Interview by Albert Zhou ’22.
Nikhil Kumra ’22 recently released the song “NO DISCUSSIONS” with Billboard Baba and ArmstrongWW. Below is his song, along with an interview with Nikhil about the process of producing an original song.
How was it working alongside and collaborating with other professional artists?
“It was amazing to be able to work with professionals and actually be part of a team putting out quality work, especially with sound engineers, videographers, and even the studio itself was a professional used by Travis Scott during Astroworld. I think the fact that Baba and I have a mutual respect is seriously key; there was no feeling that the artist is bigger than the producer or vice-versa, or that one is doing the other a favor. I think having something that high of quality to be put out made me feel special, and I cannot wait to release more music with them.”
What was your individual production process like?
“When I produce, usually I start out with a melody. Sometimes I make my own with plugins or instruments in my software, or I might sample something from an audio I heard. In this case, I sampled an acapella talkbox, added a keyboard harmony and some maracas. Then I usually add my drums, which consist of hihats, claps, bass drums, and sometimes some other snare drum and other percussive sounds. Finally, I add my 808s and bass together and that’s how I make a loop for the beat. Then, I just format it with the introduction, the bass drop, chorus, verses, etc.”
What inspired you?
“Honestly, I never took production too seriously until coronavirus happened. Before the pandemic, me and my friends would just make beats together during lunch just for fun, never seriously. However, in march, I wasn’t able to play the drums or sing with any of my friends at school, so I started to really channel my inner musical side. Once I started making drum patterns and simple melodies on my computer, I began to remix some songs and created higher level beats. Then I pretty much found artists that had a smaller following but were mega talented, DMed them and asked them if they liked my beats, and made songs.”
Is there a general message that you wanted to convey with the song?
“Well the song is a feel good song. It’s one that someone can dance to, listen to while working out, and just play while doing homework. While I didn’t really write the lyrics, the meaning behind the beat was really that as long as you work hard for something you have a passion for, opportunity will naturally come up. No one except for my close friends really knew that I produced, and in the real world, everyone has to advocate for themselves in order to be noticed, and since I had no credibility, I had to market myself in order to sell my beats and collaborate, so with hard work and determination, people can really start to achieve the results with the things they are passionate about.”