We are listening to ‘Kyun’ by Krameri. The music weaves a haunted hypnotic flow, yet remaining minimal, bare bones. The scene rapidly changes with the next tune, ‘Drug$ Mafia’ a dark post-trap sound, as the auto-tuned voice harks “are you ok? for this stuff to make you hit harder…”. Her pensive voice gives way to male Rap, replete with innuendos of ego and machismo. Next, ‘All This Time’ is a flight of out-of-focus sounds and cracked beats, with the leading voices, alternating between a classical raga (or rather the ghost of) and a robotized west-coast feel. Damini Chauhan a.k.a Krameri, as a singer and producer, is not about sticking to a genre nor about writing catchy love songs. Constantly oscillating between the dark and light. Betwixt of many fleeting emotions and sounds.

In 'Talking to Strangers', Krameri's melancholia flows through, "i was never any good..." Her lyrics speak of yearning, of introspection and her sound speaks of meticulous production and fluidity. Having worked at A.R. Rehman’s studio for a while, it’s clear that Damini has a grasp over production and aesthetics, stepping outside the given norms and 'diva roles'. FEMWAV spoke to Krameri recently about her formation, her creative process and current direction...

What led you to take up music?

I got drawn into writing and singing from an early age. I would write little stories and songs. After finishing school, I joined a liberal arts program for a year, but soon felt the need to narrow down, to what I really wanted. The focus changed, to something that I was actually interested in, and that was music. I decided to attend a summer program, to learn piano at KMMC music college, founded by AR Rahman, as a first step. Soon, decided to enroll full time music degree,  at the end of which I would have the same BA degree at the liberal arts college. 
I spent the next 4 years studying aspects of music and production. From singing opera, Hindustani classical, got into playing western classical piano. Also bit by bit learning music theory, notation, ear-practice followed by digital production, sequencing and mixing audio... ended up learning bits of marketing and artist management as well.  Was an intense program and time, and I absorbed a lot of info, knowledge and timely guidance. I had never studied music prior to this, so it was all from scratch.
 Around this time, I began my making my first tunes, and eventually released music, as Krameri.

You have worked as a sound designer and mix engineer?

After graduating in 2019, I joined A.R. Rehman's 'Panchathan' studio, as an intern. Was an amazing experience within the studios and productions. I then worked on projects as a sound designer and programmer... Some of the notable ones as Netflix series ‘House of Secrets'  and the comedy movie 'Heropanti 2'. I got my hands on the famous the sound software, Kyma. Was a part of my sound design. Still working as part of the studio. That place is special to me, and what I like about it is that everyone’s roles are fluid - everyone does a bit of is not confined creatively, to do just one thing all the time.

What's your process like? Your workflow?

My music is a reflection of my personality. The desires, experiences and imagination making up the whole spectrum, one hundred percent! Yes it is from a personal space but I feel that 'space' itself is part reality, part fiction (imagination).
 When I feel inspired and conjure a melody, I record a rough version on my phone. Then I come back to the idea, after some time to write lyrics, imagine a flow. Usually figure out the chords on the piano, moving on to program tracks, adding instruments, synths etc... I record the final vocals on top of the given sequence and carry all the above elements over to the mix stage. A lot of the magic (creative pursuit) happens in there!


According to you, what could better the Indian scene, for new artists like you? 

I wish there were labels and agencies, which supported the independent music scene in India, especially for those artists outside Bollywood.

 The indie scene has a lot of talent and diversity, but not enough professionals engaged in making it bigger in terms of outreach and audience.

Post Pandemic, as the scene is picking up, where are you heading?  

Currently working on my album, up for release next year. Also working on music videos.
 I think the pandemic made everyone introspect. Give more gratitude and empathy on a personal level. To take time to pause and think and revise... instead of just going on and on with whatever flows.

 The pandemic has given us all room to think again and try new directions. I am focusing more on sonic quality, and have started learning and creating visuals. That which leads to making music videos. Apart from music, I'm also exploring other creative avenues like acting and writing.