20-year-old rapper duo on juggling college and career

20-year-old rapper duo on juggling college and career

DEVM and Warboy are touring with their first album ‘Out of the Blue’ which dropped on January 24

Ever since India’s underground rap scene hit the mainstream, new artistes are being discovered almost every day. Warboy and DEVM are the new kids on the block, post their win at the Red Bull Spotlight Season 2. They dropped their first album ‘Out of the Blue’ on January 24 and are now touring the country.
They were in the city on Sunday, opening for rapper-duo Seedhe Maut. The 20 year olds spoke to Metrolife about making the album and the journey ahead. 

You first collaborated for the competition, how did you two meet each other?

DEVM: I was going through the Red Bull website and came across the spotlight session where the winner got to produce and record their own album. This sounded really exciting but I needed a rapper to accompany me. 

I had a few people in mind. Since I’m pursuing a course in music production, many of my college mates were good rappers. My first choice was Ashutosh (Warboy). He had rapped to my beats earlier in jam sessions at college. But when I approached him, he was hesitant, because we only had one day to prepare for the competition. It took three hours of convincing but he finally agreed to give it a shot. 

How did you get into music?

Warboy: I was in the ninth grade when I was introduced to rap. I had bunked classes and was playing video games at a friend’s house when I came across a notebook with lyrics written on it. I started singing it and my friend corrected me by saying, ‘this is rap, you don’t sing it’. He showed me how to rap and said that I could try writing my own. That was the beginning. 

DEVM: I started by just listening to electronic music. As soon as I got to know that all I would need is a laptop to produce my own music, I dived right into it. I looked for the right software and started with very amatuer beats. I was only 14 at the time. 

Did you enjoy the process of making the album?

Warboy: It was a really good experience but there were definitely many ups and downs. One of the biggest challenges was that our producer Bixtel was from Atlanta and didn’t understand any Hindi. Explaining the meaning and emotion behind the lyrics to him was really difficult, especially because I’m not well-versed in English. But I’m lucky that we had a very helpful production team. 

We also wanted live instrumentals and wanted to do a crossover of rock and rap. But, that didn’t work out so we had to compromise on that track. 

And of course, getting up early was very difficult. (laughs)

DEVM: Despite the challenges it was a really good experience.  I’ve always believed that working in proximity to professionals influences your work ethic. And this opportunity allowed us to do just that. There was so much to learn and everyone was very open with their experiences and very welcoming of us. It also helped us understand what’s going on in college better. 

Was it difficult managing college and a rap career?

DEVM: Thankfully our college has been supportive since day one. Whenever we needed leaves or time to work on our project, they used to oblige. They even let us use college equipment to produce and record our tracks. 

You’ve defined the kind of music you make as Pahadi rap, can you explain what that is?

Warboy: From when I started I wanted to set myself apart from gully rap. There’s a certain essence that I bring and it has a lot to do with representing my identity. I’m from Dharamshala; I grew up in the hills. I feel that staying connected to my roots is really important. This forms the core of what hiphop means to me.

Who are some artistes you look upto?

Warboy: The first few rappers I heard were Mike Shinoda from Linkin Park and Eminem. But it was Lil Wayne, who really stuck with me. I like that he’s a little nasty and also funny. 

I’m also a huge fan of punk rock artistes. Bands such as Green Day and Red Hot Chili Peppers have influenced my style quite a bit. 

DEVM: At first, it was only EDM, then →I started listening to hiphop as well. But because of my course I’ve been exposed to multiple genres and artistes. One of these is film scoring, which introduced me to Hans Zimmer. I greatly admire him. 

What are your future plans?

DEVM: We have a few projects lined up as a duo. But we also have plans as individual artistes. 

Warboy: I got my name from the characters in the movie ‘Mad Max’. They had this explosive energy and they were ready to do anything. I feel like I am the same. But I think it’s time for ‘Warboy’ to evolve into ‘Warlord’. 

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