Karthik Sivasankar better known by his artist alias Tatsama has had releases on legendary labels like Juicebox Music, Suffused Music, Soul Deep Inc Records, Perception Music, Deep Nota Records, SLiCK Records, 808 Recrodings, Plus Plus Records, Crossworld Academy, Crossworlder Music, Oh So Coy Recordings, Purple Sun Records, MidWest Hustle.
HIs sounds border around deep and melancholic harmonies and rhythms. Sophisticated movements through passing phrases and lush atmospheres floating through the mix. His productions have received support from the likes of Hernan Cattaneo,Max Graham, and Nick Warren among many others which speaks volumes in itself about the quality of his productions.
We caught up with Karthik to discuss his upcoming projects, favourite tools, his learning process, his trippy spaceship of a studio and the current state of underground electronic music in the Country and Hyderabad.
Tell us a little bit about your journey, did you grow up playing an instrument? What made you fall in love with electronic music?
I started Dj’ing about 13 years back (though there was a gap of 7 years where I got involved in non-music related business) and have been producing music for the past 4-5 years. I come from a totally non-musical background . I taught myself the fundamentals of how to play the piano , thanks to youtube and google and have slowly added(still adding) to my knowledge base. I don’t know what exactly made me fall in love with electronic music , but I would assume it was how it made me feel and still makes me feel to this day , when I listen to good/intelligent electronic music.
Was there a particular moment when you knew this is what you were going to do for a living?
I knew when I started dj’ing/producing that I wanted to have this as part of my journey through life , but I consider myself lucky to be able to do this full time now.
Tell us a little bit about your studio set up ?
I started of with a second hand pair of Alesis MK2 monitors and a M-audio PCI-E soundcard and have slowly upgraded my setup and gear over the years. My current studio setup consists of Focal Twinbe6 monitors, RME Fireface UCX soundcard, DBX 166XL Compessor/Gate,Focusrite TrackMaster Pro, Platinum Novation 49 SL MK2,UAD Solo , Waldorf Blofeld, Moog Sub 37,a few microphones and a decently treated room. The Sub 37 is truly a powerful synth and I cannot praise it enough. That filter is pure magic. I have had the sub 37 now for less than 3 weeks, but we are becoming good friends .
Favourite piece of outboard studio gear, favourite mix down tools and your favorite soft synth?
I used to use the DBX a lot early on , but with the purchase of the UAD card , I tend to stick with their compressors in the box these days. Favourite mix down tools would have to be the UAD 1176 emulations , UAD LA-2A emulations , UAD EMT 140 Plate , UAD Cambridge EQ and the SoundToys Decapitator .Favourite soft synth would have to be Abletons Operator and Analog (Highly underrated).
You’ve trained formally as an engineer, how did that education help through your journey?
Yes , I studied Audio Engineering back in 2005 at The School of Sound Recording in Manchester(UK). Though the course was geared more towards Live recording and Analog studio setups, the insight it gave me into the nature and behaviour of sound was invaluable.
You also run your own studio and teach a couple of courses in Hyderabad?
Yes, I teach Electronic Music Production here at the studio. Apart from teaching I have also done work for the Telugu film industry and also engineered a few private music albums in the past. There are plans to expand the teaching side of things in a big way in 2018.
How did you go about treating your room?
The room is treated with a combination of Fiberglass and Rock wool panels. It took me about 2 months to collect all the material and finish up the treatment. The panels are 4inches for the side walls , 8 inches for the corners and back wall & 2 inches for the roof. Also worth noting that I bought a Behringer ECM 8000 measurement microphone to aid in the treatment. The fabric I used to cover the panels were of a light , breathable material. Nothing too fancy here, but it works.
What do you think about the current state of underground music in the country and Hyderabad specifically?
I think we have a very healthy and burgeoning underground scene here in Hyderabad and across the country right now. The scene in Hyderabad has grown leaps and bounds the past 2-3 years thanks to the presence of high quality venues with high quality sound systems installed. But all this would be for naught if it wasn’t for serious underground event organisers/promoters like MUSIFIX and the people that come out and support the scene.
Upcoming releases to watch out for?
Have a bunch lined up for release this year on Superordinate Music , Stellar Fountain/Astrowave , PHW Elements , Massive Harmony Records, BC2 and more.
Any tips for aspiring producers and DJs?
Just keep working hard , critically listen to your fav producers/dj’s Music/sets . Thoughtful analysis and a drive to get better and better are your friends. Don’t forget why you wanted to do this in the first place , keep that fire burning and you should be alright.