A couple of years ago, music producer and disc jockey Kunaal Gurbaxani assumed the stage name of Gurbax. Today, most of his fans know him as DJ Gurbax. Though he has been making music for several years and has played at some of the biggest venues in India and abroad, he is trying to do a lot of things now which he has been wishing to explore as an artist for a very long time now. Releasing a full-fledged album was one of his long-standing dreams which fructified recently.
In this exclusive interview, DJ Gurbax talks about his debut album ‘Rebirth’, collaborating with multiple artists, being a ‘failed engineer’, upcoming projects and more.
Today, most musicians or singers prefer releasing singles. We see very few non-film albums releasing these days. In this era of singles, what made you decide to come up with an album?
Ever since I started making music, I have been dreaming about releasing an album. I have been doing singles, remixes and EPs since the last 7-8 years. There was a voice inside me telling me that you are not an artist until you make an album. Eventually, I decided to pay heed to that voice. After releasing my debut album, I feel have crossed an important milestone. I strongly feel every artist needs to make at least an album. After that, they can decide the kind of path they want to take. At some point, you need to show people a bigger story than one song.
Why did you decide to name your debut album ‘Rebirth’?
I called it ‘Rebirth’ for multiple reasons. I used this opportunity to explore a different artistic side of myself. I wanted my audience to listen to the kind of music they have never seen me churn out before. I am really happy with the way this album has shaped up. I almost feel like reinventing myself and taking my sensibilities as a musician in a new direction. My music has always been quite heavy on beats. I had more of a songwriter’s approach while creating this album.
What is the biggest challenge you faced while creating this album?
The biggest challenge was to select the right songs so that the album sounds cohesive. The first track on the album was created around four years back. While I had the desire of creating my own album, I was doing a lot of other work simultaneously. Most of the tracks that you hear on the album were in the works for the last 3-4 years. There were several occasions wherein I decide to keep a track aside for the album but ended up using it somewhere else.
You collaborated with a variety of artists on this album. Rashmeet Kaur, whom you earlier worked with on the popular single ‘Oceana’, has collaborated with you on the track ‘Yaariyan’. The music video of ‘Mere Warga’ features Rakhi Sawant in it.
With Rashmeet, everything happens in a free-flowing and organic manner. We keep working on several ideas together. ‘Oceana’ had a completely different sound from ‘Yaariyan’. Working with Rakhi was quite a memorable experience. She is a very dynamic personality and her presence has made the music video really special. Most of the collaborators on this album came in at different times. I had known Burrah for two years but we met for the first time in Dubai while shooting for ‘Mere Warga’.
Your Instagram bio describes you as a ‘failed engineer turned DJ’. You had stated in an interview that when you were in your tenth grade, you were more interested in playing the guitar than studying. When did you decide to pursue a full-time career in music?
I started playing the guitar as a hobby during my tenth grade. Even before I picked up the instrument, I used to listen to a lot of music. Music was a hobby which soon turned into a passion. Initially, I was not sure whether I would be a good musician. In my final year of college, I decided to do a course in music production. That course changed the course of my life (laughs). During those years, I actually realized how much I loved making music.
Would you like to compose or produce the music for a film someday?
Yes! I am open to the idea. When it comes to films, I will choose the project very wisely. If I connect to a filmmaker, I would love to compose the music for their film.
You grew up idolizing many western artistes and bands like RL Grime, Pretty Lights, Travis Scott and Red Hot Chili Peppers. Which are the Indian artists you are inspired by?
I am hugely inspired by all the artists in the music scene today. Each one of them is trying to bring something different to the table. At the moment, I am really inspired by Divine. I am lucky to have witnessed his upward trajectory very closely. I like a lot of artists in the hip-hop space.
What are you doing next?
I will be releasing a track with a label that specializes in rap music. I will definitely be releasing a bunch of singles this year. We have a 12-city tour in India planned throughout May and June. After that, I will be going to the United States for a tour.