Let’s Label Them

Can SoupHerb Records give musicians the fresh breath of ballsy freedom that they desperately need?




You’ve known them as members of Jalebee Cartel, the seminal electronic music group. Now, Ash Roy and Ashvin Mani Sharma have combined their collective two decades of experience to serve up the new music label, SoupHerb Records. The aim? To represent good underground music, period, whether national or international. April also heralds the launch of their new radio show, “Metronica,” on FM. It’s exciting news for electronica fans that a genre considered alternative will find space on national radio. MAXIM meets the duo for an exclusive behind-the-scenes story.


What’s the unknown story behind SoupHerb?


Ash Roy: It is a record label that Ashvin and I have launched as an outlet for forward-thinking and experimental music producers in the genres of techno, minimal, house and all other sub-genres that go with it. It came to reality after I got some pointers from Kevin McHugh a.k.a. Ambivalent [a huge global techno name], who is a friend and a phenomenal DJ and producer. We have four EPs mastered and ready to release. The first will be Breger’s, the talented techno producer out of Germany, followed by mine, then Ashvin’s and then, Falling Cows—a live act comprising Breger and Moog Conspiracy that’ll also include a remix by Acid Pauli.


Ashvin Mani Sharma: The label became a reality last summer when we were in Europe. We have so many like-minded friends and DJs over the world who are making amazing music and we wanted to kind of document that. It’s our way of putting it under a banner so others can discover all these amazing tunes.


Tell us more about your radio show, “Metronica.”


AS: I always wanted to promote underground music on FM radio. I was part of the radio business in India for six years and also had a monthly show on an online radio station in Greece. The thought of listening to techno or house on radio while driving in India is a dream. So, I teamed up with Ashvin and Madhav [a.k.a. Kohra] and came up with this two-hour weekly show concept. The first hour will be a non-stop set hosted by one of us and the second hour will be an international guest DJ showcasing his style of music. It will air every Saturday on Hit 95 FM in Delhi at a prime evening slot.


AMS: Electronic music has come a long way in India but I think that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We want to take it to as many people as possible and radio lets us impact our local scene directly. We want to take our brand of music straight to the people. The good thing about electronic music is that, mostly, it is language-free and this works well for people from different backgrounds. Now, people will at least know where to find it.


You’ve been musicians for years. Why start a label now?


AS: Initially we were concentrating more on creating a niche for our sound. So our efforts went into producing, playing and promoting our music. Now we’ve got that experience and are ready to showcase our selection of artistes and music.


AMS: We’ve developed a definitive musical vision and now we’re in a position to make that a reality. It feels like the right time.


Have your summers touring Europe frequently given you a fresh new perspective?


AS: My perspective about the scene here is that it’s still on its learning curve. There has been progress and a lot of people are getting aware of various artistes from the alternative music scene. So many music festivals have cropped up. A lot of huge international artistes have performed here and more want to come and play, and explore this beautiful country. It’s only going to get bigger and better. I won’t be surprised if we become one of the biggest hubs for alternative music.


AMS: They have given us hope that we can build a substantial music scene for the future. Something original. Another important point to remember… good things take time.