SOLANTA is a musical duo comprised of Hamzah Khan, also known as Zham, and Mihir Parshionikar who goes by Parshy. Together, they've worked on creating a unique style which blends EDM, real instrumentation, and hip-hop in a very personal and creative way.
Tell us about your previous musical endeavors and how you came together to form SOLANTA.
We met each other in eighth grade and bonded over our love of the same type of music starting with the Tron Legacy movie soundtrack by Daft Punk. We began sending emails back and forth with new songs that we found while browsing through YouTube recommendations. We both got into producing EDM as well as hip-hop around the same time. Zham really got into freestyle rapping while Parshy started making mashups of songs and we would both rap in the hallway while switching classes. It wasn’t until we were juniors in high school that we decided to work on our first original song together. We blended progressive house, dubstep and rap to create an experimental track. After graduating, we ended up going to different universities, but still kept in touch. It wasn’t until our sophomore year of college that we cultivated a clear artistic vision and started SOLANTA. We’ve been working on this project for just over a year and we’ve both really been enjoying the journey.
Your music lies more on the acoustic side of the EDM spectrum. Walk us through some of the challenges that are unique to your style of music.
Our style of music is always changing based on the vibe we want to convey for each song. Since we write, produce, rap, and mix all of our songs ourselves, we have to remind ourselves to be patient throughout the process. All of our ideas start out as voice memos of us humming. From there we try to recreate and build on the melody captured in those voice memos using Logic Pro or by experimenting and improvising on the piano. It’s super important for us to create beats and lay down instrumentals really fast. It’s tough because we don’t actually finish and polish most of the ideas that we start but by churning out so many different beats, we push ourselves to explore many different sounds. This leads us to inevitably stumble upon something that we feel is super dope, which can be turned into a full song.
What have been some of the challenges you’ve faced trying to get your unique style of music in front of as many listeners as possible?
Our goal from the beginning has been to bridge the gap between the hip-hop and electronic music worlds. This can be difficult to market because our music doesn’t fit exclusively into one genre or the other. We include some unconventional aspects such as using snippets of dialogue in our songs. We did this extensively in ‘where do you go at night?’ We also experimented by using ASMR vocals in our recent Billie Eilish remix which was more chillstep based. When it comes to writing lyrics, we focus on conveying our thoughts and balancing that with storytelling from our personal lives. Our initial approach to marketing started off by inviting our friends to check out our Facebook page and our YouTube channel. Now our focus is on getting heard by a lot more people who are listening to similar styles of music. This allows us to connect with people who genuinely enjoy our music and want to be part of our journey.
Being college students is no walk in the part. How do you divide and maximize your time to make sure you get the grades you need while creating the music you love?
It’s really cool to be able to do music while you are in college. We are both STEM majors at our respective schools, Ohio State and Georgia Tech. Even though we have very busy schedules, we always find the time to make music. In college, you have so many opportunities to get to know people and spread your art and message. We really do enjoy what we are studying in school. College has helped us to develop our work ethic and purpose in what we do in our lives. We are constantly thinking of how we can apply what we learn in school to our music and how it can help us to improve in other aspects of our lives. It also helps with time management since we have to make time to work on music. School does get really overwhelming and that’s when music becomes our therapy. After a long day of classes and studying it’s really nice to work on a beat or freestyle and just let our mind wander in our creative space.
What are your plans to continue growing SOLANTA in the future?
We are currently finishing up our seventh song which we plan on releasing later this month. In addition, we are rehearsing a live performance of “Feels Like Bliss” in a couple weeks which is going to be filmed. Since we are working on new material, we plan to finish our album by next year. We are organizing a live show for later this year and we are really excited for that since it will be our first time performing together as SOLANTA. Since we are constantly working on new material, we plan to finish our album by next year. One of our goals is to integrate live instrumentation in our shows so that it is a more immersive experience. We want our shows to unite all types of people and foster a community where we empower each other to embrace individuality and live freely.
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Chris W. Lao
DJ, Writer, and Student.
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