Rajan Gahunia, who goes by Rajan, is no newcomer to the Canadian music industry. Having opened up for Drake at Ryerson University a year ago, he’s made his mark on Central Canada by curating engaging live shows and uptempo music that bridges the gap between modern R&B and club-worthy hip hop hits. You might have caught his multiple guest appearances recently alongside YouTube influencers, The Brampton Boys – where he previewed clips of his new music. He’s been making gain within Brampton’s scene for a minute, and the release of his debut album Atlantus warrants a greater look at his movement.
At first glance, the album stands out with its’ commendable production from established Canadian producer Eestbound (whose accolades include Travis Scott’s “Antidote”) on three of the eight tracks. Fellow Brampton artist Savv joins him for an exceptionally strong feature on “Might Be” – and potentially the most impactful number of the eight. But when you really dig into the project, its’ strength reaches past well-executed production and is rooted in Rajan’s approach to songwriting.
Full of strong bridges, and melodies – Rajan’s figured a formula to keeps listeners’ energy high, and their attention focused. What also makes him interesting as an artist is his multi-faceted creative approach – from a carefully designed visual aesthetic to his own choreographed dancing. We caught up with Rajan this past week in the days leading up the album release to talk about who he is (as an artist) and what he hopes to communicate with the project.
Stream Atlantus and check out our conversation below.
HipHopCanada: Congratulation on the new EP and thanks for speaking with us. How do you feel now that the project is out?
RAJAN: I feel relieved. It’s been a long time coming. Last year I released a song called “They” where I stepped outside of my comfort zone and experimented with a sound I wasn’t too familiar with. On this project I fully dove into the concept of taking risks musically and genre wise – and I’m happy with the final product.
HipHopCanada: For our greater Canadian audience, and many of our readers, this will be their first exposure to your music. What did you want to say with this album or communicate to listeners?
RAJAN: I just want to convey good music. I want people to feel good when they listen to my songs and I want them to be left with an experience that no one else is able to give them.
HipHopCanada: How do you characterize the music you make, and how would you describe your sound?
RAJAN: I would describe my sound as water. Water is forever shifting and changing, and I feel like sonically I am always looking for something new to create.
HipHopCanada: What do you feel is your greatest strength artistically, and did you have a clear idea of what you wanted this EP to sound like from the beginning?
RAJAN: My greatest strength artistically is that I keep an open mind and don’t set any limitations for myself. I had no idea how I wanted this EP to sound, it kind of just happened organically – sitting in the studio every night with my in-house producers Laffey & Sher.
HipHopCanada: Something that stands out on all 8 tracks on the project is your talent for writing really engaging hooks. What was your creative process like, and how do you approach song structure?
RAJAN: Song structure is the most important thing to me; it can make or break a record in my opinion. Every time I start a song I record my initial ideas/melodies on voice notes. From there I structure the song exactly how I hear it in my head and how I want other people to hear it.
HipHopCanada: You secured production from Eestbound, one of Canada’s most currently established producers, for 3 tracks on this project. How did those tracks and that collaboration come about?
RAJAN: It’s a funny story actually. Eestbound released a beat on SoundCloud called “Cocaine Fantasy” and when I heard it I was going crazy. I loved the beat so much that I ripped it off his SoundCloud and made the record the same day. We have a mutual friend and he showed Eestbound the record. Eest really liked it and from there he was down to work with me more. He’s a really talented and down to earth dude.
HipHopCanada: Where did you pull the inspiration for this album from, and what inspired the choice of name Atlantus?
RAJAN: I’ve always been a big fan of Greek Mythology. Atlantus is an under-water kingdom and my reason for choosing it is because I feel like I’m not appreciated in a sense. When you see something above land you think it’s normal, because it’s visible to the eye and makes sense. We don’t really know what goes on under-water so it’s not “normal” and it’s unfamiliar to us. I feel like I’m submerged under-water, but I embrace it and “Atlantus” feels like home in a sense.
HipHopCanada: Referring to the subject matter, how much of the experiences reflected in your music have been influenced by your hometown or environment?
RAJAN: My environment definitely influences the direction of my music whether it’s the people I’m around, the places that I go or the changes in the season.
HipHopCanada: What was the most fulfilling aspect of this process for you, and what’s been the most memorable reaction to the EP so far?
RAJAN: The most fulfilling aspect of creating this project is the fact that I got to do it with the people that are close to me – and we had a ton of fun doing it. The most memorable reaction to the EP is when I played the music for new people and they were thrown off guard and said “THIS IS YOU?”
HipHopCanada: I had the opportunity to watch some clips of the album that you performed from your show at Toronto’s MOD club – and your live show really brings your music to life. Do you have any other shows coming up that we should clock into?
RAJAN: Not yet, but I’m hoping to set up a show following the album in the next couple of months!
Watch RAJAN’s performance at Toronto’s MOD club below.
Follow Rajan on Twitter @Rajan905.
Written by Kira Hunston for HipHopCanada
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