While he may be short of the ill-fitting suit and flying police box, to all intents and
purposes Koushik is the real time traveller in the room. Mixing hazy 60s nostalgia with
downtempo beats, the Ontario-bred, Vermont-based producer has that rare skill of
connecting the past with the future.
“I’ve never been a fan of sticking with just one genre of music, so why stick with
just one decade?,” says the softly spoken Canadian. Acting as a departure point for all
those hip hop beat diggers with a side interest in psych-folk, Koushik skilfully channels
the skewed breaks & J Dilla and the sun-kissed melodies of the Beach Boys. And Out
My Window, his full-length debut for Stones Throw, is an album which ramps up his
burgeoning pop sensibilities even further.
The son of Indian immigrants, Koushik attended classical singing classes with his
mother as a child but it was through visiting record shops during trips to the farmers
market in Ontario, and bashing out cock rock solos on old synths, that his interest in
hip hop developed.
“I’ve dabbled in music for as long as I can remember,” he says. “My brother used
to have this amazing collection of vintage keyboards and we’d just sit down and knock
out terrible Van Halen and Boston riffs. Thankfully Run DMC and LL Cool J came
along and saved me from all that – it was a close call.”
Released in 2005, Be With drew together Koushik’s earlier singles and EPs but it’s
the sublime opener on Out My Window, ‘Lying In The Sun’, that sees him make good
on his musical upbringing. A swirling medley of brass and beats that recalls Spooky
Tooth in one breath and Native Tongues in another, it’s an anthem fit for any season.
It’s not surprising to learn that the album’s abstract sound is partly indebted to the
likes of Misnoma, Four Tet and Caribou. Indeed Koushik lent his laconic vocals to
Manitoba’s Up In Flames album and Koushik’s debut was on Four Tet/Kieran Hebden’s Text label.
“The first time I met Kieran, it was like we’d been friends for years. We had so
much in common musically as well as coming from similar backgrounds. We seem
to share a love for things that are a bit different to the norm.”