We had the good fortune of connecting with Bak’n’4th Shyam & Erwin and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Shyam & Erwin, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
We grew up surrounded by music, both in spiritual congregations and in our homes. We had parents who filled a lot of our home life with rich varieties of music, and put us through different music lessons so that we were also very hands on with instruments. So, there’s been something almost natural or inevitable about music being the avenue through which we’ve pursued our careers.

There have also been serendipitous moments along the way that guided us to this path. Like meeting each other and finding a shared love and language for creativity. Like stumbling onto opportunities over the years to be parts of ensembles in school, or getting to work with recording technology and equipment for live shows. The experiences of working in teams, collaborating with other musicians and artists, and learning about the technology available has led to us pursuing careers as music producers.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
We’re islanders and immigrants who grew up on everything from the music of film, temples, radio, festivals, symphonies and classical India (again, thanks Moms and Dads!), Our music connects us to where we’re from. It’s rich and diverse in cultural influences, and you can hear it in the uniquely layered melodies and percussion in each of our pieces. We’re also very un-static, always looking to evolve, and so almost every piece of our music starts somewhere and ends somewhere else entirely.

Getting to where we are today has been a constant process of intentionally growing and learning more every step of the way, but always also being very honest with ourselves about what we’ve yet to learn at the same time. We were (and are) musicians before we came together to become producers, and between the two of us, we have a couple of dozen instruments in our repertoire. So, there has always been a lot to learn on the side of sound design, audio engineering, and the music business. And there’s still plenty more to go.

Especially being a duo, we’ve also come a long way in learning how to communicate the good, the bad and the ugly with each other. We disagree all the time, but we’ve discovered how music thrives in a space of honesty and openness, so learning to meet each other in our ever-changing moods, challenges and victories has been essential.

Whether it’s finding the best intersections of Indian classical vocals and heavy dance, or hip hop grooves with African drums, we want to be known for the ways that we bridge cultural worlds, while always paying respect and homage to the parts of the world that these influences come from. There is an incredible diversity of music and sound in the world, and so much of it is waiting to be heard.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If they came to Vancouver and the surrounding area (or really any part of the West Coast of Canada), it would be for the fresh air and the food.

We’d take them to the beautiful water of Alouette Lake, or on a hike to the amazing views of the Othello Tunnels, and then to Saravanaa Bhavan for one of the best South Indian vegetarian buffets on this side of the 49th Parallel.

We’d also take them on a ferry ride to Victoria, on Vancouver Island, to its many gorgeous lakes, rivers, beaches, and mountains, and then to Cafe Mexico for some of the greatest chimichangas ever made.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Where to start. Our parents have made most of this possible, through their own musical influences on us, but also their love and support every single day (part of which has involved putting up with music banging through every conceivable time of the day).

Our close circle of friends who have been there from day one, pushing us, believing in us (even when we didn’t), and critiquing us when we needed it.

The incredible cast of singers and musicians we’ve worked with along the way and have helped us grow! There are so many to name <3

We also recently had the pleasure of working with the EmTee Music Group out in Toronto, and they’ve been indispensable guides in our path ever since.

Website: linktr.ee/bakn4th

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bakn4th/?hl=en

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bakn4th/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJ8bRffP3JTUnI7sH6UdKFw

Other: https://open.spotify.com/artist/72uSqoL4o0VaEC413TzmWI

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutDFW is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.