Lost Stories x Zaeden get candid about their collaboration “Uncomplicated,” Tomorrowland and dance music in India
Sidhantha Jain · November 30, 2018 · 7 Minute Read
Lost Stories and Zaeden have conquered every space from local clubs to world’s most popular music festivals with their eclectic live sets but a between the two collaboration was overdue and eagerly anticipated by fans.
Their latest release “Uncomplicated” is a meticulously constructed melodic production around luscious chord patterns topped with vocals from Matthew Steeper showcasing the signature styles of both artists.
We caught up with Zaeden and Lost Stories comprising of Prayag Mehta and Rishab Joshi for an exclusive conversation before the release of their track they first dropped at Tomorrowland.
Lost Stories x Zaeden were India’s sole representatives at Tomorrowland lineup this year. How was the whole experience performing there?
Rishabh – We were excited from the time we got to know we are going to Tomorrowland. It was my third year and it feels like home now because of the people at the festival. So, I was really looking forward to going there.
Zaeden – I was there three years back with Borgeous playing the V-sessions stage, it was such a special moment for me. This time, I was there with my girlfriend, our manager Aayushman and our friends. It was super fun!
Prayag – It’s always exciting to be at Tomorrowland. This time it was extra special for us because we were playing on the Freedom stage curated by Tiesto.
How did Lost Stories x Zaeden end up on Tiesto’s Musical Freedom stage?
Zaeden – I remember Rishabh saying, “Aayushman got in touch with Budweiser and they conspired to get us there!”
Rishabh – Haha! I guess, Tiesto had a slot for three Indians to play there and it ended up being us!
Honestly, we went to Tomorrowland as a part of the Budweiser campaign. They had a really big stage out there called the Freedom stage and every day it was occupied by one or the other major label. On the first day, when we were performing, it was hosted by Tiesto’s label, Musical Freedom.
Prayag – It was one of those things that just worked out! We don’t exactly know how it happened but it just did!
How did Lost Stories x Zaeden become a B2B (back-to-back) act?
Zaeden – I think it started two or three years ago. We were booked by a club together and we played a B2B set due to time constraints. We just hit it off from then!
Rishabh – We’ve been friends for years now and whenever we used to go for each other’s shows, we used to be like “I am playing the same kind of music.” We thought it’s better to combine the acts together because Sahil has a massive following. It’s a riot when we perform together as all our fans turn up at the shows and it’s a crazy party with that kind of energy.
How did Lost Stories get in touch with Zaeden?
Zaeden – I actually never thought of playing with them since they never replied to my messages on Facebook! I remember watching them live at an Indian music festival and they were playing Marcel Woods’ “The Bottle.” I’ve been a Lost Stories fan ever since.
Prayag – I remember, I got to know about you when you got signed to Spinnin’ and music published by Music All Stars.
Zaeden – Yeah, that’s when I got in touch with Prayag but Rishabh and I have been friends for a long time.
What’s the difference between your solo sets as compared to your B2B sets?
Zaeden – Realistically, it is pretty similar. Our musical tastes are alike when it comes to playing live sets.
Rishabh – When you have someone to play with, it is a different experience altogether. It becomes like a competition for us. He discovers lots of new music every week and so do we, which leads to – “Oh, I’ve got a harder drop than you have.” This is why it’s so much fun with him!
Prayag – It also depends on the chemistry with the other artist in my opinion. If you put us with some other DJ, I am not sure if the equation will remain the same.
During your Tomorrowland set, you both unveiled “Uncomplicated.” Why is it such a special release for all three of you? Tell us about the thought behind this track.
Rishabh – As we mentioned before, we were friends for a long time and we always admired each other’s musical taste. We knew if we work on a track together, it would sound killer. However, we never got a chance to do that until now.
Zaeden – Before “Uncomplicated” we did work on a song but it never got signed.
Rishabh – When we got into the studio to make “Uncomplicated,” it was such an organic process. We started with a guitar riff and within four-to-five hours we had almost the whole track ready. Usually, we test out the track by doing something completely different after the studio time, so all of us went for Italian dinner and we tried to remember the melody of the song and it was in our heads. So, we knew this will be super catchy!
