(August 31, 2021) “If you work hard enough and you love the art just to be able to emote yourself creatively and have that honest relationship, then everything else that happens beside music is a bonus.” These words of Nucleya stand true as he dropped the first lot of NFT on WazirX, thus becoming one of the first Indian artistes to auction digital tokens.
The 41-year-old, who goes by the moniker King of Indian EDM scene, is pulling off a big one with his entry into the world of NFT (Non Fungible Transfer) with his music and artwork.
But it hasn’t been an easy journey for someone who began making music in his bedroom and later rose to the ranks of the EDM phenomenon in India. Here’s the journey of the artiste who is making the right noise with his music globally.
Love for mixing that led to Bandish Projeckt
Born as Udyan Sagar in Agra, Nucleya moved to Ahmedabad with his family at the age of 3. Growing up Nucleya found music playing in his house through hundreds of cassettes that were his father’s treasure trove. The beats and lyrics enchanted Nucleya, but it wasn’t until he was in his teens that he actually decided to make some music of his own. It started when his father gifted him his first computer and the same year he met Mayur Narvekar, with whom he eventually started Bandish Projeckt. Initially, it was just two teenaged boys trying their hands at mixing music and learning the intricacies of it all.
For months, Navrekar and he sat together in a room to create EDM. Till then, their music was just for them and for their friends. However, things changed when they met an artiste manager, Mehir Nath Chopra, from Mumbai who had recently returned to Ahmedabad. It was at his gig that Nucleya and Navrekar got their first chance to play for a crowd. Chopra was so blown away by the act presented by the two teens that he decided to collaborate with them, and that was the beginning of Bandish Projeckt.
It was Indian Electronic Music that Bandish Projeckt aced in. But with no night life in Ahmedabad back in the day, the band decided to throw its own parties where they could play the music. Their music found the perfect audience in the students of National Institute of Design and IIM who danced to their beats till the wee hours.
The sudden downfall
Soon, Bandish Projeckt started doing gigs in Delhi and Mumbai, and later shifted base to Dubai. The international exposure took them to London for a three month project, however, things started to sour between Nucleya and Navrekar, and the two decided to part ways.
From being one of the best bands in India to returning to square one, Nucleya hit a low note in his life. With a financial crisis in the family and not much work on the plate, things started to get uncomfortable. “My life was at a complete full stop. I didn’t think things would ever get back to normal,” says Nucleya in Ride to the Roots documentary. Such was the disappointment that he almost decided to give up on his music. That is when his wife Smriti stepped in and asked him to take a break and look for inspiration.
Rising from the ashes like a phoenix
Nucleya took to the streets of India in search of the sounds that could help him rebuild his career. Be it horror films, band baaja or fireworks, Nucleya grasped at every sound – it was Indian street music that finally became his beat. The tempo started to soar and Only Much Louder (OML) took him in and repackaged him as Nucleya. His first EP Koocha Monster was launched at a Ganesh Chaturthi procession and another at a stadium with 10,000 fans, making it the country’s largest sellout by an indie act.
In a conversation with FirstPost, he said,
“I consider my music to be Indian street music, but just produced electronically and I think launching my first full album there [during visarjan] really represented it in the best possible light. Looking back, it’s a little hard to believe that it actually happened and that it happened at the scale that it did. It was just a crazy idea we had and seeing it come to fruition and having the impact it did is very rewarding.”
With songs like Bass Rani, Laung Gwacha, Mumbai Dance, Nucleya became the biggest EDM phenomenon in India that the youth connected with. From performing live in front of large audiences in the UK and Mexico to opening for David Guetta‘s Goa Sunburn Festival to headlining NH7 Weekender in Pune, Nucleya cracked the code and how. If he has Global Indian Music Award for Best Electronic Single to his credit, he also has spread his wings to Bollywood with Let’s Naacho from Kapoor & Sons and Paintra from Mukkabaaz. The music composer has become a name to reckon with in the independent music circuit, and his popularity is soaring with each passing day.
His international collaborations with American EDM band Krewella and music DJ trio Major Lazer have put his music on the international map.
Carving his space in India’s growing NFT market
And now Nucleya has jumped onto the bandwagon of digital assets. In what could be called India’s largest NFT drop on Wazir X (a crypto exchange that recently launched an NFT marketplace), the music artiste has collaborated with Ritviz for the first time for their latest album Baraat, making them the first Indian creators to auction digital tokens. The 60 NFTs released between August 15 and October 3 are a mix of iconic photographs, artworks, personal artifacts and limited edition art pieces.
“The way music is consumed has changed so much over the years and it’s imperative for us as artistes to stay ahead of the curve by developing new and exciting ways for us to engage with our audiences. NFTs are a disruptive way for artistes to put themselves out there and build on relationships with their fans, and how artists use this new medium will definitely be exciting to watch,” said Nucleya.
From a musician who rose like a phoenix from the ashes to building a brand name to being one of the first Indian artistes to dip his toes into digital assets, Nucleya has come a long way in the journey and is an inspiration for millions of people.