It’s a special skill to make the crowd go wild or take them to another place with the power of music. This special job is given to the DJs. The heart and soul of every nightclub. You might not always know they’re there, but they’re sound tracking your entire night.
What you might not know is these DJs are also geniuses in the studio. They work their magical touch on huge, hit records before playing them out in the clubs. Today, we’re looking at the biggest DJs in India. The country has had an immensely popular underground dance scene for more than a decade. Now, it’s starting to burst out into the mainstream. But, who’s leading the charge?
1. DJ NYK
Ask any dance music fanatic in India, and they’ll all tell you that NYK is the King. Quite simply, he has become a phenomenon throughout the country. Making his name through unique podcasts (which no-one had ever done before in India), he has gone on to huge acclaim. He is perhaps best known for remixing Akon’s smash hit Chammak Challo, which saw international popularity. It was even featured on a Playstation PS3 game. He’s one of the very few DJs to break out of India, and achieve international success. Oh, and he has also taken home the ‘Best Bollywood DJ’ award twice.
2. Akhil Talreja
Talreja is famous, predominantly, for one incredibly popular song. The ubiquitous ‘Tenu Le Ke Jaana’. It was Talreja’s calling card, and put him on the map in India’s dance scene. Since then, he has seen his music featured in eight Bollywood films (a sure sign of success!) He, too, is one of the few DJs to tour outside India, visiting the Middle East and Africa. He even spent some time in the USA bringing his careful blend of EDM and Indian roots to the masses.
3. A. Sen
A. Sen is one of the youngest names on this list, but he is fast becoming a sensation in India. The young DJ has infused elements of the US commercial dance sound, and his audience can’t get enough. His breakout moment was charting in the Beatport 100, a world-renowned source for emerging dance music. It put his name among some of the biggest in international dance music. He has quickly dominated the club scene in India, playing some of the most notorious underground nights. He’s no slouch in the studio either, creating 13 albums in just a few years.
4. Sekutu Radia
A veteran of India’s music scene, Sekutu has been dominating airwaves and clubs since 2001. Sekutu is best known for celebrating the traditional sounds of India in his work. His remixes feature the bhangra sound heavily, and he is intent on extending India’s cultural legacy. Recently, he worked on a huge remix with sarangi player,Ustad Sultan Khan. Proving that he’s not afraid to get creative and inventive in the studio. His next big project involves international superstar Sean Kingston. Keep an eye out on this one!
5. Dev (In)
Also known as ‘The Boy Wonder’ or ‘Superboy’, Dev (In) has a fierce reputation already. He’s another young star in India’s rising dance scene, and he’s already breaking the boundaries. Touring throughout the Middle East, Asia, and India itself, he’s one of the most prolific and hard-working DJs on the circuit. He has racked up 5,000,000 downloads in his home country, and word is spreading fast. The unstoppable talent has even found his music played on the UK’s biggest radio station, Radio 1.
6. DJ Akbar Sami
Dj Akbar Sami got his break in the same way as many of the others on this list, with a fierce remix. India’s obsession with the remix has opened doors for the studio producers and DJs. DJ Akbar Sami’s big break came from an entire remix album, Jalwa. Winning praise from the underground club circuit and mainstream Indian Radio, he has become unstoppable. He is one of the most experimental DJs on the list, taking elements of jazz, rap and rock, before mixing it with traditional Indian melodies.
7. DJ Aqeel
DJ Aqeel is an Indian dance music institution. With his name in lights since 2001, Aqeel is a recognised and respected figure in the industry. His CV is a highlight reel of phenomenal achievements. He is the only Indian DJ to fill concert-size venues outside the country. He has taken the concept of Indian dance music further than any other names in the business. Not only that, but he’s played in front of world leaders including Bill Clinton and Kofi Annan. He also owns a nightclub chain, ‘Hype’, ensuring his domination of the underground scene.
8. DJ Lemon
DJ Lemon is unique on this list for broadening the horizons of Indian dance culture. Rather than following the tried-and-tested method of remixing, he’s known for his original compositions. It’s a rare thing in a country obsessed with remixes! But, DJ Lemon has made the transition perfectly. Creating original beats and melodies, puts him at the forefront of India’s creative dance scene.
9. Aftermorning Productions
Breaking the mould of singular DJs, Aftermorning Productions are a collective of producers and DJs. Formed by Anup Prabahkar, Abhishek Yesugade & Dj Mer’c, the collective specialises in trance. Their long-form, progressive electronica is loved by true dance fans all over the world. Bringing the international sounds of progressive house and electronica into the Indian world, they are amongst the most respected DJs.
Ankytrix is perhaps the DJ who has moved furthest away from traditional Indian roots. Adopting the monster sound of American EDM, his trance beats are hard and heavy. He has since been voted no.1 DJ twice in the VH1 MyFav Awards; a rare claim for any Indian DJ. He is also a prolific performer, booking more than 150 gigs every year for the past two years.
That concludes our countdown of India’s biggest DJs. Have we missed anyone from the list? We all have our favourites, who’s yours?