Mumbai-native Sanaya Ardeshir aka Sandunes is a music activist. As a producer, composer and musician known for her diverse blend of electronica which combines eclectic sensibilities with progressive electronic elements, she recently released a digital album on Bandcamp and a track for Red Bull 20 Before 17. As a certified Ableton trainer, she advocates accessibility and exposure around music-making by giving workshops and lectures about music production and performance. As a founding member of DASTA – an Indian artist collective, Sanaya challenges the thinking behind music making norms by hosting community platforms to connect music makers and artists. Last but not least, as a resident of the Border Movement, an initiative by the Goethe Institute, she is spending this summer in Berlin to help bridge and raise awareness for South Asian music. What keeps her going? The answer lies probably in the selection of her essentials: a perfect balance of creativity, energy and health.
1. DARK CHOCOLATE (VIVANI, BUY HERE): Perhaps very dark chocolate is an acquired taste, so let’s just say I’ve acquired it. It’s a bit of a ritual for me, one I need to engage with at least everyday, and I think it helps me feel like I’m at home even when I’m in a foreign country or in a hotel for a gig or a project. It’s usually the first thing I’d buy when I’m in a new place too. Over the years I’ve been moving up the scale of …darkness and 92% is my new sweet-spot.
2. BAG OF NUTS (LOCAL MARKETS): I do this always – it’s my hangry-hack and also makes me feel secure over long flights and airport pitstops because I’m sort of always hungry. Honestly though – you’re as likely to find me out and about without my phone or wallet as you are without a bag of nuts. I try and find a local supermarket that let’s you pick-n-mix your own. Good spots have been Regal Plus in Bombay (Bandra) -my local. Holland & barrets in London, Whole Foods in New York and in Berlin, the local Turkish supermarkets have been the best.
3. FIELD RECORDER (ZOOM, BUY HERE): I’m not making music anymore that doesn’t include field recordings, and this is my tool. I worked on a project last year called ‘Searching for Sound’ and spent about 6 days with a field recorder plugged into my ears all over Bombay. What I came away with was the thought that you really never know when the opportunity to collect awesome sounds is going to spring itself upon you – so these days I’m always sort of prepared.
The H5n is an amazing size, and has a great function of recording a double backup file at a lower gain level so *in case* anything’s distorting in real time, your field recorder’s really got your back.
4. YOGA MAT (MANDUKA, BUY HERE): Yoga goes everywhere I go, and so does this mat. It’s a really special mat – the only one I know of that folds up like a towel – super convenient to pack in my suitcase and take all over the world, especially when you need to travel light because .. synthesisers.