Knox Artiste on Musical Creativity, DJing & New Sounds

DESIblitz caught up with Knox Artiste to talk about his love for music, versatile skills and the steps he is taking to redefine his sound.

Knox Artiste on Musical Creativity, DJing & New Sounds

"My goal is to educate my audience and make an impact"

Knox Artiste is a highly versatile vocalist and musician that hails from New Delhi.

The multilingual artist resides in Dubai but has quickly gained a tremendous amount of admiration from fans worldwide.

This comes in the form of his 16+ years of experience in music, entertainment and performance.

Technically skilled, sonically gifted and creatively diverse, Knox’s prowess to present original and new material to listeners is refreshing.

His musical growth stems from a tender age.

Inspired by the pure sounds of Disney movies and then leaping into DJing at 14 years old just shows how music was instilled in Knox’s DNA.

This early exposure to unique tempos, classical instruments and production manipulation has given the artist a priceless catalogue of skills.

His compositions are highly sought after. His singing and rapping qualities to daring compositions emphasise why fans are so captivated by his projects.

However, what makes Knox Artiste so distinct is his ability to create something so new whilst using more traditional sounds.

His original tracks like ‘Paisa’ (2019) and ‘Miracle’ (2021) are brash demonstrations of Bollywood melodies against modern beats.

Although, his covers and mashup pieces are also noteworthy. His most famous 2017 piece, ‘#Flashup’, was a magical combination of 14 songs by 14 different artists on one beat.

Besides the enriching rhythms and vocal range, Knox Artiste also performed in five different languages.

He followed this up in 2022 with a ‘#MagicalMomentsFlashup’. Both videos have accumulated over a staggering 303 million YouTube views.

So, there’s no surprise as to how talented the Indian singer is, especially how he challenges himself in every aspect of music.

It is this unapologetic approach to his creations that has propelled him as one of the most established yet promising stars in the industry.

Therefore, it is only right to explore Knox’s inspiration and artistic processes that have given him such an elite status against the competition.

So, DESIblitz spoke exclusively to Knox Artiste about his early influences, developing his sound and musical ambitions.

Which memories can you remember that first got you into music?

Knox Artiste on Musical Creativity, DJing & New Sounds

Hi, I’m Knox Artiste and the songs that first got me into music are the ones that I heard in my childhood.

I’ve always been a huge Disney fan. I remember we used to get all the original VHS cassettes for the Disney movies.

I loved the original soundtracks and every time I watched a film, I waited to listen to their original tracks.

There was a song titled ‘The Animal Song’ (1999) by Savage Garden and another one titled ‘Trashin’ The Camp’ (1999) by Phil Collins – from the animated movie Tarzan.

That’s when I first remember falling in love with music.

As for the songs that inspired me during my early years, I think I was getting into a proper collection of music for my DJing career.

I listened to the kind of music which I would have loved to produce.

The Rishi Rich Project, Jay Sean and Juggy D gave me the inspirational boost to kick-start my career.

The music scene at that time was mostly UK Bhangra.

A lot of music releases by artists like Jay Sean, Dr Zeus, Raghav, Juggy D and Labrinth were massive hits then.

They inspired me to do something in this field.

Which artists have helped you develop your creativity in music?

I don’t think whatever I have learnt over the years or the knowledge I’ve gained can be focused on any one specific artist.

A person working behind the stage also inspires me equally.

Some of the people that I used to follow and who inspired me to create my own techniques include artists like Labrinth, RDB, Jay Sean, Raghav and Rishi Rich.

“I would watch a lot of their behind the scenes on YouTube at the time.”

From their own music career, I’ve learnt several things which transcended into my music production skills and then into my songwriting skills as well.

Initially, I used to do only English music.

But I realised that being in India you need to be able to conquer your own demographic before trying out your hand with the global audiences.

How would you describe your own unique sound?

Knox Artiste on Musical Creativity, DJing & New Sounds

I think I found my sound when I made my song, ‘Paisa’ (2019), which was featured by Bobby Friction on BBC Network’s ‘Track of the Week’.

If I have to describe my sound, I always aim for my song to not sound like an outright Desi track and still consist of elements from current top 40 hits.

My songs are made for the global Indian music listeners and not just the audiences living in India.

I try to incorporate Indian compositions and lyrical structures in my songs.

Blending them with sounds influenced by different genres to give the audience something new to listen to.

The whole idea is to educate the audience about the diverse versions of music around the world rather than just giving them something generic.

What do you love about DJing and how has it helped you as a musician?

DJing has helped me a lot as a musician and as a producer.

It gave me a certain insight into what makes people move, especially for someone who wants to make commercial pop music, like me.

I could figure out from DJing what people love and expect from an energetic performer and artist.

It gave me an edge wherein you know if you are playing a song and people are tapping their feet, you need to imitate that.

You need to work on something similar to the song but with your own style and unique structure.

The first time I had an opportunity to DJ at a party was when one of the professional DJs hired for that event did not show up.

“At that time I had no technical knowledge; I didn’t even know how to operate the equipment.”

I only knew the play, pause, volume controls – because they were labelled.

So, what I did was increased the volume to full and played the songs. The party went great; everyone enjoyed the music.

But the next day when the guy in charge of the equipment came to the place to collect it, I was told that the speakers were blown.

I did a good job with the music side of things but my technicals were an absolute mess.

Later I would attend the parties just to get a glimpse of how the other DJs worked. I worked really hard to upgrade my skills.

