Trance

Confessions of an electronic music DJ

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“Jalebee Cartel is monotonous, but they play to a rich, drugged crowd, so they don’t have to try that hard”

I’ve always been into music, so being a DJ was a natural choice. It’s fun. You get to party, to be around interesting people, and you get lots of goodies. When you’re playing, you get everything you want: free hotel room, free food, free booze, and free drugs. There’s always coke going around, spliffs going around. You are the music, and they want the music, so you’re the star, kind of.

I love playing in Bonobo in Mumbai, and don’t like playing for corporate crowds, the stiff, aggressive kind who are into rock and pubs. I also don’t like playing in Delhi: it’s yuppiesh and upmarket. I don’t like playing to 16-year-old kids. They’re into the music, but they’re not mature enough to get it. They dance like crazy, it’s almost funny. They look like they’re freaking out or something, their arms flailing fast.

Most DJs in India don’t play very good music. DJ Whosane’s music has no groove, it’s really dead. I can’t imagine how people dance to it, but I guess they’re drunk enough to dance to anything. Jalebee Cartel is monotonous, but they play to a rich, drugged crowd, so they don’t have to try that hard. I mean, any moron can put on a house loop and make an electronic track. The Medieval Pundits is the No 1 bad band. They’re just like, oh God, super cheesy, and their music is hyped up and unoriginal. It’s the house or techno loop playing again and again for 10 years.

I’ve played in Berlin, Vienna, Lille, London… the crowd there is more knowledgeable. You gotta really kick it for them to get into it. India is a good 10 or 15 years behind. Everybody’s into cheesy beat music, a mash of Europop with Bollywood and vocals and drums and fusion. Worst of all, though, is trance, though thankfully it’s pretty much dead everywhere except in Delhi farmhouses. It really screws your mind up, with those beats going haywire, going dung-a dung-a dung. People who are into trance are total idiots. They do too much drugs and watch too much TV. Unfortunately, they also sell me my hash, so I have to spend some time with them.

(He has been an electronic music DJ for ten years)

As told to Shruti Ravindran