Prayag – This track is different from all our other projects because mostly we go back and do a couple of revisions until we get the quality as well as the sound right. However, “Uncomplicated” is so raw, if you compare the finished version to the first recording, it is pretty much the same.
Zaeden – I remember playing “Uncomplicated” in the car for my friends in the middle of a lot of other songs without telling them it’s mine and one of them asked, “What track is that?” I told them it’s my song with Lost Stories. At that moment, I realized it’s going to be big. That’s why it’s such a special project for me.
Why is the track titled “Uncomplicated”?
Zaeden – Simply because it is uncomplicated!
Rishabh – It has a lyrical meaning to it. When we were writing it, we wanted it to sound anthemic but we wanted the vocals to be pop so we can crossover to both kinds of audience, the ones who listen to big room EDM and people who listen to pop stuff.
“Uncomplicated” is an independent release and these days everyone is talking about independent tracks as well as artists. What’s your take on these terms and their connotations?
Rishabh – In the most technical terms, an independent artist is someone who isn’t signed to a label. All three of us are signed to big labels but this particular release is independent. By that we mean, we have full control over where the track goes. So, if anything goes wrong with it, we are the ones to blame. With “Uncomplicated,” we were involved with each and every thing including the music video and artwork apart from the technical stuff. A lot of things that we miss out on when we do a major label release, we had an opportunity to do it here.
Prayag – I think it’s really important these days to put your music out on time rather than going to a big label. Being independent enables you to push it the way you want and it’s one of the primary reasons we decided to take this route.
The day we announced we’re working on a track with Zaeden, we thought we should be putting out this track in about three months. If it was on a label, I don’t think it would’ve been possible.
Who is singing the vocals on “Uncomplicated?”
Rishabh – There’s this guy, Matthew Steeper who sang Saavn’s Artist Originals track “Faking It.”
Zaeden also released his first vocal track covering Lauv’s “I Like Me Better.” Can we expect more singles with his voice on them?
Zaeden – I am making a Hindi song right now and I have a vocal EP coming up, which should probably be out next year.
When are Lost Stories dropping the next edition of Bombay Electric EP?
Rishabh – We have already started working on the sequel. The first EP was purely made for fans with no promotional plans or anything whatsoever and it just picked up organically. With the second EP, we would like to take it to the next level. All I can tell you is, it’s going to be a Bombay crime-themed EP where we’ll sample lots of stuff from the 70s like we did for the first EP.
Prayag – Whatever we have under the Bombay Electric brand is different from what we usually put out. Since the record labels have control to a certain extent over our creative process, this is completely free from all those terms and conditions.
Rishabh – Moreover, it is not just a music project, it’s an art project as well. For the last EP, we had Priyesh who hand-painted the artwork!
What do you think of the current state of dance music in India?
Prayag – In the last three years, dance music has evolved in a very different way. This year has been dry not only for us but the overall scene too. If you see the number of shows that have happened in India in the last few months, they have drastically gone down.
Rishabh – I think we ourselves dived into our saturation, as the last three years were so hectic. You’d see a DJ Mag 20 artist almost every week and I think people have had enough. Everyone is just taking shots in the dark now.
Prayag – We haven’t heard of any artist doing something different as such. Maybe 2019 could be a little interesting, due to the Swedish House Mafia reunion! Yet, it is never confirmed if they’d go back to progressive house in the original form.
Zaeden – I heard their set from Ultra Music Festival and they played a lot of trap and bass, so even I am not sure if they’ll 100% stick to their original style in the current scene.
What’s next for Lost Stories x Zaeden?
Zaeden – I guess that’s complicated! Maybe we can sit in the studio and make something new.
Rishabh – I believe, the most exciting thing is that we don’t know what’s going to happen! There’s no compulsion at our end to produce another track. The process is so organic, I guess, that’s the best part about it.
Prayag – We will be playing at a lot of shows next year and I’m sure something cool would definitely come up.
Show some love to Lost Stories x Zaeden and stream “Uncomplicated” on Saavn!