Th English hip-hop group was a rage in the early 2000s, and they deserve credit for giving dubstep its 15 minutes of fame. With numerous albums, EPs and singles under their belt, the trio decided to call it quits after coming out with a final album titled MATRIARCHY last year.
But that was far from the end for co-founder Pavan Mukhi aka Orifice Vulgatron’s music career. He decided to move to India and reinvent himself as PAV4N.
He explores Indian mythology through his music, and is fascinated by the blue-skinned Hindu deities such as Krishna, Kali and Shiva.
We chat the artist to find out more about his single titled KARMA that released on March 6.
When did you realise that you wanted a solo career?
After the 2018-album, 2 2 K A R M A as Foreign Beggars, my partner at the time, Metropolis wanted to take time to mainly focus on his solo projects. It was around then that it really clicked what I wanted to do. I’ve considered a solo project for a long time but hadn’t come to a decision on which direction to take. I could have gone full grime, trap, boom bap, but I didn’t want to just do stuff because I could. When the concept for PAV4N crystallised in my mind and I was able to bring all my ideas and creative urges together under one project, I couldn’t let go of the idea. Working solo means there is no compromise and I can literally reach into the farthest depths of my imagination and make that a reality.
How do you think you evolved being a part of Foreign Beggars through the years, and how would you describe the artist you have become today?
I think all my experiences in music, business and life have shaped me into the artist I am. Hip-hop and electronic music are both very competitive fields and you have to deliver cutting-edge excellence to remain relevant. Being in Foreign Beggars with Metropolis was important as we are very different people and have totally different approaches to almost everything to do with creation. As I’ve got older and as hip-hop has evolved, the rappers that really mean something to me have all delivered a level of authenticity that has made me soul search and consider the message and perspective I choose to convey. Touring with artists like The Prodigy, Skrillex and seeing the level of artistry people like Sevdaliza & FKA Twigs are bringing to the table, has really shown me the breadth and heights I can achieve with my expression.
Why did you decide to settle in Goa?
Real talk! With my Indian passport, I was only able to remain in the UK whilst I had shows as part of Foreign Beggars, so India was actually the perfect option. I’ve chosen Goa to have a different pace of life. I’ve been going full speed, living a big city life for 20 years and thought to take out some time for introspection, solitude and creativity. I also have the option to be around many creative people if I want.
Why are you fascinated with Indian mythology, specifically blue-skinned deities?
Hindu mythology and lore is vast and beautiful and it doesn’t shy away from the more visceral subject matter. I was brought up as a Hindu, but have lived in Islamic and staunch Christian environments and have felt the effects of people, generally men using religion as a means of control and power. The stories of these deities and concepts that are central to Hinduism are of conscientiousness, humility and love and those are the values with which I live my life.
Tell us about your song KARMA.
Self-empowerment, taking action, oppression and the rut we seem to find ourselves in a post social media world are the themes I explored. Information is controlled and dissipated to make us feel powerless for the simple means to keep us in the current paradigm as end consumers. People who are emotionally drained by this the most are the ones with that spiritual and conscientious spark. I wanted to really send the message of self-belief to remind everyone that they need to be the change they wish to see.
How do you work on your music solo?
I spend a lot of time listening to different producers and finding new music. When I hear something I like, I generally reach out and either get a selection of beats or try book in a session with them. Most of the time I’ll write on my own when I get inspired. I generally have 5/6 beats in my sights and when the moment hits, I’ll put it on and start writing. I travel with my own studio most of the time, so I’ll set up and record myself until I’m content. I do the arrangement of the track and prep all the files for the mix engineer once I’ve gone back and forth with the producer to get it right.
What’s the story behind the stylised name PAV4N and the numerical 4?
My name is Pavan. I was searching for a name for a long time but wanted to use a variation of my own name. It also throws back to Foreign Beggars as ‘4N’ is phonetically the word ‘foreign’. People know me as Pav Foreign Beggars, so PAV4N is all of those things. I’ll tell you... it took me more than a year since I came up with the project and started to work on it that the name bestowed itself unto me.
What are your future plans?
Oh man, so many. Firstly to release a lot of music this year. I'm working on a lot of videos as well. I’d like to start making short films and I’ve also started painting again and really found my groove with making art. I’m in the process of creating a live show above and beyond anything I have ever done before and I’d like to take that around the world. I’m also building wells with the YEHYEH.org project.
What is your take on the hip-hop scene in India as a rapper with so much international experience?
I’ve always been a no-compromise artist and in the past I think to achieve a similar level of success or notoriety I would have had to assimilate, and I have never been ready to do that. The fact that hip-hop has really broken the mould and given the youth and the streets a voice is incredible. Hip-hop has given me my whole life and I’m so glad that finally as one of the first Indian rappers who has forged a career with this art form for the last 20 years, I can finally come home on my own terms and bring my perspective and my take on it, to the table.