Making big sound in the music circuits ever since he pioneered the EDM wave in India, we got India’s leading Dj Arjun Vagale on board for a chat as the DJ of the Month for our August issue. We discussed his inspiration, journey, music and tech preferences in a very interesting interview that is compiled here.
Exhibit: Arjun Vagale – the journey.
Arjun Vagale: Well, it’s a pretty long one of over 20 years now. I started very young, obsessed with music and I always wanted to perform. It led to joining school bands where I was totally into rock & metal. Then I discovered electronic music and thereon, various residencies around India, forming an electronic live act, and then my solo DJ career to now.
Exhibit: What inspired you you take up DJing as a profession?
Arjun: I honestly never had any another career path. I knew music is what I wanted to do right from an early age and my folks where super supportive. Genres changes but my love for music remained.
Exhibit: Share some of the challenges that you faced along the way.
Arjun: Way too many! In a country where the only form of music that is respected is Hindustani classical, it’s been a tough ride to forge a name for myself and keep pushing forward.
Exhibit: Then and now – what’s different about the EDM scene in India?
Arjun: We never really did have one, and its off the backs of a handful of DJ’s & promoters that it’s reached a space where it is now. From being a scene where there were a few clubs and no festivals in India – today we have an abundance of them in every city.
Exhibit: Electronic music scene in India right now and in the next 5 years?
Arjun: India is the last frontier and the future is bright.
Exhibit: Your best gig and your dream gig?
Arjun: Cannot pick one best, there are a few – BPM Festival in Mexico, Baum in Bogota, Womb in Tokyo, Wonderfruit Festival in Thailand and Supersonic in India. Dream gig – well, I’m playing at Awakenings this summer and that has been on my to-do list for a long time!
Exhibit: Elaborate on your label and other initiatives.
Arjun: I run a label called ODD Recordings with my buddy Ramiro Lopez. I also co-own and run UnMute Agency with Dev Bhatia, and ILM Academy wit my brother Nakul.
Exhibit: Arjun Vagale and Tech – what is the relationship like?
Arjun: Intimate. I play and produce Techno so without Tech, there is no techno 😉
Exhibit: Name some of the gadgets that are most useful for professional purposes.
Arjun: Everything in my studio really. Drum Machines, Synths, computers – its all one big geek fest!
Exhibit: Which has been the highest career point and highlight of your career.
Arjun: I think the highlight for any artist is when their music is appreciated and for me, being appreciated by my heroes Richie Hawtin, Carl Cox & Adam Beyer is probably the highlight.
“ I play and produce Techno so without Tech, there is no techno 😉 ”
Exhibit: Describe the life of a DJ?
Arjun: Playing around the world to new audiences & meeting interesting people along the way sums up the life of a DJ. Though of late, the travel bit is not so fun anymore so that is also a challenge.
Exhibit: Is the underground scene in India completely explored?
Arjun: We have a long way to go. A lot of Indian artists don’t realise how small the world is and with hard work, anything is possible. There are a lot of great artists in India and with a little self confidence, we as a scene can be world class!
Exhibit: How are the EDM scenes different here and abroad?
Arjun: Music unites all. So apart from skin colour & language, it’s all the same.
Exhibit: What would you be found doing when not touring or making music?
Arjun: Cooking or watching TV.
Exhibit: Advice for aspiring DJs.
Arjun: Work hard and believe in yourself. Take risks and think out of the box.
- First gig: School prom.
- One song on loop: Sound of Silence.
- Undying mantra of your life: Quality, not Quantity.
- Favourite track from your own music: Most recent – OddBall.
- Most unique tech gadget: My Modular Synth.
- Instruments you play/Wish your played: Drums.
- One quintessential day in the life of Arjun Vagale: Eat, Music, Eat, Music.
- Best piece of advice given to you: Be humble.
- One genre you’d like to try that’s not EDM: Jazz.
- One song you can die playing: Born Slippy.
- One thing that gets on your nerves: Fake people.