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‘Celebrating different cultures’

Rawdolff, Tara McDonald and Rishi Rich on their ‘lockdown baby’ — the current dance earworm, Outta My Head (Beats of India Remix)
(Left to right) Tara McDonald, Rishi Rich and Rawdolff have made a remake of the Kylie Minogue song, as a Beats of India remix

Urvashi Bhattacharya   |   Published 16.07.21, 01:32 AM

Since 2001, Kylie Minogue’s Can’t Get You Out Of My Head has been playing non-stop across devices. Though many remixes of the song has been done, the latest by Rawdolff (France), Tara McDonald (UK) and Rishi Rich (from the UK but based in India) has a different vibe to it. With Tara’s whispering voice singing over Rawdolff’s melodic yet ambient production made sense for Rishi Rich to bring in some energy with his Indian beats and percussions. Outta My Head (Beats of India Remix) was launched by Sunil D’sa of 9122 Records on June 18. After the trio finished their chat with 91.9 Friends FM, they got on a videoconference call with The Telegraph. Let’s hear it from them.

So, why Can’t Get You Outta My Head?

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Rawdolff: We wanted to have some strong vocals and when I was searching websites, I ‘found’ the Kylie Minogue vocal and I started thinking about who could be the best artiste to sing this kind of music. The answer was right there, Tara McDonald (laughs). This is how we started and then Rishi Rich came in and made Beats of India. The two verses are completely different.

How did it come together and what were your individual roles?

Rishi Rich: Rawdolff and Tara had done the original single (her version), which was amazing, and Sunil (D’sa of 9122 records), who put the original version out, told me that this is what they’ve put out and if I would like to do a remix version. I was in. I didn’t play around with the structure too much; I simply added my own… what I do is that pop, Indian, hip-hop, R&B mix and put it in one pot.

Tara McDonald: Rawdolff had sent our manager this track and I simply said that I really wanted to sing this. And one of my lockdown projects was making a recording studio at home, so I could keep myself busy. I wanted to just do a vocal on it and see if he likes it… just change the structure a bit with the way the vocal flowed. Because the production that Rawdolff had done was really fresh… I didn’t know if he wanted me to be on it, so it was a bit of a surprise to send this track to him (laughs). Luckily, he loved it because I recorded my own vocals and normally I am used to working with a team of people. So for me it was like learning a new set of skills. Then Sunil D’sa thought Rishi Rich would be the best person to come in and he was available because of the lockdown (laughs). This project is a lockdown baby because we artistes got lots of free time.

Rishi, when you heard about this collaboration, what were you thinking?

Rishi: I was really excited because I didn’t know what I was going to do. What kind of fusion or Indian elements do I add? Is it the groove, is it instruments or vocals? I actually ended up adding quite a lot but with hints of it... and the groove... it’s very Indian but it’s percussive. As soon as that groove hits, you can’t help but move and I was thinking more from a DJs point of view. When people do remixes they tend to do too much and I didn’t want to oversaturate it.

Speaking of oversaturated mixes, many artistes don’t always support fusion tracks. So were you also thinking from the audience perspective?

Rawdolff: Yes, what Rishi brings in is very special. Music is about feelings, at times it works and at times, it doesn’t. People will feel the vibe and energy on the track, and the verses are linked well because of Rishi.

Tara: I never really worry about what people are going to think of the record. As Rishi said, that when you’re making a song, you may be selective of what you use and this was made with a lot of time and love. I don’t worry because if you have that mindset, you can never move ahead. Am I proud? Do I like every single section? I’ve never made a track with Indian influences and something that works so well on a dance floor. Maybe for people in India… they may see it as a fusion record but for me it is something completely fresh.

Do you think you’ve pushed your boundaries collectively with this track?

Rishi: Yes, I think the beauty about this record is that we’re all in different parts of the world and it’s said that music does not have a language… it works, it works.  We work in the music industry but we have never met.

Tara: Yet (laughs)!

Rishi: We connected through music and that is the beauty of it. It feels like a journey; we are a team and we’ve worked on this. And this just shows that you can make music that’s a blend of different genres. It’s a proud thing to see that you can have a pop record and also have your culture on it. It’s just about putting different cultures together.

Tara: And it’s also about celebrating each culture. The weird thing about how we worked on this is that Rawdolff made the track in France, in his studio. I got the track and secretly recorded the vocals and did my own thing in my own world. Rishi has done the remix on his own. But when you bring all our elements together, it not only works seamlessly but we’re also celebrating the different cultures we represent, which brings a feeling of equality and it’s nice that the Asian side of the track is so strong, which works with the Euro, pop, trance-y vibe.

Rawdolff: It’s like a melting pot.

How do you think you have represented your cultures in the song?

Tara: I’m a bit of a UK blend; I’m English, Irish and Scottish. I didn’t necessarily go into it thinking about my culture as such but I tried to experiment with more of an ethereal vocal, normally I sing more gospel-y. This is more of a “white pop vocal”. In that way, it was also a kind of experiment for me… I normally sing much deeper, more soulful. This is a much thinner vocal; I’m whispering a lot on the track. It’s also a very folk-y and a natural style of vocal.

Rawdolff: I am a guy who loves many styles of music. When I was younger, I used to listen to cool hip-hop gangster stuff, then I started to DJ, I discovered house music from the UK. For a long time it was a big problem for me as a producer because I loved too many styles and I didn’t know which one to choose. Now it’s my strength, my energy. I love it when it’s groovy, sexy; I love it when you can pump your shoulders. And this track is a perfect example of it.

Rishi: The Indian culture is quite prominent. I am from the UK, I can say the vibe is very multicultural. Even though I am in India, the remix is a very British-Asian remix.



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