What dub and electronic music and violins have in common is that they have a neglected sensual side (more about it can be read in my Examiner article here), most of it due to the attention of its technicality. Think: most people focus on the arrangement and production of dub so much, the lines in-between, connotations, and cultural background - heck, even the cries within these sounds (if you listen carefully) - are all pushed aside. There is something like a cry or yearn or desire that a violin and other sounds within dub and electronic music makes, but it's a sound that goes unheard.
Enters Govinda - a violinist and dubstep/electronic music artist. Rarely do you see someone successfully integrate two musical paths that require much-needed attention, unless you already eff with Govinda. He makes the violin and electronic music sexy from an exotic standpoint, creating his own lane. I spoke with him while journo-ing on MaMaJam over the phone about sensuality and his development as a violinist.
This is an excerpt of what we discussed, so if it sounds like stuff came out of nowhere then ignore that feeling. Ha!
Also, check out his album Universal On Switch in the music player above!
How have you developed as an artist over the years?
Until out of college, I only listened to classical music. After college, I decided I wasn’t really good as a violinist, well, a concert violinist who plays symphonies, so I decided to make up my own compositions. There’s a lot of violinist out there who are doing contemporary music, but it’s more used for solo pieces. For me, it’s just a small piece of what makes up Govinda. The violin is usually a focal point live, but it isn’t a focal point in the music. Over time, it developed based on the things I was inspired by, which were the sensual kind of quality and the haunting quality of the violin. Also, the sexy quality of the violin and the mysterious quality. All these things helped design the music and how it sounded.
It’s rare to hear someone say that the violin is sexy. What do you mean when you say that?
The sounds that come out of it, the emotions that it brings out, the feelings that it brings out for people, which tend to be more on the sensual side. You don’t really think of the sounds of the violin in the way you think of the sounds of a tuba or the drum. It evokes a different feeling and emotion, and I would say in general the violin and other string instruments are more sensual in nature. Then again, I don’t really know what it is! Maybe it has to do with the body shape of the instrument, haha.
Oh, is that not your cup of tea? Is the body shape of the violin the kind of chicks you go for?
Nope, that’s my cup of tea. I like anything sexy.
Not very many people I know in music talk about violin like that, especially the sound of it because it’s usually used so technically. Now that I think about it, I could see that.
My whole life I was raised in an environment where sensuality was a big part of our life. I was raised by my mother who taught us differently. We were allowed to watch sex scenes on TV, but not violence, so we would have to cover our eyes when somebody on TV was shooting, which is pretty much the opposite of people. I grew up in this world where it was like sex and sensuality is a natural part of humanity and being alive. That’s why the music and the shows are very sensual. We have dancers, mainly with the female body, who dance provocatively. A lot of what I do is super sexy because that’s what it’s all about for me. Well, NOT what it’s ALL about, but a big part of it.
I got you. It’s not overly sexual or hypersexual.
Not exactly, I mean, not to say we haven’t had strippers and poles onstage but it’s not really what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to have more of a tasteful sensuality rather than just balls out, like tits and ass and sex on the stage. I mean, I’m not saying we’ll never do something like that one day and surprise people, but that’s not really our goal, or what we’re doing.
Will all that unfold at MaMaJam?
Ok. Well, what all will you be doing at MaMaJam?
Yeah, I play the violin live and we’re gonna have dancers. We’re also gonna have hoopers and belly dancers, also fire dancers and whatever the promoter is putting together. My part will definitely involve lots of live music and violin playing, and an overall performance that most people don’t expect. It’ll be fun and interesting.