Krishan Khalsa: Artist, Producer, Sound Engineer and Beautiful Human!
If you’ve been to a Sat Nam Fest in the last 10 years, you know the amazing work Krishan does with sound and lighting. Krishan’s company has run the sound for us for many years. In addition, he has produced amazing albums with us from Jai-Jagdeesh, GuruGanesha, Snatam Kaur and many more. Krishan is a never-ending fountain of love and kindness and works tirelessly so that every project is presented with flawless perfection.
We caught up with him for a little Q&A to see how he’s doing in these turbulent times.
What are your top tips on how you use music to stay calm?
These days I turn to music to distract my mind from all of the thoughts running through it. I have music playing around me almost all the time unless I’m on the phone or needing to focus on a task. My favorites lately have been Trevor Hall and Olafur Arnalds. I also have a Sim Redmond Band album called “Good Thoughts” that I’ve played for many years to cheer me up when I’m down. I have certain songs or albums that I play when I want to feel a certain feeling or when I need a shift. I’m introverted by nature which basically means that I recharge my energy by cultivating “me time” or extended quiet moments. I live in a community house with my partner and 3 others so it can be challenging to create quiet time, especially now while we are all sheltered at home due to Covid. I like to go for walks around the neighborhood in the early evening when the sun starts to go down and the heat starts to dissipate. I have some great noise-canceling headphones that shut out the world around me. I walk without any agenda of how long I need to walk, or whether or not I’m going to get a workout. If I can get out to a trail even better.
How are you handling life in the current state of the pandemic?
This year has been really hard. I’ve had my live events business get completely shut down for what may be a long time while we stumble through how to handle this virus. I’ve been processing a lot of intense emotions surrounding trauma that I experienced in my childhood. I’ve been deeply affected by the state of our country and the atrocities committed against our African American brothers and sisters. It’s been hard to feel hopeful, to be honest. Most days I find myself in a bit of an existential crisis. I’m grateful to have a great partner and friends that I call my family that I can turn to when I need support. But, some days I just need a good cry. Some days I need to talk. But every day I try to be just a little productive. There’s always a million things on my to-do list and if I can accomplish something really small every day then I know I am moving forward. It’s been important for me to be kind to myself and let go of any idea that I should be feeling, doing, or accomplishing anything more than I am.
Are you working on anything new or working in any new ways that you can share?
I’ve got a few projects I’m producing right now that I’m excited about. I’ve shared a studio with Dave Stringer for many years and I’ve been really excited about the work we’ve been doing together. We’re creating music that I’ve never heard before and that’s a fun process. We’re blending styles and pushing boundaries. We’re working with insanely talented players that make really complicated music seem effortless. I’ve completely redesigned and rebranded my music production business in the last few months as well. My latest work can be found at www.dragonflyrecordings.com. I’ve produced many mantra albums in my career and I’ve been feeling the need to shift my focus to working with young singer-songwriters. I’ve been spending time every few days to search for new music and reach out to the artists I feel a connection to. Surprisingly, this shut down has made people more open to connecting just for the sake of connecting and I’ve started some new relationships with a zoom call meet ‘n greet, which I think would’ve been out of the question a year ago.
So much is changing, so many people are reevaluating their path in life, is there something you could share about where you are at, your process and any new changes you’ve made?
There are only a few days over that last few months that I’ve felt like a normal human. Through all of the heavy days where I feel mountains of grief, sadness, loss, and challenge what has been helping me through is the idea of surrender. I have been thinking of this word a lot lately. What it means, and what it doesn’t mean. It doesn’t mean to give up or compromise. What it means to me is to soften so that I can flow with the tides. When I’m rigid and angry, and I want to fight battles with my obstacles I’m in a state of resistance that doesn’t allow me to get what I need. If I can soften through the challenges and be able to flow, I put myself in an open state and the solutions appear much faster. When I surrender I give up a little bit of my need to control the things around me and I find I drop into a calm peaceful state. I have been allowing myself to be messy and not have it all together. I’ve let those around me know what I am going through. I’ve become more vulnerable and willing to have tough conversations. I step into the challenges, even if I don’t feel up to it. And with the softness and open heart, navigate through the best that I can. I’ve also been taking a lot of time for self-care, rest, and doing things that make me feel good and grounded. It’s easy for me to just work, work, work, but lately, I’ve been practicing letting go of that mentality as well.
If you’ve been going through tough times, know that you are not alone. Reach out and connect with a loved one. Have some real talk. We all desperately need honesty and vulnerability right now.
Krishan’s Remix Albums: