In the lush expanses of Navi Mumbai, a twin city of Mumbai, abundant talent can be found. Mumbai is a leading force across various music and cinema genres, and notably in Hip Hop. Labels like Mass Appeal India and Gully Gang Records have played pivotal roles in nurturing chart-topping voices from Navi Mumbai and beyond. In the suburban region called Vashi, resides an exceptionally gifted young musician known as Garud Honcho, eagerly awaiting his shot at stardom.
Garud Honcho, whose real name is Swaraj Garud, embodies the essence of a hustler within his identity as a rapper. He steers his budding career with unwavering determination. His journey, colored by his rich Mumbai heritage, strikes a chord with those who perceive the sincerity in his lyrics and the underlying power in his humility. Although he stands at the earliest stages of his musical expedition, his trajectory speaks volumes of his innate talent. While engrossed in his profession as an architect, Garud Honcho could not have foreseen that his artistic expression would resonate with so many listeners upon its debut.
The revelation of his musical brilliance dawned upon Honcho during his school years, prompting him to engage in music on the sidelines. He released an unofficial album that is now reshaping the course of Garud’s future. This marked the inception of his rise, leading him to craft tracks for exciting projects, with some unreleased singles and others awaiting their turn for inclusion in his official debut album.
Right from the start of our conversation with Garud Honcho, his aspiration and focus were palpable. He tackles every opportunity headfirst, hoping that the music he is creating will resonate with listeners who may be overlooked yet continue to forge ahead with confidence. Our extensive and fun interview with this emerging artist delves into his roots, the creation of his debut album, his influences, upcoming music, his candid vision, and the challenge of maintaining authenticity within an industry that often obscures one’s uniqueness.
This conversation was edited and condensed for clarity.
Garud Honcho Interview
1. Who’s Garud Honcho? Tell us about yourself.
“Garud Honcho is like an alter ego to this architect, namely Swaraj Garud.
I started writing when I was 16, but I really got a grip on delivery after I began recording on my mobile phone during the lockdown. Previously, I used to confidently deliver songs by Eminem and Divine during my college fests and school meets. I received appreciation and positive responses from my friends, cousins, and various competitions. I then focused on my content after listening to various artists and started studio recording around 2021. Since then, I’ve been balancing my work in architecture with my love for hip-hop.”
2. So, I see that you’re a Navi Mumbai native. Mumbai has been producing hitmakers and talents for as long as I can remember. What inspired you to pursue music, and do you have any plans to pursue it professionally in the near future?
“Yes, definitely. I’d like to do so. I’m specifically from Vashi. That’s where I was brought up by my parents and grandparents. Being a single child, I had this sensitive perspective towards friendship, respect, competition, betrayal, and envy. I got inspired by the freedom that this art form called rap holds. Creativity brought exposure along with it. I also love designing structures and buildings, so I pursued architecture. But my balance has always been on and off. However, music is something that I breathe. So, yeah, melodies and lyrics are something I really wish to deliver, because I have a lot of fresh material in my head.”
3. I heard your debut project ‘Vashise Compton.’ Could you discuss the project’s inception and concept? And why did you opt to release an EP rather than individual tracks, which is the more common approach for most emerging artists?
“Vashise Compton’ was an album I made and uploaded on Instagram TV (IGTV). It consisted of a lot of songs, but Spotify’s copyright restrictions led to the EP format.
‘Vashise Compton’ was a call for the scene to be aware of what’s coming. It included not only rap flow, melodies, and wordplay, but also truth, emotion, and varied energy.”
4. Can you provide insights into each track on the EP? And could you also share your experiences and challenges during its making?
“The tracks weren’t specifically ordered, but ‘Booze’ and ‘Bhookhe’ hinted and spoke about my upcoming album related to flexing, boozing, and chilling, while conveying how thirsty and hungry we are. ‘Memory Lane’ was a melodious journey towards positivity and balance, hinting at motivation to clear the air among haters.
‘Coastguards’ was a delightful, flexy track with my friend Vshall that hit hard lyrically. He also featured in ‘Booze.’ ‘Gumshuda’ is similar to ‘Bhookhe’ as it has its twist in the upcoming album.
Overall, the tracks define individuality and connectivity simultaneously. The difficulties have been overcome by the very feeling called hip-hop, and that’s what keeps me doing it — getting better.”
5. Your sound reminded me of Bohemia and Divine upon hearing the EP’s first track. Could you shed light on your sound’s influences and your favorite artists?
“I was inspired by Divine big time. I also heard Eminem and Lil Wayne, but I loooved Jay-Z and Kanye. Later, I grew fond of Drake. However, Kanye is my all-time favorite. I also love drillers like Curly Savv, Fivio Foreign, and many English rappers, along with J. Cole and Kendrick.
They all inspire me with their respective strong styles and bring out the best in me.”
6. Your music is very different from what’s in the scene, and I believe you are going to shine brighter in the future. So, how would you define your music? Like, my music is for people that…?
“My music is very eclectic, arising from a place of mixed emotions that convey realistic and relatable advice, attitude adjustments, and much more. My music is for people who believe in themselves and are ready to accept and expect more from the world at every point in their lives, regardless of the hurdles they face. Surrounding oneself with the right people is crucial. You can also be alone and find your best friend within you. My music should uplift confidence, send positive thoughts to my listeners, and empower them to pursue their dreams.”
7. Could you tell us about any ongoing projects or collaborations?
“I’m working on my album, Liquor Diary, which revolves around my experiences with boozing, chilling, and the learning phase, focusing on the pros and cons while transmitting energy. It’s going to be a delightful experience all around. Everyone needs to stay tuned. I might also release a couple of singles.
I’m clearly aiming to excel with every project. Let’s see!”
8. Okay, what can we expect from Garud Honcho in the future in terms of sound, topics, and the balance between commercial and artistic approaches?
“I’m not particularly interested in the commercial aspect of it. The artistic approach is always about growth and improvement over time. I have plans lined up for the end of this year and the years to come, but I’m taking it step by step. My plan for the future involves exploring different sentiments through sound, authentically writing them down, and encouraging new ideas to be implemented.”