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Mission Makers Podcast | London | UK

INDO WAREHOUSE

S4: EP 7

DEFINING THE SOUND

OF TOMORROW

 
kunal + kahani-min_edited.jpg

Labyrinth Events, founded in 2017 by Nick Castleman, is renowned for hosting forward-thinking events at prestigious UK venues and festivals, showcasing innovative artists, record labels, and communities that push the boundaries of contemporary dance music, operating under the ethos of ‘quality over quantity’. 

 

Recently, Labyrinth hosted a collective that truly embodies this philosophy, Indo Warehouse, who took center stage at EartH in Hackney for two sold-out shows just a few days after the collective’s two-year anniversary. During their time in the city, we had the pleasure of interviewing the team behind this fast-rising collective.

 

Hailing from New York, Indo Warehouse is a record label and experiential series led by Kahani and Kunal Merchant. Known for their distinct blend of authentic sounds that integrates vocals, rhythms, and textures from their South Asian heritage into electronic music, the collective has gained international acclaim with sold-out shows in North America, the UK, Europe, and India. Their unique sound and cultural representation of South Asian culture have led to them becoming one of the fastest-growing brands in dance music.

 

LAUNCHING A NEW CULTURAL GENRE

Indo Warehouse has been a pioneer in introducing a new cultural genre in the music industry, driven by a desire to challenge norms and promote diversity. Their groundbreaking events celebrate South Asian heritage through music, fashion, and community involvement, sparking a cultural renaissance that transcends borders. Kunal emphasized in the interview, “Once we start celebrating each other, we will see a culture shift that other cultures have because they celebrate each other.” By breaking stereotypes and fostering pride and unity within the community, Indo Warehouse invites people from all backgrounds to appreciate the rich tapestry of South Asian music which encompasses sounds from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, the Maldives, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal. Some of these countries have famously been at war with each other for decades, and it's refreshing to see unity within those communities. The sound is fast becoming a genre in its own right and is hotly tipped to become one of the biggest genres in the future.

 

It takes a collective like Indo Warehouse with South Asian heritage to truly break through and elevate this genre, similar to how the meteoric rise of Amapiano and Afro House has been driven by local artists championing their culture. By providing a home to embrace, express, and promote their own sounds and stories, South Asian artists have the power to shape a more inclusive musical landscape, paving the way for the genre’s global success.


 

HONORING TRADITION WHILE PUSHING BOUNDARIES

 

South Asian culture faces significant challenges in the music industry, from underrepresentation to societal pressures favoring stable careers over creative pursuits. These factors have often discouraged South Asians from entering the industry, resulting in a lack of support within the community. However, Indo Warehouse’s success demonstrates a growing shift towards celebrating diversity and supporting South Asian artists.

 

Indo Warehouse recently embarked on a profound journey to introduce the brand to India for the first time, where all their shows were sold out. It was a hugely defining moment that was guided by a commitment to authenticity and it was meticulously planned to ensure their cultural roots were honored while offering a fresh perspective on how South Asian culture can integrate into electronic music without being defined by traditional norms. 

 

The duo opened up about their observations on policies venues impose on resident DJs, such as bans on musical records with Indian vocals. Yet, as they experienced, when foreign artists play in the same venue, these restrictions don’t apply. This certainly took them by surprise and as Kahani shares, it catalyzed them to further showcase these sounds in order to open doors for other local artists to champion their sound and for venues to accept their own culture, leaving a long-standing mark on the community.

UNITING COMMUNITY WITH THOUGHT-PROVOKING JOURNEYS

Indo Warehouse's vision of "experiences" transcends far beyond music events. From the first digital encounter a potential reveler has, to stepping through the physical doors of the brand's experience, they craft complete sensory narratives, weaving ambiance, fashion, and cultural elements into every moment.  Their dedication to curating unique experiences is evident in every detail, from deep design thinking in choosing the venues they work with to curating hypnotizing visual aesthetics and selecting very thoughtful tracks in their record crates. 

 

Moments before their second sold-out show in London, Kunal shared with us that “Every time we host a show, we strive to offer a fresh experience. Last night, we delved into a lot of UK tracks, capturing the essence of being here. Tonight will be a whole new experience, allowing us to craft a unique narrative tailored to the moment. London provides the perfect backdrop for such creative freedom, and it's been incredibly special for us to bring this vision to life here.” 

 

This level of dedication ensures that each event reflects their core values, creating a deep sense of belonging and appreciation by cultivating a profound celebration of South Asian culture, while also making sure that continuous innovation prevents repetition from show to show. 

We Also Uncover:

 

  • How NYC inspires their creative process

  • What they look for when signing new talent

  • If Indo Warehouse could have existed 10 years ago

  • How they would like the brand to evolve in the future

  •  The most significant challenges facing the industry today

  • The important milestones that have helped define the brand

  • The differences of touring in India vs other parts of the world

  • Advice for fellow South Asians looking to break away from the norm

 

For a deeper dive into Indo Warehouse’s journey and mission, head to the

Mission Makers podcast for the full conversation. 

 

This episode can be found in the video below and on Apple and Spotify.

Lessons To Fuel Your Mission
  • cultural transformation begins by truly celebrating each other

  • create boldly from your own culture without the need for Western validation

  • think deeply into the sensory experience to leave a long-lasting impression

WATCH A SNEAK PEEK OF OUR CONVERSATION

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