This Madurai boy is shaking up the techno pop game with his customisable pocket synthesisers


Synthesisers most likely did as a lot to revolutionise music in the ‘70s and ‘80s as The Beatles did in the ‘60s. Just a thing with knobs and buttons is, perhaps, the simplest way to describe this analogue marvel responsible for producing an entirely new genre of music called synth-pop, and which produced musicians like the immortal David Bowie to present-day sensations like Lady Gaga and Dua Lipa. For an anecdote closer home and more mainstream: if you have ever enjoyed listening to the once-immensely popular and addictive song ‘Evandi Unna Pethan’ composed by Yuvan Shankar Raja, you may thank a synthesiser for it.

Now, synthesisers are available all sizes and styles, however they are going to price you a bomb.

It is a difficulty, particularly, if you’re a budding musician composing from the confines of your bed room and working below a funds. Naturally, the query of what could be performed to make music accessible pops up. It did for Rohith G as properly, and now the 23-year-old is at work, crafting customisable items of analogue pocket synthesisers from his residence in Kalavasal, Madurai, which he sells for a fraction of the market worth.

“There are a lot of bedroom producers [in Madurai] who make amazing music. It is just that they are not in the spotlight, but a few of them are trying to break into the mainstream,” says Rohith, over cellphone from Madurai.

The DJ-turned-music producer, who is completely happy to explain himself a “polymath”, says constructing synthesisers began as “a hobby”. The curiosity kicked in when, as a scholar at the University of California in Los Angeles, Rohith needed to purchase a controller machine referred to as the Midi Fighter.

“It was selling for ₹25,000-30,000, and with the customs levied on bespoke controllers, the cost could have gone up to ₹40,000 or more. I didn’t buy it then. After I returned to Madurai and got into making music, I saw these amazing buttons (used in MIDI controllers) on Amazon and thought I should give them a try. I jumped into this blind,” he laughs.

Affordable music

During lockdown, he accomplished his first MIDI controller, and named it Bombs. The parts are see-through as he makes use of strengthened acrylic glass for a case. Around the identical time, he additionally designed the pocket synthesiser that he named Little Boy (after the Hiroshima bomb). “It works on the principle of granular synthesis. It is basically two oscillators with two cut-off knobs and a central knob to alter the frequency of the sound. It makes interesting, pure sounds; especially the 808 beats,” he says, referring to the beats produced by Roland’s iconic synth machine TR-808 with out which hip hop or entice music from the ‘80s and ‘90s couldn’t have been the identical.

‘Little Boy’ pocket synthesiser made by Rohith G

Rohith sells his merchandise in the ₹2,500 to ₹3,500 bracket, relying on customisation requests; customising choices on each merchandise embrace including LED lamps, engraving your title on the case, a alternative of two tone or colored instances. More importantly, his merchandise come with a ‘Made in Madurai’ imprint. “I had to represent the city somehow.”

Rohith’s causes that hailing from the temple metropolis did him no favours whereas pursuing a DJ profession in India; he claims to have been appeared down upon. “I have done DJ work in many private parties and events in cities like Los Angeles, Paris, and the Maldives, but being from Madurai seems like a turn-off for gatekeepers here,” says Rohith, including that Madurai has “everything one needs to be a creator” however merely lacks organisation.

One of the few individuals from Madurai who brazenly proclaims to hate the metropolis’s iconic parotta, Rohith has already began work on his subsequent product. He is creating a “motion-based synthesiser”, based mostly on the Theremin. “An artiste put forward this request, so I’m building one for him to make custom sounds,” he says. While the market worth for a Theremin machine is upwards of ₹30,000, Rohith’s machine is priced at ₹7,000. “I’ll also probably try making a Theremin with a touch screen next,” he provides.

Rohith G could be reached at Instagram deal with @rohith_rg.

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