Within a year, at the age of 15, I was doing private gigs in Dubai. I was a quick learner.

DJing is not just about foot-tapping music, it is about keeping the mood of the party alive and kicking.

As a DJ we need to do our research on what music goes best with the situation and the type of event.

For example, while I am a big fan of commercial pop music, I just can’t keep making the same thing all the time. I want to be versatile to be able to entertain the audience.

How have you found the music scene in Dubai compared to India?

Knox Artiste on Musical Creativity, DJing & New Sounds

Dubai is quite a different scenario in terms of music as compared to India. I think in Dubai it is more about quality rather than quantity.

Dubai has a very small population, hence there is less competition.

The Desi music scene is pretty evolved here and the audience is harder to please.

This sets the bar high for people who are residing in Dubai and trying to be successful in this genre.

But then again, if you’re successful in India or outside of Dubai, then the radio and media wholeheartedly extend their support.

Overall, the Dubai market is quite knowledgeable about how music should be perceived.

What is the usual reaction to your songs and what inspires you to make them?

When it comes to making songs, you have to anticipate that you cannot please everyone. It is the same for everyone from any field.

“There will always be people who would love your stuff and then there will be people who won’t.”

But as long as people liking your stuff are on the higher side on that scale, you should not give up.

I have got great responses for my original tracks and that’s what pushes me and inspires me to keep going and keep making better music.

Are there any special covers of songs you’ve done that you enjoyed the most?

Knox Artiste on Musical Creativity, DJing & New Sounds

I think the most special cover, although not technically a cover of just one song, would be the 14 songs on one beat ‘#Flashup’ video.

It changed everything for me. It was a video I did in 2017. Today (2022) it has more than 290 million views.

Similarly, ‘#MagicMomentsFlashup’ (2022) that I did on 106.2 Big FM is very special and I have the same hope for this cover as well.

I do covers of songs that suit me or the ones I like personally. Some songs should not be touched.

Just because a particular song is a trend and would bring you views, doesn’t mean it should be covered. Especially if it doesn’t suit your voice or style.

If I, under any circumstances have to do one, then I try to add my own style to it and make it sound distinct.

What is your creative process like when making tracks?

When it comes to any piece of music whether it be originals or covers, I always start with the beat first.

I don’t create lyrics while working on the beat. While working on covers, I am very picky about the songs I choose.

“If the song doesn’t move me, no matter how popular it is, I won’t cover it.”

I have attempted many covers in the past but have not released them because I know they won’t represent me as the artist I want to be.

How do you want your music to impact fans and the music industry?

Knox Artiste on Musical Creativity, DJing & New Sounds

I want to break the monotony of the kind of music being released. I know it is quite a bold statement to make but unfortunately, that’s how I feel.

The Indian audience is only getting to hear what is being marketed to them. They are not exposed enough to the global music industry.

I try to bring in influences – Desi and global – for a greater sound.

The youth of today have not heard of bands like Blue, and Backstreet Boys. I kid you not, I know of Indian teens who don’t even know who Michael Jackson was.

They are unaware of these artists who created some of the greatest hits of all time.

I am blessed to have grown up in Dubai and to be from that generation where I was exposed to these artists and their music.

My goal is to educate my audience and make an impact with diverse sounds inspired by the greats!

Which artists would you love to work with and why?

I keep discovering new artists every day. But one of the artists I would love to work with would be Sickick. I find his sound to be very unique.

Probably only a handful of people in the world can create the kind of sound and arrangements like he can – in terms of production.

I would love to collaborate with him someday.

“Now coming to the commercial space, I would love to collaborate with Jay Sean.”

I saw him performing live on the stage when I was in school. The feeling was surreal.

What future projects can you tease fans with?

Knox Artiste on Musical Creativity, DJing & New Sounds

For future projects, I have two tracks lined up for 2022. One of them is called ‘Freaky’.

This is going to be one of my biggest tracks so far. It’s been in the making for a long time.

We are finally releasing it this year, by October end hopefully and I’m really excited to share this one with the world.

If I could describe this project in a phrase, I would say it’s a Bollywood song that didn’t end up being produced by Bollywood.

My releases usually take time because I am not a label-backed musician. Also, I’m very particular about each project that I release.

Since I am an independent artist, I have the luxury to do things my own way.

I create my own music and lyrics. Since I run my own production house, Knox Artiste Films, in Dubai, I even direct my own music videos.

I hope ‘Freaky’ gets all the love and appreciation it deserves this year!

Knox Artiste has already performed alongside the world’s biggest musicians like Shaggy, Arijit Singh and Jaz Dhami.

Whether it’s creating a mashup of trending pop tracks or fusing different genres for a chart-topping single, there are no areas that Knox won’t dare to touch.

Inspired by everything around him, he has a hardened knowledge of production and composition.

This has given his projects a very unique sound that blends tones, pitches and vocals influenced by various cultures.

Whether it’s Indian, western, or Middle Eastern, Knox Artiste’s music has it all.

Having hinted at the tracks he is working on, fans worldwide are highly excited to see what Knox has to offer next.

Check out Knox Artiste’s amazing catalogue of music here.

Balraj is a spirited Creative Writing MA graduate. He loves open discussions and his passions are fitness, music, fashion, and poetry. One of his favourite quotes is “One day or day one. You decide.”

Images courtesy of Spotify & Instagram.