Known across the country as the No. 1 Bollywood music DJ, DJ Suketu brings an unmatched energy to every stage he performs at. From his debut album ‘440 Volts’ in 2003 which featured the single ‘Pyaar Zindagi Hai’ that entered the charts at No.1 and parked itself there for 8 weeks to ‘Bin Tere Sanam’ in 2004 from a widely successful party compilation ‘War Of The DJs’ which debuted at No.1 on the Indi-Pop charts and stayed there for 20 weeks, DJ Suketu have established himself as a force to be reckoned with.
From collaborating with composer and singer Atif Aslam to recreate ‘Woh Lamhe’ to remixing music for the classical maestros, Rahul Sharma and Richard Claydermanto remixing a track by world renowned sarangi player and composer Ustad Sultan Khan, the artist’s passion for creating epic experiences with his beats has culminated into his association with the newly launched Royal Stag Boombox.
Travelling through four youthful cities in India, Royal Stag Boombox – The Original Sound of Generation Large, is set to offer a spellbinding musical experience intertwined with art and culture, where the best-loved melodies of Bollywood meet the pulsating beats of hip-hop.
In a conversation with Expresso Magazine, DJ Suketu shares his journey and process to create music that continues to be cherished by audiences around the globe. Excerpts below:
You managed to revolutionize remix music in India forever. How does that make you feel?
DJ Suketu : The revolution happens only if you have some good events that you’re playing at. Even before I started remixing, I’ve been playing for events where music is a very big part. And I thought there was just playing original music. Let’s start playing remixes. That even works for music festivals like this Royal Stag Boombox. And that’s what will revolutionize everything.
Research elaborates, you wanted to be a Tabla player?
DJ Suketu : I always loved the rhythm section of any music ever since I was a kid. So, I always thought that Tabla was the way to go. I never got into drums because our home that time was small and we were a joint family. So, playing the drums would be too loud. I got into playing Tabla, but when I went to college, I saw these parties and concerts in college which is where I thought, I don’t think that tabla’s going to help me too much. And I thought let me give it a shot at DJing. And that’s how I started off and now I’m playing for massive crowds and with superb artists at Royal Stag Boombox.
What is your process for creating music?
DJ Suketu : The first thing I need to be is in a good mood to create music. That is the only thing that matters. I’ve made remixes like “Bin Tere Sanam” which have been made in four hours. And I have spent about seven days on my first track “Pyar Zindagi Hai”. I think just if you’re in the right mood, the track comes up and it goes on.
Could you elaborate on your association with Royal Stag Boombox?
DJ Suketu : I was actually very excited about the fact that they offered me to be a part of such an amazing lineup of artists. And for me, doing such a big festival is going to be one of my first openers. And I know the crowds are going to be massive, and actually sharing the stage with artists like Amit Trivedi, Badshah, Nikhita Gandhi and others is an absolute honor. And I’ve actually prepared a particular set for the event, which is very crowd friendly. So, they’re going to actually party and have a great time.
Mixing Bollywood and Hip-hop is rather interesting. What about it that interests you?
DJ Suketu : Hip Hop is a very superb form of music. And I’ve been going to the US. In fact, I spent a lot of time even doing some music work over there. So, it’s always been a very big part of my music creation. In fact, every album that I released the remix album, there has always been one or two tracks, which have been remixed in hip hop style with Bollywood.
Since you started out, has the music industry changed and if so, how?
DJ Suketu : I think the biggest change happening in the music industry is that when I started off, it was very difficult to acquire things from a computer to sounds to samples to plugins to software. Now, the internet is here, and everything is available for you. And it’s just so amazing to see that what took me so much time to do, the youngsters are doing it quicker and faster at a younger age, which feels really awesome.
How do you understand the pulse of the audience?
DJ Suketu : My name is associated with Bollywood so I’ve already cut down the rest of things and I know what I’m going to be playing. It just depends on which region of the country I’m spinning in. I normally try to incorporate a little bit of that music in my sets to make it interesting.
Why do you think most remix music fails today?
DJ Suketu : The biggest mistake that a lot of people make in remix music is that they can put a beat baseline groove and make it dance. The most important thing is to preserve the original melody of the song and that’s what I’ve always tried to do and that’s why some of the other mixes have been a little bit more appealing.
Social media brings artists closer to audiences but not without its woes. Do you think there is a battle of art vs content these days on social media?
DJ Suketu : 100% there is!This is because there’s few people and you go to social media and so much is happening. You don’t know sometimes if this artist is good or bad. But I think that’s the way you move on and just go ahead with it.
Do you think Indian DJs have an international future?
DJ Suketu : This question can be answered very easily from seeing DJs like Lost Stories and Nucleya. Indian DJs who have been performing abroad and at festivals, including DJ Nasha and another DJ name called “B.R.E.E.D” he played for Coachella as well, I think one of the first Indian artists to play at Coachella at the Dubstep stage. So, I think this is just the beginning.
What can fans expect from you in the future/this year?
DJ Suketu : I think the biggest thing that fans can expect from me this year is playing in music festivals like Royal Stag Boombox with amazing crowd on ground and bringing DJing from the indoor night club session to outdoor festivals in Bollywood style.
By Sarojini Chatterjee