He is a DJ, a VJ, an RJ and is fondly called the game changer of the dance music scene in India. This month, we caught up with Nikhil Chinapa, who is all geared up for the 4th season of Supersonic, to discuss all that fans can expect this season, his thoughts on the music scene in India right now and a whole lot of trivia to go along with it.
Exhibit: The journey of Supersonic.
Nikhil Chinapa: We started Vh1 Supersonic as a festival that was built in just 21 days. Looking back, that was a bizarre time, but it was fuelled with excitement and purpose. That sense of purpose still remains as we march into our fourth edition with some dramatic changes in our lineup, venue and vibe.
Exhibit: What’s different this season?
NC: Moving to a new city was always going to usher in changes to the festival. The new venue is lush and covered in grass whereas in Goa, we had our toes in the sand. The venue aside, we’ve made huge strides with our artist lineup. Eric Prydz – a titan of the dance music scene, is making his way to India for the first time. By booking him, we’ve essentially achieved what was considered impossible; convincing Eric, a man with a known fear of flying, to get onto a plane to play to his fans in India. We’ve also introduced a live stage and simultaneously incorporated hip-hop into our music landscape. The hip -hop stage is being headlined by American superstar and four-time Grammy winner Macklemore.
Exhibit: Your reaction to DJ Eric Prydz saying yes.
NC: I’ve been chasing Eric for 10 years to come and play in India. The feeling for both Pearl and me, on a personal level, is a sense of deep satisfaction. It feels like some invisible cosmic path has come full circle. For our SuperCrew, there’s a sense of elation. We’re all such big fans of his music and seeing him play live in Pune is a dream come true for many of us.
Exhibit: Best thing about DJ Prydz coming to India.
NC: The best thing about it is being able to live that moment and experience his music with your best friends around you. Not everyone has the chance to travel to Europe or America to listen to Prydz play – and if you can, your friends invariably cant. This is that one time, when you can gather your clan and live that moment together. He is, in my opinion, the best DJ in electronic dance music.
Exhibit: Fans’ reaction to Eric Prydz finally coming here.
NC: You need to look at my Facebook page to truly understand what it means to his fans in India. Most of us had given up hope years ago and had begun to believe it would never happen. This announcement moved many of my friends to tears. One of my friends even called me sobbing – I know that was an extreme reaction – but that’s how much it means to many of us.
Exhibit: Inception of Submerge.
NC: Submerge is a dance music collective that was started by Pearl, our dearest friend Hermit Sethi and me back in 2003 as an alternative to the prevalent Bollywood and mainstream scene. It’s been curating parties since 2003 and bringing DJs to India since 2001. That was the year that Pearl first started inviting DJs to come play in India even before Submerge formally took shape. She worked on the early artist contracts and booking terms, when these ideas were completely new and alien to the rest of us in India.
‘‘ Dance music is evolving rapidly in India. We’re seeing the emergence of fringe scenes in Techno and bass music, which are slowly taking a firmer hold of centre-stage which earlier was the prerogative of EDM.
Exhibit: What do you look for in new DJs?
NC: Skill, a sense of music and an understanding of the scene. You also need to be highly motivated and driven to share your musical vision with strangers.
Exhibit: Dance music scene now and 5 years later.
NC: Dance music is evolving rapidly in India. We’re seeing the emergence of fringe scenes in Techno and bass music, which are slowly taking a firmer hold of centre-stage which earlier was the prerogative of EDM. We’re also seeing the emergence of Grime and Slow House as newer sub-genres and hip-hop seems to be making a significant comeback.
Exhibit: Nikhil and Tech.
NC: I cant live without the internet and by extension, my phone.
Exhibit: Must-haves when attending music festivals.
NC: Good earplugs to protect your ears from dangerous decibel levels, your best friends and lots of water to drink.
Exhibit: Advice for aspiring DJs.
NC: There is no exception to the 10,000 hour rule. Look it up, live by it.
Exhibit: What next for Supersonic fans?
NC: Lots and lots of fun. New music, exciting talent and the best memories of your life.
- One song you feel didn’t deserve the attention it got: Trentemoller – Always Something Better
- Must have tech-gadget that’s not your phone or laptop: Custom made hearing protectors with 15db filters
- Go to Fashion trend: Grey t-shirt and red cap
- One regret: Not being able to play a musical instrument
- Favourite tech for musicians: New app called Haptik. Allows you to get on with your music, while haptic takes care of random stuff like life.
- What’s your poison: Gingerhoney-lemon tea
- Your inspiration: Pearl
- Beach or mountains: Mountains that come crashing down to the beach