Exclusive! Indian Grammy nominee Prashant Mistry opens up on his journey so far!
London-based Indian music producer, mix and mastering engineer Prashant Mistry’s album Symbol is nominated for the Best Immerse Audio Album at the 61st Grammy Awards.
CB: How do you feel about the praise and admiration you are receiving now after the nominations were announced?
Prashant: It’s been really beautiful to see, I’ve been blown away by the kind words and wishes. This album took me a very long time to compose so to see it have this recognition is a blessing. It also makes me so happy for the featured musicians to be able to say they are proud to be a part of this.
CB: How and when did you find out that Symbol has been nominated? How did you celebrate?
Prashant: I was actually looking for Jorja Smith’s nomination (whose music I mix and master) and she is up for ‘Best New Artist’… I was super happy about this and happened to keep scrolling and saw my name! I Celebrated by eating lots of cheese.
CB: What do you think about the other albums nominated in the same category?
Prashant: There are some brilliant projects, with top engineering!! Some very tough competition indeed but we shall see…
CB: You have been described as – multi-instrumentalist, DJ, mastering and mixing engineer. How would you describe yourself as an artist?
Prashant: Haha… it’s true I have been known to wear a number of hats, in truth I just love music and am blessed to have had the opportunity to work on music every day. As an artist, I guess I’m a sum of lots of strange influences.
CB: From what I hear, your roots are in Rajkot, Gujarat. Were you born in India?
Prashant: Actually I was born in the UK, my grandparents are originally from Rajkot, my parents were born in Uganda but had to leave as refugees in the 70s to the UK to escape the Idi Amin dictatorship. I was born a few years later just outside London as 1st generation.
CB: In 2009 you started your bass collective – Engine Earz Experiment. How did that come about?
Prashant: So I had been working with the other musicians on other musical projects for a while, and we all had a passion for incorporating traditional live instruments with their electronic and machine counterparts. After I composed the first song ‘Kaliyuga’, Nihal at BBC Radio 1 asked me to come to perform a Maida Vale live session, so I asked them if they would like to join and the band was alive! We toured for many many years all over the world together.
CB: Engine Earz Experiments takes a lot of inspiration from India. Tell me more about this…
Prashant: I don’t think its intentional as such, I just grew up with Indian classical music at home, whilst being heavily into electronic music, so the two influences naturally manifest in the music I compose. The same is true for other members of the group.
CB: How has the response been for the integration/fusion Indian undertone?
Prashant: I was honestly surprised by how well non-Indian fans took to the Engine-Earz Experiment music. Often Indian fusion music is mainly appreciated by other Indians, I think because I have enough of a mix of other underground genres in the composition it’s able to reach further? Who knows!
CB: How was your experience working in the UK? Were you ever discriminated against?
Prashant: That’s a tough question – for sure I’ve faced both overt and more subtle racism throughout my life but I try not to let that define my outlook too much as a person (although sadly now post-Brexit it’s becoming much more of a norm after vanishing for 20 years!). I remember being chased by racist skin-heads as a kid, to being physically attacked in the street. But most of the time it’s much more subtle. Funnily enough, as I grew up I realised being different was my greatest strength in the UK, and similarly having a Western musical experience was a great asset in India.
CB: What kind of music from India inspires you creatively?
Prashant: I think the hip-hop movement is fantastic, I LOVE what Azadi records are doing (shout out Mo!), I’ve always been a fan of Randolph and Vishal from Pentagram, the bass movement with Krunk is fantastic and I’m a fan of Sandunes and some of the experimental sounds. But I think the Hip-hop movement encapsulates what is going to be incredible about India in the years to come.
Check out the Symbol Full album with full Visuals here-
CB: What’s the significance of our great musical and cultural heritage today?
Prashant: I think it’s the ability to unite almost 2 billion people and to focus that energy into new forms and experiences with open arms to the rest of the world.
CB: What would you say to the ones looking up to you and seeing you achieve so much today?
Prashant: Keep focused on your art, your message, and find happiness, something to love and passion in every project you work on.