Recordings signed the track, which was huge.
PM: We were working on a unique sound which was a brave decision because if you send an odd-sounding track to a label, they might never check your tracks again. Many DJs liked our style. Today, we’ve remixed for nearly 25 of the biggest names.
RJ: We have remixed Grammy Award-nominees like Nadia Lee, BT, Andy Moore, Markus Schulz and Afro Jack (recently). Being signed by Blackhole Recordings helped us get our sound out there. Tiesto was no. 1, so, getting him to sign our track was unreal.
PM: We are doing the most extended EDM tour in Europe. We have 10 shows including four other festivals, apart from Tomorrowland.
RJ: Shaan will also be performing here. Names that we have dreamt of playing with will be at these shows. For Tomorrowland, we are working on a sound from 2008-9, with a lot of Indian-ness to it. To us, Indian sounds are not only about Bollywood. For example, if you remove the instrumentation from a Bollywood track, the a cappella can’t be classified as Bollywood just because it’s sung in Hindi. For a new track that we are doing with Jetfire from Israel, we sampled a track from Monsoon Wedding, by Sukhwinder Singh. Universal Music gave us a sample, and now it’s a track that Tiesto drops.
PM: It could be any element — vocals, sitar, drum or tabla, depending on the collaboration.
PM: When we started, the EDM community was sparse in India but today there are so many fests. It is one of the world’s biggest Dance music communities. Every big EDM artiste has played in India. The scene has improved in five years.
RJ: The attention span of kids is much shorter now. There’s so much music coming out, so there’s more competition.
Mumbai’s music landscape
RJ: Mumbai’s crowds have a quality, when it comes to Dance music. We have played all over India, and still prefer Mumbai. Our biggest shows including the one we played with Tiesto, were in Mumbai where 10,000 people showed up.
PM: Mumbai has a great EDM community. When an agency is booking an artiste, Mumbai is the first city they look at, after which they schedule the rest of the dates.
Favourite Indian musicians.
PM: AR Rahman and Amit Trivedi are great inspiration. Mikey McCleary is doing some great work, I love his project, The Bartenders, they have their take on Bollywood music, and it is not typical.
RJ: Kavita Seth is great. We are currently working on a track with her.
What's up next?
We plan to open a school soon in Mumbai for music production. We’ll have beginner’s courses that will be for three months; there will also be advanced sessions. We were self-taught but these days opportunities are plenty.However, it’s also easy for aspirants to get lost. The idea is to guide them. DJs are always looking for producers. Since we are playing at Tomorrowland, we want other producers to send in their works too. There are many out there who wish to give other producers a chance. The scope is humongous unlike how it was when we started.