Karthik Poduval is a London-born, Indian-British DJ and producer, best known as a founding member of the acclaimed tropical psychedelic band Flamingods. Poduval’s latest solo project Mera Bhai, which derives its name from the affection Hindi greeting “my brother,” is informed by his own personal experiences: he’s spent time living in Italy, Albania, Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Nigeria — and naturally that experience has seeped into his own globe-spanning, border-crossing, genre-defying take on dance music, which incorporates elements of Indian Carnatic, Arabic Rai, 70s disco, Acid House, Detroit techno and Tropicalia. “Having grown up all over the world, I was surrounded by a wealth of different sounds — i’m just trying to weave the cultural through line that I hear in music.”
Earlier this year, I wrote about Poduval’s Mera Bhai debut, a bootle remix of Ahmed Fakroun‘s “Jama El F’na,” which retained the shimming instrumentation of the original and Fakroun’s vocals but sped the tempo up quite a bit, to give the song a decided Tour de France-era Kraftwerk/Primal Scream/Kasabian-like feel to the proceedings: layers of synth arpeggios, tweeter and woofer rocking boom bap and industrial clang and clatter. Both the original and its remix are club bangers — but the remix manages to sound as though it could have been released in 1992, 2002, 2020 or 2032.
Poduval’s latest Mera Bhai single “Mañana Groove,” a summery club banger, centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, hot hi hats, stuttering tweeter and woofer rocking beats and vocodered vocals within an expansive mind-bending song structure. Sonically, it’s one part Kraftwerk, one part Primal Scream and one part deep house. And its core is a carefree, let’s worry about it all tomorrow vibe, which feels so very appropriate right now. While continuing upon his growing reputation for synthesizing a wide variety of sounds, “Mañana Groove” is inspired by Todd Terje‘s “Inspector Norse” and features a samples from a Mr. Bongo Records reissue of Cissé Abdoulaye’s “A Son Magni.” “I wanted to take this tune that’s already in my DJ record bag to another dimension,” Poduval says. “It also gives a nod to one of my favourite anthems ‘Pacific State’ by 808 State, which frames summertime feels for me.
“I wrote this track during a pretty tumultuous time of my life where I was grieving recently lost family members and coming to terms with fraught relationships,” Poudval recalls. “I escaped to India for a few months by myself and set up my studio there, and this was one of the first tracks that I wrote.”
Having started on the path to total sobriety, he continues: “I really needed to feel the carefreeness that comes with being in a club/festival environment and wanted to know that I wouldn’t be excluded from feeling that by being sober. I also felt the need to free myself from what I was going through and transmute my challenging experiences into something positive and happy, and that I could share.”
Adds Poduval, “it’s a sun-soaked anthem to blast out the windows as you cruise out of town. It’s a careless, ‘I’ll do it mañana’ answer to life’s responsibilities, a getaway tune, here to take us out of lockdown into sunnier times ahead.”
Directed by Niall Trask, the recently released video for “Mañana Groove” is an appropriately kaleidoscopic and hallucinogenic VHS taped fever dream that follows a our protagonist as he plays a racing game and rocks out to an album on his record player.
Mera Bhai’s debut EP Futureproofing is slated for an October 9, 2020 release through Moshi Moshi Records.