Who Is This Guy?


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Some people know me as Elton, the name I inherited from my dad, and I’ve been Shyam (“shee-yahm”) since my parents began studying Indian culture many years ago. My quest for fulfillment through sound, words, and spirituality has taken me all over the world, from a commune in Tennessee and a boarding school near the Taj Mahal to the New York offices of Rolling Stone. I’ve been a roadie for swordsmen from the Burmese border, a cook for a Miami Beach ashram, a booker at a tiny music venue, an intern at a drum & bass label, a kirtan bassist in South Africa and Australia, a producer of folk-music sessions in China, a drummer for a Polish Hare Krishna reggae band, a studio musician on albums of Sanskrit chants, and a chronicler of bass-guitar stores in Japan.

Most people know me as:

An award-winning sound designer/composer

A word nerd and music journalist

A Grammy-nominated bass fanatic

A stage, studio, and touring musician

A musical midwife for childbirth and the dying

Currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area, I write about music, perform, and design immersive and richly textured sonic environments for theater, film, and personal audio.