Artist Session #12: GoodMostlyBad talks about musical roots, access, and finding power through sound

GoodMostlyBad, London-based Mehar Bedi’s musical alias remains determined to carve out space and challenge societal norms through her unapologetic brand of electronic music.

Artist Session #12:  GoodMostlyBad talks about musical roots, access, and finding power through sound

By Akriti & Shashwat Hota

GoodMostlyBad, London-based Mehar Bedi’s musical alias remains determined to carve out space and challenge societal norms through her unapologetic brand of electronic music. From DJing for enjoyment to addressing social issues like gender inequality, her music serves as a platform for self-expression and empowerment. Her upcoming EP reflects a newfound confidence and maturity, without losing her distinct flavour and simultaneously showcasing her growth as an artist. 

We spoke about her earliest memories of music, reflecting on the influence of her family's diverse tastes and her approach to sampling iconic tunes from Farida Khanum’s ‘Aaj Jaane Ki Zid Na Karo’ to the 2000’s remix era smash hit ‘Kaanta Laga’ remix by DJ Doll. The whole conversation left me with these lines from the seminal Walt Whitman poem, ‘I am large, I contain multitudes.’ Through her music, she has continuously explored her unique identity and I wanted to know more about her experiences as a music producer and DJ in India, Qatar, and now London. 

Akriti: What are some of your most cherished and earliest memories of music in your life? 

GoodMostlyBad: It’s definitely going and purchasing music with my mom, listening to her cassettes first and later CDs. I remember we had that quintessential AIWA sound system, something you found in most middle-class homes. I listened to a lot of my mother's early favourites such as Bob Dylan, Dire Straits, Eric Clapton and music from the 70’s. Apart from that, I was also heavily influenced by my grandma who grew up in Lahore, Pakistan listening to Ghazals and “Sher-o-shairi” (Poetry) and she also wrote a lot of poetry herself. I have fond memories of going to Qawwalis with her. 

Akriti: When and how did your journey with music begin? When did you have that first thought of doing music professionally? 

 GMB: I think it happened much later in life but there were these hints that life was throwing at me for a very long time since I was a kid because I went to a private Catholic girl's school. I was one of the only army kids, while everyone else came from extensive “business backgrounds.” I had no concept of how things worked because for me it was “army life” and then there were the “civilians,” and I did not know how to manoeuvre in that society. I was 13/14 when I started listening to a lot of Hip-hop and Rap music like G-Unit and 50 Cent. For me, Hip-hop will always be my first love. It’s the rebellion and lyricism and storytelling that’s everything! For me music is and always will be about going against the system. That's just who I am. In the beginning, I started Djing just for jokes but it was only once I started producing, I started to get serious about music. Production is a never-ending learning process and that’s something that I love about it. Getting to learn everyday just makes it all the more exciting. As far as Djing goes, that’s the time I have the most fun and I’m just there to make people have a good time. 

Akriti: Yeah, definitely. I feel like the more artists I speak to, the people whose music I love the most are the ones who do not take themselves too seriously. It's not too over thought-out or too complex. That is the most beautiful music, at least for me. 

GMB: Oh, 100%. But that is what ties in with your music having an identity, right? Why is it going to be fun to listen to if there isn’t some very unserious element to it? For me, sampling for example, is something that would be so ridiculous that​​ I just have to put it into a tune. Who wants to make serious music anyway? And just because you have elements of not taking yourself seriously while making music does not mean you're not a serious producer. 

Akriti: I was listening to your rework of ‘Aaj Jaane ki Zid Na Karo’ by Farida Khanum and I remember you mentioned the correlation between that song and your grandmother to me. You also sampled ‘Kaanta Laga’ in ‘Very Berry’. What is your approach when you sample these iconic tunes? 

GMB: I don't make a lot of edits. The one’s I have made are these old-school Indian classics that are evergreen. Plus, I have breathed and lived these tunes. Some tunes are just iconic like that and so sexually empowered! Gosh I miss that! 

Akriti: Yes! It was the sexual awakening of the Indian music industry. 

