Q&A with UD
What does DJing mean to you?
DJ-ing for me is much more than partying or playing music or playing tracks back to back, it is an Art form where you can express yourself with Music. I’ve always said “Djing for me isn’t only How we do it, it’s also about Why we do it!’
How and Why did you become a DJ?
That would go way back in time in the early 90s when I first heard my first mixtape, where the tracks were half and played back to back and I found that really interesting. I tried recreating that with multiple cassette decks and audiotapes, just trying fade-ins fade-outs with the volume knobs on those decks, I thought I was good at it and decided to do it for a friends party and that went well….guess that’s WHEN lt all started in my head.
I participated in my first Inter-college War of DJs, with primitive gear and skills, I didn’t even know the basics of DJ-ing, I practiced my entire set with a calculator, timing my starts and stops and learning them by heart…I somehow got it right and WON that competition, there I met a few DJs and they agreed to teach me the Basics and that’s HOW it started.
When did you start DJing and what was your first big DJ moment?
I started Dj-ing properly during college times in the 2000s, I would DJ for friends and then moved on to Djing for my College, then other colleges, clubs, weddings, corporate… and now Online
FIRST BIG MOMENT: A few big and important ones, but the one that is very special is winning the First WAR OF DJs, coz that started it all for me
What and who were your early passions and influences?
My first Access to the Dj-ing world was SPIN DJs academy, so the DJs there Dj Lloyd, Dj Regi, then Dj Akbar Sami have been a great influence and still continue to be. Apart from that, looking at International Djs and getting to know about various music Styles of Music, I started following them and learning from them. FatBoy Slim was one and still remains one of the biggest influences, his energy, and innovation at every gig is still the same as it was when I first saw him. Another DJ I look up to is Eric Prydz, the attention to detail in his shows is mind-blowing
What are some of the main challenges for a DJ?
In the Age of Social Media, DJs are Judged by their number of followers and Social Media presence than their actual Talent and Experience. Sadly promoters don’t care about who is Dj-ing as long as they pull in crowds or guarantee a number of people. Very Few Venues actually care about the Music and actually have a Great Lineup of DJs.
Secondly, the DJ community doesn’t have an Association and its every man for himself, that’s why there’s a mess, agencies like IPRS, PPL and 10 other are Fleecing us regularly also there are no guidelines and benchmark for DJs, a result of which anyone with a laptop and a 500 song bank calls himself a Dj and works at ridiculous amounts, in return screwing the scene
What shows do you host?
I Host ‘The Bollywood Club.’
It’s an awesome opportunity to play Bollywood music to listeners not only in India but across the Globe
How do you prep for a set?
I take each Show or Set as my first one, and am still jittery before each one of them, I have, over the time, learned to prepare myself for every gig, it’s more like a mental checklist and I try to visualize how I want it to go, I check a few factors like the venue, the sound system, and the crowd and the type of event, then plan my music accordingly. I can’t play the music I play at a college festival at a wedding, or a wedding set at a corporate show, each show is different, the people are different, the energies are different. So knowing the crowd and what to play for them is Very Very Important.
Radio Sets are usually Easier, as it gives the DJ a lot of room to experiment and innovate and people (listeners) are far more receptive to the shows on Air
Recommend a DJ which you feel deserves more attention
It’s difficult to name one but most of the DJs at Electroinfected are really awesome and I hope they make it BIG and get more attention
What’s the difference for you in playing at a gig and playing on the Radio?
They both are completely different worlds.
Live shows are all about the people and you as a DJ have to play to the Crowd, it’s a completely different experience playing live and getting instant feedback and vibes from the crowd, but the flip side is that you have to stick to the basics, you have limited room to experiment as there are a number of things happening in real-time like making sure you are building up your set and pacing it by checking the pulse of the crowd, handling requests, interacting with people.
Radio on the other and gives you more creative freedom, people are more receptive to different styles of music, also its interesting playing for the Radio as you don’t know about your audience, they could be chilling at home, out on drives, pre-partying…so in a way you are playing for yourself from your studio or home and that reaches out to listeners to all over the world.
Can you describe your state of mind during a DJ set? What supports this ideal state of mind and what are distractions?
My State of Mind depends on the Gigs I am playing at, mostly it’s chilled unless there is this weird vibe where you realise that the crowd just wants a jukebox and not a Dj. But I am quite selective of my gigs and know what I am getting into, so the state of mind is quite chilled.
Factors supporting an ideal state of mind are firstly and most importantly a Great Crowd. A good responsive crowd can really bring out the Best in any Dj and that inspires me to put in that extra effort in my gig, Other factors like a great sound system, visuals, co-artist also play an important role.
Distractions, I think some people can get really annoying with requests…those sometimes can get on my nerves
What is one track that never gets old for you no matter how many times you hear it?
There are so many tracks and it’s so difficult to choose one, but if I have to, then its got to be: DAYS GO BY – DIRTY VEGAS
What have you learned since you started out as a DJ?
I’ve learned to understand Music Better, I have learned to read the crowd better…I have learned how music can influence people and you, as a Dj are responsible for that.
That said, there is so much more to learn and every day / every Gig teaches us something new
What advice will you give to aspiring DJs?
I would advise them to take Dj-ing very Seriously and look beyond the parties, the alcohol, and fame
Use this platform to view Music as art
Don’t be content playing the top 40s
Don’t pigeonhole yourself in a single genre, listen to all genres from all over the world
Look at other DJs for inspiration but don’t ape them
Innovate and create your own identity
Have fun and Be Humble
How did Electro Infected come into your path?
I have known Saahil for a long long time and through him, I knew about Electroinfected. I used to be an avid listener, till one day I got a call from him asking me to do a small set. I remember my first show on EI, I did a 45 min RETRO set and that was my entry to the awesome EI family
What’s your vision for Electro Infected?
I’ve always loved EI, but I’ve seen a shift in gear post-Covid, where every DJ is involved, the number of shows have increased, and the number of listeners have gone up which is awesome!
I think we are in the right direction and with all our combined talent and experience, I would love to see it reaching greater heights and while continuing to increase our online presence, we should be out there having a Musical Festival of our own