KSHMR Discusses His Journey To Becoming A Top Producer And New Single

Niles Hollowell-Dhar has the unique ability of taking a stage and transforming it into an incredible electronic production combined with an electrifying cinematic element. Better known as KSHMR (pronounced “Kashmir”), the talented electronic music producer and DJ has headlined festivals such as Tomorrowland, EDC Las Vegas, and Coachella.

On his recent “The Giant” tour throughout North America, KSHMR‘s performances featured everything from snow machines and fire bowls to 4D special effects. He is the #1 selling producer on Splice for his “Sounds of KSHMR” splice packs and has hosted his own Master Classes at Berkeley College of Music.

We caught up yesterday with the California native to discuss how he became one of the country’s top DJs and give us a look at his new single, “Devil Inside Me” debuting today following his recently released single and music video “No Regrets” featuring Krewella and Yves V.

Photo Credit: Galen Oakes

You started out in hip-hop production before moving into electronic music, which was influenced by your hand in 2010’s global smash “Like A G6.” Tell us about your journey to becoming one of the country’s top DJs.

First of all, thank you very much. That’s very flattering. I don’t think anyone could get it right the first time. I worked for years and years prior with The Cataracs (an American hip hop production project). From there, I found how I would do things differently if I had a second go. I took the time to focus solely on producing music and I would recommend that for anyone starting out so when you do DJ, you are playing your own songs.

Can you talk a little about your creative process and how you are able to incorporate your Indian heritage into the production?

That was a big driving force for me starting KSHMR. I wanted it to reflect me on a personal level. I had just heard stories from my father and grandfather, but it wasn’t until later in life that I found a real appreciation for my heritage. Incorporating it into the production I thought would be something worth listening to.

Photo Credit: Nick Marfing

How do you continue to keep your stage presence new and exciting?

It’s very hard. You get into years three and four and have to really push and overcome complacency. For me, I like the live shows where we bring in live orchestral play along with the combination of the hard hitting dance hits that I am so well known for. Dance music now applies to so many subgenres. Working under that umbrella can be refreshing. I experiment with different tempos. As an artist, you get known for something. I had to be delicate yet deliberate with that early on. I am using new instruments, and research all the time has always been a great inspiration for me. If you become known for one song that you don’t like, it could put you in a tough spot. I love producing slower songs at times, but I also have to do what everyone loves.

You have used snow machines and fire during some of your performances. What is the inspiration behind this?

From the first show, I wanted to give attendees something amazing. Having a story was always important, but the music and videos that we do bring that story out and touch people in ways that I can’t express.

Photo Credit: Nick Marfing

Are you a storyteller at heart?

With music, I can be a good storyteller. I think that’s the way my brain works. I spend so much time alone. The producing I do is antisocial. I need time to engineer the emotion I want to express. It takes me time to experiment. Different people work in different ways. It’s a huge process of slow crafting a story, as you say, so if I can do that, I guess I am a good storyteller.

What would you say has been the most memorable experience of your career so far?

Performing at Sunburn Festival in India. This was a whole different side of India. There were about 60,000 people and I had a surprise for my grandfather. He got onstage with me and I performed a song from an old Bollywood movie. My grandfather and I danced on stage together. It was incredible.

Photo Credit: The Moneta

You were recently named #18 in the latest “DJ Mag Top 100” rankings. What’s up next for you?

I’m glad you asked that. I have a new video, “Devil Inside Me” releasing today (featuring Karra and Kaaze). On top of my old music, I am excited about my new label, Dharma Worldwide. There will be a “Lessons of Dharma” tutorial series online that will be a hub for producers to learn that they can use to thrive.

Check out KSHMR’s Facebook page for tour dates and here for a listen of his new single.

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