Pop music is like a blind date, says 'Iconyk' aka Nikhil Malik
This Mumbai and Los Angeles-based pop-rap producer and DJ has just recorded the first installment of his series of Instagram-based collaborative projects, titled Strangers in My Bedroom
Known by his moniker Iconyk, producer and multi-instrumentalist Nikhil Malik has forayed into many spaces in music over more than a decade.
This Mumbai and Los Angeles-based pop-rap producer and DJ has just recorded the first installment of his series of Instagram-based collaborative projects, titled Strangers in My Bedroom.
The project has a sound that is predominantly modern pop-R&B with a touch of fusion. In the first episode, Malik can be seen jamming alongside Delhi-based singer-songwriter Tyesha Kohli on American singer-songwriter Kehlani’s song, ‘Honey’.
The artist admits that despite dabbling across genres, he never thought he “belonged to any ‘scene’”. That would explain how when he was busy with Hindi rock, English music was what got the sound world spinning, and when electronic got dance floors abuzz, Malik was busy with blues rock with Delhi band, Half Step Down.
One would have imagined that this multifaceted artist boasts a musical lineage. Far from it.
Both his parents are doctors and like any kid, his childhood was mostly about video games. But music got to him early.
Malik discovered the joys of “making” music when he was only 14.
Three years on, he along with his brother—Canadian producer-singer UpsideDown—had recorded and produced an album that ended up selling more than 5,000 copies. In creating music, Malik’s primary sources of inspiration are sounds, conversations, good food and long walks, he says.
Talking about his latest project, he says that he was inspired by the beautiful voices of various artists that he heard over Instagram. “The fact that I’ve never met these musicians in real life practically makes them strangers,” he says.
The featured collaborator on the first episode—Kohli—says that she and Malik both shared a love for Kehlani, whose track they chose.
“Malik completely flipped the track over and made it sound super different, yet keeping it in sync with the original sound,” says Kohli. The second installment featuring Chennai-based singer-songwriter Nitika Kurian will be out soon, and the third episode will feature LA/Mumbai-based singer-songwriter Nikitaa.
Malik, who likes to call himself ‘India’s Kanye West’, rues that there is a common misconception among music producers that pop music is easy to write. According to him, it is one of the hardest things to create. “Half the time is spent on experimenting. Making pop music is like a blind date—you don’t know what you’re going to start or end with. All you know is that it has to be great to get someone hooked,” he explains.
Besides his ongoing collaborative project, Malik is also working towards his next single—X, With Love. It is a modern take on moving on from a relationship with a positive mindset. The track will be available on all streaming platforms in October.
“It’s an emotional rollercoaster but it’s pretty pop and upbeat,” he reveals. For someone who has made a living out of pop music since his teen years, Malik advocates that he is “not actively trying to write pop music, I just like to make what I like listening to”. If that is the case, he sure has an ear for the right kind of ‘pop’.
✥ Malik moved to Toronto, Canada, at the age of 15
✥ In the past, he has been part of well-known Delhi-based bands, such as Blank Noise, Half Step Down, Cyanide and Meattle & Malik (along with singer songwriter Raghav Meattle)
✥ He has also composed music for a number of films
✥ His 2019 debut single ‘Fallin’ featured in Spotify’s major international playlists
✥ Malik’s previous release ‘Chill At Least’ came out earlier this year in July. Born out of boredom, the slow-burn pop-rap meets R&B single has him teaming up with UpsideDown.