EXCLUSIVE: Classicalite Q&A with Cellist Saum Ghosh on Colliding Classical and EDM, Building Schools, Creating Apps

By Maria Jean Sullivan on Aug 14, 2014 01:34 PM EDT

What is a classically trained cellist doing at an electronic dance music show? Moreover, what is a cello doing onstage at an EDM show? We’re not entirely sure so we got on the horn with Saum Ghosh to talk about what it means to be an Indian cellist in the dance music scene, his forthcoming album and his latest philanthropic adventure.

Classicalite: Let’s start with your new single coming out; what’s the sound going on there?

Saum Ghosh: I have a few singles coming out. I have “Fate And Flux.” That is a new composition I made which is mainly deep house with some vocal inspiration. I am an electronic producer and I have studied the cello since I was five. But the cello will not be on the recording of this song but I will be featuring it live. All of these singles are from an upcoming album which drops in October, its called Water From Mars. The album will have 11 tracks but I will be releasing a single every month until the album comes out.

Cite: What is the benefit to you behind releasing all of the singles before the album comes out? I would assume you want listeners to grab up the album as a whole?

SG: The real benefit is for the fans, to keep the build up to the album and to keep them listening.

Clite: What’s the purpose behind not recording the cello on the new album? You will be playing it live, yes?

SG: It's not like I have an issue with recording cello, I record cello on about 75% of the tracks on the album. But I wanted to keep a few of the tracks without the cello on the record. This is intentional; because I would like people to come see the live show. I like them to see the traditional cello I play with some of the songs.

Clite: What is the general reaction from the crowd when they see this big cello onstage?

SG: The reaction has been great! (laughs) The crowd loves it. I grew up in the classical world but I started producing electronic music at an early age and I have a real affinity for electronic music also. So mixing that with the cello has been received quite well. I had the opportunity to play in India in January with a Tabla Maestro named Birkam Gosh. We played two events together and I played my music and a couple of compositions we worked on together. People liked it; they liked the new sound and they likes the way the cello was mixed in. They way I do it is I play it and hook it up with a pick up and it goes through the mixer so it has effects in it. It’s all 24 bit so it plays for the crowd in eth same quality as the digital music.

I had a group called Sub Shanti for about three years and we played at the birth of dub step, before it was very hard-core, what it is now. We opened for Bassnecter and I played the cello onstage. The crowd loved it and from then on it was a must have.

Clite: Now when you say you “compose” a song, are you working with software or, being classically trained, are you working in a more traditional sense such sheet music?

SG: Yes both, actually. Sometimes I will just do software if it’s an EDM inspired song. But if I have a cello verse, I will have it in logic and then that will transform it into sheet music for me.

CL: Where are you drawing inspirations from?

SG: I take influence off of vibes. Moving from Nashville to LA, I experienced a whole different world. Melodies. When I make my melodies, I try to portray the vibes and emotions in the song and make it an experience for the fans.

CL: And influences; past, present?

SG: At age 12 I discovered electronic music through Paul Oakenfelfd. And now I’m into Zimmer, a French deep house artist, Daft Punk of course, and Oliver. My manager used to be an agent and he worked with Chemical Brothers and NIN so I have been listening to a lot of them. Muse, Depeche Mode. I couldn’t really say one or the other is a major influence.

I would have to say my biggest influence on my music is my brother. He was a violinst and he would wake me up early when I was like 14 and make me practice for 4 to 8 hours a day. Unfortunately he past away when I was 16 in a car accident. That was a life-changing event and afterwards I took my goals in music very seriously and took it to the next level.

CL: While we’re on the subject of your family; tell me about Sumits World.

SG: My brother had a company called Sumits World. He would tutor teens whose parents wanted them to get into one of the top Universities. He would also tutor children Austism and other special needs. So a few years after he passed away we decided to turn his company into a foundation. It is a very small foundation that has helped build a school in India, Hati and the Caribbean. We funded a program for battered and abused girls in Honduras. These students in India were meeting under a tree so we gave them a grant to build a school.

CL: Any new projects?

SG: The foundation has a new project, “War Against Rape” an iPhone app to protect women against assailants. You will have the app open in the background and if you are say jogging in the park, you press the two side buttons and it will send off a siren and flashing and will message your five closest contacts your GPS coordinates. It is a free application and should be live by September 6.

Saum Ghosh will release Water From Mars on October 8, his brothers’ birthday. In anticipation, listen below for the cello in single “Running Through You.

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TagsEXCLUSIVE, cellist, Saum Ghosh, ClassiCal, EDM, iPhone App, Classicalite Q&A

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