GMB: And then it stopped! It was there for 10 years and then it just went away. It is the music that I grew up on. Pop culture at that time was very strong in India. It had started to become so sexually empowered. I was there for it. It's sad that it does not exist anymore because it feels like we've just regressed as a society, haven't we? These are tunes that have left a defining mark in my life and so when I made these edits I felt like I can't ruin this. It must be better. It must be with respect, with love.

Akriti: You said something about music having an identity. You've lived in India, Qatar, and now London. You've been exposed to different spaces as an artist and as a consumer. How do you think Middle Eastern and Indian sounds have shaped your sound?  

GMB: I think for a long time, I was very confused about what my sound was really going to be. Especially in the last couple of years, where everybody is embracing their identities and where they are from, putting that into their music and letting their music represent their identities. It became a bit of a struggle because I was thinking, what is my identity? I'm a North Indian from Chandigarh, who never lived there. I was brought up in Maharashtra and Chennai and then I moved to the Middle East. Now I'm in the United Kingdom. I feel connected to places that I've lived because of the experiences and defining moments I lived through in all these places. There is a special space that all these places hold yet I know that's not who I am. This has been my life and it's unique. There are certain influences that I’ve subconsciously picked up that come into the music on its own, without trying to force something that feels unnatural. I don't feel this pressure of representing my culture through music. I think so many artists do it amazingly though, it's just natural and it’s who they are and that's how it should be. Just because I'm brown doesn’t mean I need to represent a whole culture. 

Akriti: I want to talk about your EP Shawty 3.0 with Scuffed records. Tell us a little about working on it. 

GMB: With Shawty 3.0, I wanted to experiment with sound design. That's why all three tunes are a lot slower. I wanted to explore the idea of deeper body movements.  to explore sound design over music making, because I think the two are quite different. So there are a lot of intricate layers that exist there. I also wanted it to be a solo listening experience, which you can have with yourself and not just in a club setting. I try to do that with most of my music where I just want people to enjoy it because how much are you going to be in the club anyway? It was also just me being a little bit silly because Shawty 3.0 is basically me taking a dump on the whole Web 3.0 scene that was going around at that time. So that's how I came up with Shawty 3.0. That's why all the names are very web3-ish. For instance, ‘NFT’ but the full form is ‘Nice fucking titties’

Akriti: What about your recent release for the ‘Free Palestine’ compilation, on ‘Human Endeavor’? It was such a good track and a great compilation. A lot of good tracks on that.

GMB: Thank you. That was such a great project to be a part of. Rosie, who runs ‘Human Endeavor,’ reached out and I was more than happy to do it. It’s a sub-label of ‘Ransom Note' that she has been running for the last two years and has done a wonderful job with it. ​​I think the compilation is amazing as a whole! I wrote ‘No Disco Just Panic’ a couple of years ago right after having a terrible panic attack. I was feeling some type of way and I just thought I’d write about it. I feel like it is such a good fit with the emotion of what we are trying to support because it is no disco, just panic and the two sentiments came together well.  

Akriti: About your upcoming EP which I obviously heard, I just want to say I'm obsessed. I also feel like since I've been hearing your music from the very beginning and it's amazing to see how you've not stuck to a mould. This EP feels a bit more like you know your shit. It's tight.  

GMB: Thanks! It is going to be with Reel Long Overdub (RLO). They're such a lovely label and a non-profit organisation. They're based out of London. Monophonik also released an EP with them and then did a compilation called ‘Reel Small World’. I was on that compilation and that's how we started to chat and they were interested in releasing more stuff with me. We've been sitting on this EP for a year now and they've been very patient and they are like, ‘Take your time.’ I'm not sure when it's going to come out but I'm hoping for June/July. I can say, it is about sex. This is more “intentionally sexual” just because I think it might just be about fucking yourself. 

Akriti: What are some of the things that have been challenging for you to access, if at all, due to your gender in music? 

GMB: I think it was not about access because obviously, I did come from a more privileged background. I think for me it was always about having more support perhaps. Also, it’s really bothersome that there are no women who are behind the scenes. There are some amazing women managing great artists but we need more women promoters and DJs who have their own parties going or own festivals and labels. Everything is very male-dominated. It’s the same everywhere I guess, but I do see more women here behind the scenes, creating opportunities. I think the way gender will be celebrated is when you have the power to create opportunities. If I, as a woman, have the power and space to create opportunities for other women, that is definitely going to be of a certain quality. There need to be more spaces taken up by people from all genders, not just men, so that it's not skewed. 

