The Audio Nomad - Diveakssh Schae (Class of ‘13)

The Audio Nomad - Diveakssh Schae (Class of ‘13)
Manjusha Ninan, Alumni Office

On the eve of the Class of 2013 celebrating their 10th Anniversary at KIS, we interview one of their upcoming and noteworthy talents Diveakssh Schae, who introduces us to the world of being an audio nomad.

About your time at KIS

Which team were you in? White House!

Which dorm did you live in? Mayvilla and Bartlett West

Your favorite teacher? Mr Ambrose

Your go-to comfort food in Kodai? Tibbs Tibbs Tibbs!

What is an audio nomad, and what made you decide that this is what you wanted to explore?

I am an audio nomad - someone that makes music from beautiful places. After 5 years of working in a job in Australia that had nothing to do with music - I had a spiritual awakening which urged me to unlock the music stuck inside me.

As I grew up in the jungles of Dandeli in South India, my inner Mowgli found the idea of creating music while reconnecting with nature very appealing. So, when I came across a campervan named ‘Spoons’, I converted her into my portable home and mobile music studio. Together, we set off into the Australian wilderness to compose the bones of my debut album.

Then, I returned to India and downsized my studio and belongings to fit into a backpack named Mukti. We traveled together across Himachal Pradesh, Ladakh, Auroville and Kodaikanal - where I eventually finished the album.

"Moments of Clarity" is a result of two years of audio nomad life and is now available on all platforms for you to experience.

Diveakssh Schae
What were some of the challenges you faced in establishing yourself?

The hardest part was taking that initial leap of faith.

For 5 years, my identity was based around my first job - working in the Operations team at an exciting startup - Uber.

To freefall from corporate life to one of a nomadic artist took a lot of trust.

Before nomad life, I carried this feeling that it was ‘just me against the world.’ After nomad life, I’ve realized that the universe is constantly conspiring to ensure your success. In other words, I now know that ‘it’s me with the world.’

My advice to students and fellow alumni following an inner calling is to take things one day at a time. Breaking down my project into small steps such as starting an Instagram page, doing online courses to level up my production skills, and completing the album track by track - is what eventually culminated in the release of my debut album.

What were the earliest influences of music in your life?

There was a night in my dorm at KIS that changed how I listen to music forever.

My roommate Talib Chitalwala cued up a song called Strobe by Deadmau5, gave me earphones and turned off the lights.

As I deeply listened for the first time, I was moved by the precision that electronic music allowed. This fascination grew as I started listening to music that Talib’s elder brother Imran (Class of 2006) sent to him on a hard drive. As I experimented with Imran’s tunes on a software called Virtual DJ, I started to notice patterns in music.

This changed how I experienced music at our weekly canteen, where our senior Shreyansh Jain would select music and mix it in a way I had never heard before.

Looking back, Kodai School is truly where my musical journey began.

Diveakssh composing from his studio in Spoons

Dreams filtering into music

Tell us about your campervan "Spoons"

We live in a world where we can make music from everywhere.

One day as I was walking along Gold Coast in Australia, I spotted a girl parked by the cliff in her campervan, writing on her laptop, with a surreal view of the beach. I asked her how she was charging her computer, and she simply pointed to the solar panel on top of her van.

In that moment, I realized that by embracing alternative living - I could make music from beautiful places.

So I returned home to Brisbane, donated most of my belongings, and crossed paths with Spoons - a 34 year old Nissan Urvan who was for sale. It was love at first sight!

A few months later, I had installed a solar panel on her roof, a folding bed inspired by Indian trains, and a minimal yet functional music studio.

Spoons & I traveled Australia for a year - making music in creative isolation. Most of the drums in the album are created from sampling the sounds of her steering wheel, doors, and indicators.

That’s why she’s the hero of the album and is featured on the cover art.

Tell us about one of the interesting people you met during the making of "moments of clarity"

In Australia - I was able to record the experience of meeting Charlie, who features in an audio story on my album. Charlie is an indigenous Elder of his tribe. I met him at a campsite, where he invited me to listen to him playing the Didgeridoo - an ancient Aboriginal instrument. He taught me that their tribes have been sharing stories through sound for generations. Through this experience, I stopped trying to write tracks, and instead started telling stories through my music.

‘Moments of Clarity’ is comprised of true and personal stories about my identity, awakening, and the events that surrounded it.

Why is storytelling through music becoming increasingly important today?

Stories hold a power that can connect us across languages, generations, and borders.

Today, the barrier to create music has reduced significantly. Where in the past you would have needed an expensive studio and a record deal, today you simply need a laptop and an internet connection. While this has led to an influx of new artists, it’s also led to a plethora of songs that sound formulaic and soulless. In other words, they don’t tell a story.

I’ve found that telling stories through sound has not just helped me unlock my musical side, but also allowed listeners to connect with universal themes in the album such as childhood, awakening, and love. This helps spark conversations and deepen the relationship between artist and audience.

Curious about how I tell stories through sound? Here’s the story of my best friend Sam (who I met in KIS), and here’s his story in music.

What is your advice to students/alumni wanting to pursue digital music?

There has never been a better time to create, and build a livelihood around your art. With affordable tools and direct ways to build an audience, we are living in the era of the independent artist.

When you’re kicking off - master the instrument you already have in front of you; whether it’s a laptop or a guitar.

When you’re hungry to learn more - don’t get lured by expensive courses in fancy universities. The actual knowledge you need is available from affordable online courses that you can do from anywhere at your own pace.

Lastly, learn about the music business by reading Ari Herstand’s book “How to make it in the new music business.”

Stuck? Reach out to me on Insta and I’d love to help you on your audio journey 🙏