Indo Warehouse Brings their South Asian Roots to the Rave

Jun 26, 2023

Alexander Dias & Katie Knight

6 min read

Founded in 2022, Indo Warehouse is a New York collective, events series, and record label that authentically merges the expanse of South Asian culture with electronic music. Their diverse yet decidedly melodic sound, dubbed “Indo House,” draws from the founders’ diverse cultural roots. Kahani, aka Armaan Gupta and Kunal Merchant are lauded by Mixmag and Rolling Stone for their music and events where traditional dance music motifs intermingle with percussion, vocals, and textures of a diverse region.

Within a year of founding, they catapulted themselves from an intimate 200-person gathering to a massive multi-thousand-dancer takeover at New York’s premiere venue, Avant Gardner. After nine initial releases from their newly formed label, they closed 2022 with the Year One compilationAs dance music continues to rise beyond the underground, they want their music to encompass an audience that reflects the genre’s global reach.

As the collective embarks on a summer tour that will take them to Montreal, Washington DC, Portland, San Francisco, Toronto, Seattle, Vancouver, and New York’s Brooklyn Mirage, we caught up with Indo Wareouse’s founders to chat about discovering their sound, their future plans, and what it means to take their experience series into new locales.

Hey guys! Thanks for joining us today. You have recently announced your first North America Tour with shows in Montreal, Washington, Portland, San Francisco, NYC, and more. What are your intentions going into this tour?

Since we launched our label and experiential series in February 2022, we’ve only performed in New York. As the shows grew in size, we started to receive DMs and emails from people in other cities asking when we’d be bringing Indo Warehouse to their respective city. So naturally, setting up our first tour became a big focus for us this year. In May, we played our first show outside of NYC in Los Angeles at Sound. The response from that show was incredible. We sold it out, and so many amazing people in the room were familiar with our music! We’re really excited to visit more cities and start to build a community beyond NYC.

When has Indo Warehouse started, and who are the core members of the collective?

We launched in February 2022. The label is led by Kahani and Kunal Merchant, and artists including Ethyr, AREUBLUE, Payal Jay, and Anvaya are core members of our growing collective.

You pride yourself on your South Asian Roots. Can you tell us more about your background and how important is it to your brand?

We’re both from India, but our label is focused on authentically integrating music, instruments, and culture from the entire South Asian subcontinent, which also includes Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, and the Maldives. We believe there is a very special connection between our cultures’ deep roots in music, dance, and rhythm with the sound, energy, and communities you find in house and techno music.

Your showcase at the Brooklyn Mirage is considered to be one of the more anticipated events of the tour. What can people expect from this event?

It’s a dream come true to perform in one of the most iconic dance music establishments in the world! We’re going to do our best to bring our dreams to life with the experience we create on August 6 at the Mirage.

We’re developing a day-to-evening experience which will include a diverse lineup of DJ sets that incorporate dance and live performances. We’re also planning to utilize the Mirage screen in a way that you don’t often find when you see it used by other artists. You’ll be transported into another place once you step foot inside the Mirage on August 6!

The unique sound of Indo Warehouse is a tasteful mixture of contemporary dance music and ethnic/world sounds. What has been your experience running the label, and what are you aiming to achieve with this project?

We’re in the early stages of defining our sound, which is really exciting. For years, we’ve been imagining how to incorporate our culture authentically with dance music, and now we get to bring that to life. We have several releases ready to go very soon, and then some big news for later this year. We’re very excited to share how this sound will evolve as our journey continues.

What are some new releases you have planned for this year?

We have new releases upcoming from Kahani, Kunal Merchant, Ethyr, and AREUBLUE, all who have previously released on our label. We’re excited to see Payal Jay expand her sound as one of our collective’s vocal artists. And we’re very excited to welcome new additions from Anvaya, Harji Singh, and several others. You can expect a large volume of releases from Indo Warehouse in the second half of this year.

Can you mention some artists or live acts that have recently caught your attention?

We’re constantly inspired by established and emerging artists. We also love seeing fellow South Asians thriving in the dance/electronic space! Watching Jyoty’s ascension has been incredible. We’re excited by the sound that Anish Kumar and Ahadadream are crafting, respectfully. We’re loving Baalti’s energetic use of live instrumentation and electronic production, while they artfully bring in South Asian elements. We just witnessed Four Tet’s live performance, which was wild! And we’re excited by artists who don’t necessarily sit in the electronic space (solely) but who we’d love to collaborate with, including Sid Sriram and Talvin Singh.

How do you define success? Is it about the numbers, or is there more to it?

We’re focused on executing our vision. We are very proud of the platform we’re building, but also believe we have a great responsibility to ensure we create something that is sustainable and that anchors on community. It’s a great challenge, but we are up for it!

Last but not least, what message do you wish to spread to the world?

Indo Warehouse is designed to bring our culture to life. If we are able to visit you, please come experience our sound! If we’re not visiting your city yet, please let us know where you are! We’ll find you. This is a special time for us, and we’re looking forward to enjoying the journey.

Follow Indo Warehouse on Instagram

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