Akriti: It's interesting that we are talking about spaces because I want to know, what are some key differences in how the music scenes functioned in these different places? And what are some of these industry practices that we can adopt on a more global scale? 

GMB: Well, one significant difference I see between here (London) and India is the lack of community. Qatar doesn’t really have an Electronic or Independent music scene as such. They do have their own Contemporary and Classical music, but not the things I was experimenting with at the time. Even with all the artists I met in Qatar, there’s such a sense of community among them, no matter where they are geographically. In London, there’s a strong community of artists and one thing I noticed was that no one talks shit about others, which is quite common in the Indian nightlife scene because of the glaring lack of community. It’s a very transactional space, and everyone is ready to undercut the other person, which I just don’t understand. For instance, in London there are loads of artists who are throwing their own parties that are so sick, you don’t have to be a “big artist” to be in that power dynamic and that’s so refreshing.

A lot of the parties that I have played over here are University kids who love music and are paying out of pocket or whatever they get from the door to pay artists. It will probably be at a smaller club, but it will be a sick crowd and the energy will be going off because it's just so pure! Personally, I love playing smaller venues, which I don't get to do most of the time. I would only play the tiny intimate sets if I could! 

Akriti: Do you feel releasing music on labels has more pros or cons compared to releasing independently?

GMB: I have released a lot of music independently, but the thing is that when you release with labels, people start looking at your work in a more serious way, which is weird for me because that's not what is making it serious. I was doing it seriously before that. Now I'm trying to strike a good balance between self-release and a few label releases. I am not pressed about going after big labels. I want to work with labels where they want to spend more time in artist development and want to give their artists a lot more access. We were talking about access earlier and why am I working with a label? To get access to things that I would not have if I did this all by myself. Because they’re going to platform me in the right way. That's become important to me because it is both, give and take. I have become more intentional with why I am doing music. I feel a lot of people my age who are producers, or even older, for some reason, think that everyone is more intentional and doing this for a certain reason. No one is trying to make a career. If it doesn't happen, no one cares. There is a certain satisfaction in that. I don’t care if this isn’t my career because I would rather have this life where I choose to do this every day rather than having to do it every day. There is a big difference between the two. I don't want to attach that emotion to my music.

Check out the HIVEWIRE playlist - The Hive

One 'The Hive' is where our diverse team shares new music and trends from emerging markets. New additions this week:

Interesting reads from last week:

>>> Ingenerative AI and music, will nice guys finish last? ( 

Misaligned incentives have already been a problem when it comes to labels, streaming services, and artists. Now with AI, tech startups have also become stakeholders in the game. Generative AI models are being trained on catalogues of music without the companies wanting to pay a penny for the use. Labels or publishers should take up this responsibility but are they intellectually and financially ready to invest in generative AI? Rather than asking for royalties over catalogue usage, if they work on joint ventures or partnerships with these tech companies, it will be a win-win situation for both. 

>>>Missing the Monoculture - by Shawn Reynaldo - First Floor ( 

When you are with your friends, and you cannot decide on a song, let alone a playlist to listen to as a shared experience, that is the loss of monoculture. In today’s scene, because the fans are so fragmented, we do not see any artist or any piece of music that binds everyone together. Monoculture has become a part of because of the lack of attention. Attention spans have become a rare commodity. When everyone is driven by customised algorithms where they might live on a separate timeline than their neighbours, finding similar tastes is tough. 

>>>Company behind Mahogany Sessions YouTube channel launches DIY distribution service for artists - Music Business Worldwide 

Expanding its business from a YouTube channel in 2010 to starting its own label, Mahogany Records in 2017 and then going into a label solutions partnership with Believe, Mahogany now has launched its own distribution platform, Mahogany Songs, with Aine Deane going to be their first artist with her EP coming up later this year. Mahogany has been instrumental in the nascent stages of the careers of many big names in music. Dom Wallace, who has previously worked with Spotify, has been assigned the role of label and marketing manager.