US-based electronic duo Asava has released a beautifully kaleidoscopic track Dialing Tokyo. The song is rich with catchy melodies, vivid and dynamic sounds and dizzying mood switches. But if I had to choose one word to describe it, I'd say that first and foremost Dialing Tokyo is fun. Read our interview with the band's Arkit Desai to learn about their love for the filthiest of wobbles and discover how the new track was inspired by solitary hikes in the mountains.
— How did Asava come about? What were your expectations for the project at the moment?
– I met my buddy Scott Toebe in college around 2010 through a mutual friend. We were brought together by our mutual love of the filthiest of wobbles and the dirtiest of basses. From there we discovered that we shared a fondness for a bunch of different bands. We started to jam together and turned some of these ideas into songs. And in 2016, we officially released our first track. That's essentially the genesis of Asava.

Our expectation was to create music that hadn't been heard before. I can't tell you the number of times – mainly because we were drunk – that we were like, "Yo what if take we take the psychedelic elements from Tame, the percussion from Koan, and guitars from Tycho and combine them all into a song." My process is much more organic than that, but it's still in the back of my mind when i'm producing.
— What were some of the artists you were both passionate about at the time?
— When we first started producing, we were into dubstep artists like Flux Pavilion & Doctor P, and electronic artists like deadmau5, Daft Punk, Avicii, & Koan Sound.
— What was your first success?
— Our song, "Bodhi". I think we spent like $25 for marketing, spent no time promoting on social media (i still don't really do much for reasons I can go into if interested). The track itself came together very organically and only took 5 days to finish. Fortunately, it got on a couple decent playlists and the streams took off. And I use that phrase with lightly because "took off' for a small outfit like ours is nothing when compared to bigger indie artists. It's definitely not a huge success, but it's still a win and when you're starting out as a producer those small wins do a lot for you.
— How did you spend those $25? On playlist pitching?
— Yeah, playlist pitching, but none of those playlists picked up the song.
They're way too picky. In fact I know several big producers that use a different moniker when playlist pitching and get rejected for no reason. It's hilarious.
— Your press release says "Over the course of 6 months, I struggled with figuring out what direction and vibe I wanted to channel for Dialing Tokyo. It resulted in a lot of stress and confusion. To combat this, I took a break from producing over the summer to clear my head. I traveled to San Francisco, explored Detroit, and then went hiking in the Adirondack mountains in upstate New York. This hike was very psychedelic and had a huge influence on the song." Can you tell us a bit more about what happened during the hike and how it made you perceive music in a new way?
— I hiked one of the 4000 ft. peaks in the Adirondacks. Here's a pic from the summit.
At the peak, there was much less greenery than the lower portions of the mountain. Plants were much smaller. Wildlife was sparse, save for the odd eagle that swooped over top my head. For as serene and tranquil the peaks were, there was very little life up there.

Given that there is nothing sustainable at the peak, why did I feel so strongly about reaching the top? Why go through all the toil and sweat? I pondered this as the clouds wisped by and morphed into anything my imagination desired. And that's when it hit me. The spirited man cannot reject the call of the wild. The perspectives gained – to fearlessly explore – and lessons learned – that nature has its place for everything and it is all in balance – are invaluable.

I feel my most creative and best self when immersed in nature and this hike only reinforced that. After being stuck for months, I finally felt unimpeded and free. It's of no surprise that all this inspiration tied seamlessly back into music making. Because of that I fearlessly used all kinds of different FX (auto panning, phasers, delays, harmonized reverb) to capture the spaced out vibe of the track (a lot of it didn't make it into the final mix). I struck a perfect balance between adding synth layers and only using the bare essentials. With momentum on my side, I finished the bulk of the track in the week after the hike. I think the hike freed my mind, and gave it a much needed creative respite.

I'm well aware that going on a huge hike or a bunch of trips just to get over writer's block isn't sustainable. But simply knowing you have ability to get over writer's block, gives you the reassurance not to succumb to it in the future.