Exclusive Interview: A Closer Look At Assam’s Hip Hop Crew Rain In Sahara

Tucked away in the Indian corner near the Himalayas bordering Bhutan and China, Rain in Sahara was born in the sweltering Indian heat of late 2016 in Guwahati, Assam. Driven by a desire to spread positive conscious music with a message along the principles of social justice, equality, freedom and respect, Spanish-American producer and multi-instrumentalist Lain joined forces with multi-lingual rappers Rocky Glock and Sikdar to create the hip-hop outfit Rain in Sahara.

Fusing a wide range of elements and instrumentation into their hip-hop sound from numerous genres such as electronica, rock, Latin music and even Indian and western classical music, Rain in Sahara bring their individual struggles and experiences to their music writing about what they see in their daily lives. Moved by their debut music video ‘Black Water’, Desi Hip Hop got in touch with the crew to get a closer look into their music.

blackwater kala paani rain in sahara lain sikdar rocky glock

1. How Did The Idea Of Forming ‘Rain In Sahara’ Come To Life? Why Did Lain Heringman Choose To Do It From Assam?

Lain, originally from Spain, had been in northeast India for a few years and wanted to combine his new passion for conscious poetry with his music background to start a conscious hip-hop fusion outfit. Rocky Glock and Sikdar had been rapping in the Guwahati scene for quite some time and when we all met we instantly gelled sharing a passion for making music with a positive message. This vision to focus on issues surrounding us and writing in a way which could make a positive impact on our communities and societies has been a driving force behind Rain in Sahara from the outset. As we started writing music and jamming together, we each brought our individual styles and influences to our music. Lain had been in India working on social entrepreneurship projects and recently came back to music after a long hiatus. Prior to this, he had been working on development projects from Latin America to Asia.

2. ‘Black Water’ Is Based On A Very Important Issue. Is ‘Rain In Sahara’ Going To Be A Conscious Rap Crew?

The track is based on issues we see and feel on a daily basis and that also frustrate us as there are solutions to a lot of these problems. On the outer level, the track is about water, air and food pollution, waste management, income inequality and materialism and on a deeper level about unsustainable economic structures global society has built and nurtured that fuels this march towards a very precarious future. We draw inspiration from what we see and experience and try to write about these topics with a positive message. While we do write about serious topics – we just finished writing a track about child labour and human trafficking – we think it’s also important to write about other aspects of life such as love, living in the moment and so on, and we feel all these kinds of life experiences can be written in a fun, positive and conscious way. Traditional, commercial or party tracks can be done in a conscious positive way and don’t need to be degrading to women, promoting flashy lifestyles, worshipping money or promoting greed. We enjoy writing music across the spectrum with our lyrics rooted with a positive message.

3. How Is The Sound You’re Planning To Deliver Going To Be Different From Others In The Business?

If you get a chance to listen to our debut track Black Water you’ll get a sense of how we approach our production with fusion elements. While the track is rooted in hip-hop, we have elements of rock including a ripping guitar solo, Indian and western classical flute and piano parts, and some EDM influences. We’re big on experimenting with different styles and truly lucky to be able to collaborate with some amazing musicians. One of the largest differences with most of the hip-hop tracks we have heard in India is our use of live instruments. We have some tracks in the pipeline using a real variety of live instruments and different styles so we hope through our fusion we can bring new listeners into the hip-hop space.

4. What Is It Like For An American-Spanish Producer To Be In India? What Do You Think Of The Indian Hip-Hop Scene?

This is an exciting time for hip-hop in India as it is now maturing very fast with mind-blowing talent coming up. We feel Indian hip-hop is now coiled like a spring ready to explode across the country. Here in the northeast hip-hop scene, there’s so much upcoming talent and potential, however, there is a lack of exposure for this genre and listeners have not had many opportunities to see live hip-hop acts. This makes it tough for upcoming hip-hop artists to get shows and the support they need to thrive and develop.

As the Indian hip-hop scene grows all over the country, we hope that it’ll do the same here in the northeast and with the amazingly talented rappers from our region we hope we can contribute to the growth of the scene. Lastly, it’s really important that artists are able to get the mentoring and managerial support for them to be able to thrive.

5. How Is ‘Rain In Sahara’ Going To Bring Assam’s Hip-Hop Scene On The Map?

With so much upcoming talent all over the country, we’re really excited about the direction hip-hop is beginning to take in Assam. There’s a lot of upcoming talent with rappers dropping bars in Assamese, Hindi and English. We don’t know if Rain in Sahara can bring Assam’s hip-hop scene on the map but we hope we can be a part of uniting the scene here and getting more exposure for hip-hop in the state so the genre can mature and develop. Ultimately, the hip-hop scene in northeast India has a huge amount of potential and we hope our contribution in Assam can play a role in this up and coming scene.

6. Do You Think The Use Of Live Instruments Is Going To Be A Good Idea In A Trap Dominated Industry?

We have no idea if it is going to be a good idea but we’re just hustling trying to follow our musical vision and hope that as we continue to write more we can find a fresh sound. Our hope is that it can also bring music listeners who have a certain preconceived notion of hip-hop into exploring the hip-hop genre by hearing elements they are familiar with. For example, we’ve been really surprised that some heavy metal fans and also middle aged people have felt the vibe of our track Black Water; perhaps because of our use of live distortion guitar and Indian classical flute. Ultimately, if we can cast the net wider using a different style of production, hopefully, new music listeners will explore the amazing talent in the Indian hip-hop scene and help our scene grow and develop.

7. What Should We Expect From Your Next Drop? What Are You Going To Drop Next?

It’s going to be different and fun. That’s all we want to say about it for now!

8. Are There Any Underground Hip-Hop Artists That You Want To Work With? How Can An Artist Approach You For Collaboration?

A core element of Rain in Sahara is collaborating with a wide variety of musicians and hopefully in the near future other rappers. There are lots of amazing underground hip-hop artists we would love to work with and many we would probably love to collaborate with but just have not come across them yet. If anyone is interested in collaborating with us just get in touch with us by e-mail: raininsaharaindia@gmail.com

Watch Rain In Sahara’s debut music video ‘Black Water’ right here: