Moby, Fat Boy Slim, Nitin Sawney, Badmarsh & Shri, Trickbaby, Photek, Talvin Singh, Chemical Brothers, Basement Jaxx, DJ Icey, DJ Shadow.
Earth, Wind & Fire, Kool & The Gang, KC & The Sunshine Band, Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, LL Cool J, Run DMC, KRS 1, Mozart, Bach, Sly & The Family Stone, James Brown, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, A R Rahm
Growing up in Singapore, Rajesh Hardwani (a.k.a. r-H) fed himself musically on everything from funk and soul, to blues and hip-hop. This wide variety of influences would later play a vital role in his work as a musician, though he eventually expanded his creative palette even further to include electronica, big beat, drum and bass, jazz, and much more. It’s no surprise that some people find it difficult to classify his style. However, what may come as a surprise is how easily r-H takes these countless influences and meshes them together into a remarkably cohesive and wildly infectious sound that is all his own.
"The best remark I had about my music was when a fan said it was borderless music", says r-H.
An avid traveler, r-H takes his digital gear with him wherever he goes in order to record any sights and sounds that may become part of or inspiration for future audio and visual creations. This helps explain some of the remarkable diversity of r-H’s music, which includes elements of Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Malaysian, and Arabian cultures. The diversity is obvious not just from track to track or from one album to the next, but even within the course of a single song. When asked what makes his style unique, r-H answers, “Various genres and sounds from different lands in one track. I can not help but produce this way. I can start with a hip-hop beat and a cello as the bass, but have the Chinese erhu and pipa take over the melody and the Indian sitar bring in the hook. The bridge could be a drum and bass groove with Punjabi chanting. It’s music. It’s a repository of cultures through sound, and the variations in the track express my mood at the time of production.” This diverse approach to the craft seems to be attracting a diverse audience, as r-H already has fans scattered across the globe, from Iceland and the Netherlands to Malaysia and Australia.
Despite all this, you may still find yourself wondering what the music sounds like. In order to answer this question, we must first look at some of r-H’s influences, Earth, Wind and Fire, Kool and the Gang, KC and the Sunshine Band, Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, L.L. Cool J, Run DMC, KRS 1, Mozart, Bach, Sly and the Family Stone, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, A.R. Rahman, James Brown, B.B. King, Aerosmith, Wise Guys. These are just a few, though this partial list helps us see how diverse r-H is in both his listening and his creating.
But perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is that r-H is not a musician that simply chops up and regurgitates things that other musicians have already done. His influences range from the aforementioned lists of fellow musicians, to the people and politics of the worlds around him. “I read all the time,” says r-H. “Psychology, culture, technology, and travel excite me. Such information makes you think. While most of my musical work is instrumental, my approach to a project and the feel of the track is based on my thought process at that time, and sometimes that depends on what recently had a great influence on me. It’s usually a subject that I just read.”
With his album, Black Asia Volume 1, r-H has taken one big step toward reaching the goals he has set for himself, which include remixing for established artists worldwide and making a living through his music. Using an astounding variety of instrumentation, r-H aims to show you how Thai, Japanese, and Indian grooves and chants sound when layered over break beat and drum and bass.
In the future, r-H hopes to become involved with more remixing collaborations with other artists, and he plans to produce a sound library of Asian sounds and effects.
Obviously, r-H is an artist who has set a high bar for himself, but he is also an artist who seems capable of going above and beyond that to which he currently aspires.