Hary Shanthi: The ‘Wednesday Alternative’ Mix
Amsterdam-based DJ Hary Shanthi describes himself as a metaphysial educator; his music is a personal story based on his own experiences.
As well as being part of the Sinchi Collective crew – a blog, label and mix series who represent some of the most exciting underground artists – when Hary isn't completely immersed in music, he works as a climate researcher and scientist in the fields of climate mitigation, zero carbon technologies and energy transition.
We invited him to take control of this week's Wednesday Alternative mix and boy did he deliver! Based around the idea of "if “Nietzsche” was a DJ" channelling his musical four part text “Thus spoke Zarathustra“, Hary uses only tracks composed in minor: the first part harmonic, the second with the use of scales under the Dorian mode, the third using Phrygian mode and the final part utilising the natural/aeolian mode.
Strap in for a trip like no other…
Please introduce yourself… Who are you, where are you and what are you?
Hi, I am Hary Shanthi, an Indian residing in Amsterdam, which I proudly call my home. I am a Climate researcher/scientist focusing on climate mitigation, zero carbon technologies and energy transition. Apart from this, I am a passionate DJ and also a sound designer by education.
What does your music sound like? Can you draw what you think it sounds like for us (an image from the old internet is acceptable)?
It sounds metaphysical to me, since the concept of metaphysical in itself is a personal experience where each and every one can draw their own stories based on their experiences. It escapes the idea of singularity.
Where was the mix recorded?
In my studio facing the canal at my home in Amsterdam
What would be the ideal setting to listen to the mix?
A dark room at 6 am with a sound system which treats music not merely as a mean to an end but as an end in themselves since this mix is a simple human attempt built on the imaginary idea on how a mix would sound like if “Nietzsche” was a DJ and closed a dark sweaty room expressing his musical four part text “Thus spoke Zarathustra“ through the western musical language of scales and emotions. The musicality of the text depicts the tragic yet dark entrapment of the society and the average modern human as simply an evolutionary step. To characterize this, only tracks composed in minor keys have been used. The first part which expresses tragic, exotic and middle eastern is translated by using the harmonic minor scales, the second with the use of scales under the Dorian mode expressing sophistication and worldliness, the third expressing passionate resentment and discontent with the use of Phrygian mode and the last expressing overcoming and the declaration of love with the use of natural/aeolian mode.
What should we be wearing?
Nothing tight please, because you are going to sweat.
What would be your dream setting to record a mix: Location/system/format?
Location: Kalsoy island, an isolated island over the northeast of (Faroe islands), which was the last destination for my yearly solitude trip. There is a beautiful lighthouse at Kallur facing the infinite sea, which would be a dream location.
System: Rane MP2015/Traktor D2’s.
Which track in the mix is your current favourite?
There is no particular one, because they all take their own meaningful place in this mix.
What’s your favourite recorded mix of all time?
Difficult one but the one I always fall back is John Talabot @ Naturel beach club (Scheveningen). I am a victim for DJs who manifests the art of frequency management and equalization to create long/timeless transitions that are inimitable. Those are the people who still uphold the art of Djing in a world of producers.
If you could go back to back with any DJ from throughout history, who would it be and why?
It would be with Nietzsche. He was one of the few philosophers who was a musician who could compose and he is a great storyteller, so I am sure, he would have been a good DJ.
What was your first DJ set up at home and what is it now?
My first setup was Denon DJ DN-2600F with technics SL1200. My current setup is “RaneMP2015” with Traktor D2’s.
What’s more important, the track you start on or the track you end on?
Mostly first track since I use this to define the story, I want to tell. The first track of this mix is created by sampling a aphoristic poem put together by Avital Ronell for Francois Noudelmann’s radio show called “Nietzsche is a DJ” which acted as the basis for the story of this mix.
What were the first and last records you bought?
My first record was Lazzarus – Goodbye Horses and last one was Deep In India, Vol.6 by Todh teri.
If this mix was an edible thing, what would it taste like?
It is, for sure, spicy as hell with lots of herbs, so I would go for “Podi Dosa”. It is a pancake filled with spices which you can’t see as it is hidden. It will trick you into burning your intestines. I love and miss the feeling of my intestines being burned by Indian food.
If it was an animal what would it be?
A polar bear
One record in your collection that is impossible to mix into anything?
Dannie Fade – Demolition (Sinchi). but I do believe no record should be impossible if you are creative and understand the fundamentals of music theory.
Upcoming in the world of…
I finally upgraded my studio so it allowed me to work on some interesting edits/remixes. My colleague/ friend Tom encourages me to work on remixes with the intention to release, and I am currently working on one and will release if I am satisfied with my output. I also got back into producing after a 8 year break and now I am researching a lot about my ethnic background. As a Tamilan, I speak the oldest language in the world and privileged to dig into ancient (five thousand years old) musical philosophy, instruments and literature. This has inspired me to design some samples and work on a track and let’s see where this takes me. But nevertheless, Djing is a whole world in itself and it basically consumes 100% of my free time so I want to be careful before I promise anything.
Anything else we need to discuss?
I hope this crisis teaches us the importance of solitude, as it is the only source of self-realization that fosters our identities: make us a creative soul and finally helps us to grow into who we really are. If I can be optimistic, I expect a kinder, compassionate world to arise out of this that encourages an environmentally ethical and socially moral living. I hope this mix will also allow you to see the beauty in our scene which brings us all together, stand up for what is right and finally will enhance your anticipation for the time when we can all dance again till dawn and beyond. As Nietzsche would say, this is a mix for all and none.
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