Shivani Sehgal is a talented force within the indie music community, drawing inspiration for her audio creations from her life, industry idols, and her experience as a studio manager.
Creativity Undefined spoke with Shivani about her journey, her dream collaboration, and what could be done to further support the indie community.
Was there a specific moment in your life that triggered your musical journey? If yes, what was it? If no, then how did it begin?
Yes. I think it came about when I sat down after I graduated from high school and thought to myself, “I don’t want to just appreciate music, I want to learn how to make it, to learn the technical aspects of a whole song production and be the artist, as well.”
What shifted your interest to focus on electronic music?
Growing up, I’ve had a lot of different phases in music. I’ve listened to everything from pop, hip-hop, country, jazz, heavy metal, techno, etc. But, somehow, I was really glued to the art of creating a sound from scratch by using synthesizers and I think this is how my interest for electronic music sparked.
What’s the biggest challenge that you’ve faced so far and how did you overcome it?
These days, social media plays a huge role in the media industry, and I found that to be extremely intimidating because I knew that if I have to somehow grow and reach out to a bigger audience out there, I will have to just suck it up and start a page for my music. And so, I did. I’m still learning the process as I grow but, I’m glad that I took this step, and I can’t wait to see what comes out of it.
Where do you draw your inspiration from? Has that changed since the pandemic hit? Why?
I listen to a lot of new music, especially underground artists. When I initially started producing, I came about an artist called “Bonjr” and this is when I was really inspired. His music is very ambient and just sounds “full”, which I loved. Although my music style is quite different from his, he was definitely the reason I started producing. This hasn’t changed since the pandemic.
What shifts have you observed from musical creatives, including yourself? Do you think these will last once we return to “normal life”? Why?
I think since the pandemic hit, more artists and musicians are trying to just make it using social media, including myself. Tiktok is a big deal now and it’s grown even more since. I do feel like this will last because, social media definitely gives more and more creatives out there a chance to be heard.
What’s the inspiration behind your artistic name INVS?
I had been struggling to find an artist name that “stuck” but, I just kept getting nulls. Until one day I had a chat with a friend of mine and he started randomly typing words that made sense with my music into google translate to see if there was a word in another language that worked. That’s when he came about “invees” which means “In dream”, in Romanian. Somehow, this seemed to work with my music, and I just made it my own. Hence, the name INVS. Also has the letters of my name so, it works!
What equipment do you use to create your music? Is there a new piece of equipment that you’d like to use? Which one? Why?
I use Ableton Live as my DAW. I also recently invested in a real hardware synth, the Korg Minilogue XD and I absolutely love working with it. In the future when I can afford it, I’d really like to buy the OP-1 by Teenage Engineering. I’m obsessed with the way it sounds and it’s got an amazing user interface with so many possibilities in one tiny machine.
What’s your favourite work that you’ve created so far?
When I was studying at a college in Canada, I produced a single called “Shimmer” with one of my classmates. She wrote the lyrics, and I produced the whole thing. So far, that has to be one of my favourites because it’s definitely the song that has highlighted my style. But hey! I’ve got a new track coming very soon that might just beat this one!
How would you describe your musical style? Why?
To be really honest, I still haven’t wrapped my head around what exactly my genre is. But, if I have to put a name to it, I’d say it’s very textural and ambient/downtempo. I wouldn’t consider it dance music however, you can definitely do a little bob to almost every track of mine. I really like the sounds of multiple percussions playing together and I make it a point to involve sounds like those in all my tracks.
How long does it take to create a track? Can you walk us through your process?
To produce a track from start to finish, with the mixing and mastering of It and if I’m constantly working on it for at least an hour everyday, it would take me a maximum of two weeks. However, with work schedules and just “adulting” in general, it would take about 1 month to finish a track. This is mostly because, at times ideas come rushing to you in a flow but other times, it takes quite a while develop ideas that actually work with you’re trying to aim for.
Is there any specific artist or anyone that you’d love to work with? Who? Why?
Well, I’m super inspired by Bonobo, a UK based producer who also produces a lot of Downtempo, percussive music. I’ve seen him perform live and I would absolutely love to work with him. The kinds of sounds he uses and the instrumentation is just beautiful which inspires me to write new ideas for my own music.
Looking back on your journey so far, what advice would you share with anyone starting out that you wished someone had told you?
Just share your music no matter what anyone tells you. My music is very niche and underground, a lot of people don’t actually get it but, I’ve surfed the net and believe me, there is some crazy, weird music out there that people listen to, RELIGIOUSLY. And those artists have got plenty of fans! So, just put your stuff out there because there WILL be someone who is going to dig it!
Is there a stereotype or misconception about electronic music or electronic artists? What is it/are they? Why?
For some reason, people always think electronic music isn’t “difficult” to make or doesn’t take a lot of effort compared to making music with real instruments. The most common thing I’ve heard from people is “oh, you just need to press some buttons and that’s it, yeah?” Not really. Yes, it’s a lot easier than recording real instruments but, I think people need to understand that a synthesizer, for example, is also an instrument and building a sound takes a lot of time and definitely a lot of skill.
You’re also a manager at MangoJam Studios in Dubai. How has the experience been so far? What’s the most interesting thing you’ve experienced or observed?
Working at MangoJam has introduced me to the commercial/advertising side of music that I’ve never seen before. I really appreciate the work we do and the effort my colleagues/sound engineers put into the music we make. I would say sometimes, with tight deadlines, it can be quite stressful however, we get the job done and we do it well. I enjoy working there and I’ve definitely learned a lot of new things, even non-music related, which I never imagined I’d ever do!
How does working in a studio balance or impact your work as a creative artist? Why?
Because I work at a studio, I keep hearing new sounds almost everyday. Either from the music that my colleagues produce or just through some client work that we’ve seen. This gives me a lot of ideas that I could implement in my own music. Also since we’ve got professional audio equipment, the studios are always open to me for my own personal work so, if there’s something I can’t do at home, I can always go back to work and get it done there.
Do you think there’s enough support for the indie music community as a whole? What can be done to support it further once the pandemic’s over?
There’s definitely some support out there however, I still feel like there’s not enough in this part of the world. I really think artists who are just starting out, no matter what music genre, should always be given a chance. This could either be by spreading the word about them (which REALLY helps) through social media or even letting them play a gig at a well known venue or simply just playing their songs at places you know people will listen. There are plenty of people who randomly come across artists just by using Shazam in a public place. I know I have!
Are you currently working on any project(s)? Can you share some additional information about it/them?
I’m currently working on two new singles, of which one I plan on releasing in the coming month. It’s going to be called “reach out for me”. I’m a huge fan of this track for some reason, I think it’s quite different from the usual stuff I make so, I’m really excited for people to hear it.
What’s a goal that you hope to achieve, personally and professionally, in the next five years?
I hope to have my artist goals fully set out in the next five years, to just know that where I’m at, is exactly where I’ve always wanted to be. It’ll be really cool to have a fan base that genuinely enjoy my music and relate to it just the way I do. I also hope to be touring places and performing very soon!