Want to be a DJ? Here’s how!
By Manpreet Kaur
New Delhi, Oct 13, With techno, trance, and hip hop taking over young minds, DJing has become a serious career option in India now. Experts say passion for music, technical expertise and a sharp eye are important elements in making people dance to your tunes.
“For beginners, it is very important to understand what exactly is expected from a DJ. First and foremost DJs need to have undying passion for music – it is a must for anyone who wants to be successful in this industry,” DJ Tuhin, who hails from Chennai and has been in the industry for 19 years, told IANS.
“Secondly, ‘musical knowledge’ is the basis on which they can stand – the DJ should know what he is playing, he needs to be well versed with the kind of music he is playing.
“They also need to be techno freaks – we call them ‘gizmo geek’ in slang. With the advancement in technology they need to have a high degree of technical expertise.
“Last but not the least the DJ should understand that he is the presenter of the night. He should have command on the crowd and his biggest challenge is to make his presence felt in the gathering.”
DJ Arjun, who won the Disco Mix Club (DMC) World Championship in 1990, gives importance to observation power.
“Observation is the key to success for them to have a strong foothold in the industry. When I started we did not have the internet facility to gain knowledge – we only relied on magazines and our own observation skills, which were most helpful.”
Most DJs enjoy their job, jazzing up parties by mixing tunes, forming beats and creating the right ambience in the club. With parties becoming an essential part of urban life, DJing has evolved as a profession.
The art of DJing is said to have been introduced by Ray Newby of Stockton, California, in 1909. He is still known as the world’s first radio disc jockey. At the age of 16, he began playing records on a small spark transmitter.
In India the trend caught up in the early 1990s and some DJs who have earned popularity are Aqeel, Nikhil Chinappa and Suketu.
Women are also making a mark in this otherwise male dominated industry. Dosa and Anamika – who is also known as DJ Agni – are two female DJs who have carved a niche for themselves.
“The DJ industry has always been known as male dominating, but now women are gearing up to enter this world. Their numbers may be nowhere near but the growth of women in the sector in the last few years has been remarkable,” DJ Pearl, who is married to Nikhil Chinappa, told IANS.
“It is not an easy ride and that is what scares women specially from entering the industry. Due to the Indian mentality, women are kept under wraps. But with Westernisation, Indian girls are now becoming bold. I never had to face family restrictions but that is a major issue girls have to face.”
“A lot of issues like eve teasing, harassment are prominent. Girls don’t opt for the profession fearing these difficulties,” she said.
Industry insiders say beginners usually don’t get much — they take home Rs.1,000 to Rs.1,500 per night and those in the middle segment charge Rs.15,000 to Rs.25,000. But the popular ones usually sign contracts and their charges vary from Rs.100,000 to Rs.200,000 per contract.
While DJing is becoming a lucrative career option, DJ Arjun says it is always good to have additional skills to survive in the long run.
“The scope has to widen, as our approach is not limited to India alone. International forums are offered and the more an individual has additional skills, the more beneficial it is in the long run. Bollywood remixes are just a stepping stone. Formats like ring tones, video games, graphic advertisements have opened many doors,” said Arjun.
Those who see it as a career option take formal training from Mumbai-based institutes like Splinters DJ School and Azaredo Acoustics. There are a few in Delhi too like Born Idol School of Music and Spin Gurus DJ & Remixing Academy.
(Manpreet Kaur can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)