VH1 Supersonic has already taken giant strides from two years ago, when Nikhil Chinapa and Live Viacom18 partnered to put together a festival in less than a month. This edition is a progression of their music-focussed, fan-centric philosophy that sees the same number of stages but with bigger artists, better production and activities surrounding the festival like flea markets where fans can wind down and large pub-style bar areas where you can sip on cocktails and enjoy the sea breeze. Before you get there, here’s what you can get excited about…
You’ll be hard pressed to find a more diverse range of headliners for any Indian festival, anywhere in the country this year. Producer-DJ Axwell, one-third of former EDM all-stars Swedish House Mafia, who ranked no 17 on DJ Mag UK’s 2015 poll, will storm the festival with his signature beats. German electro-house sensation Zedd, whose track ´Break Free´ caused ripples on the Billboard charts, is also a Grammy-winning artist, set to introduce an often looked-over genre to Indian fans. British electronic music act Disclosure (siblings Howard and Guy Lawrence) will represent the freshest sound at Supersonic. Their heady concoction of bass-house laced with silky smooth vocals has won over listeners across the world - and earned them a Grammy nomination last year. Speaking of siblings, Australian sister act Nervo will bring their brand of progressive and electro house to Goan sands. Holland’s perennial domination of the EDM scene is reflected in the DJ Mag Top 100 as well as their appearances internationally. W&W will slam the Dutch trance sound at Supersonic. And Canadian party starters Zeds Dead (their name references a scene from a Quentin Tarantino film, Pulp Fiction) have an eclectic sound that covers hip-hop, glitch, drum & bass and dubstep.
There’s never been a better time for bass music in India. And Supersonic’s UKF & Arms House stage ensures that the year ends on an equally high note (or low frequency, we should say). The line-up is curated by British-based bass artists Engine Earz and Foreign Beggar’s Orifice Vulgatron alongside American lawyer Ali Sachdena. That explains the heavy hitters from both continents. Jungle pioneer DJ Zinc is joined by his British dubstep and Chicago juke associate Addison Groove who first rose to fame under his Headhunter alias. Dubstep trailblazer Mala, one half of the genre’s most prominent producers Digital Mystikz will be joined by North London’s most forward thinking drum & bass producer-DJ Alix Perez. Parisian bass music trio Dirtyphonics whose sets are a hybrid of trap, drumstep and electro, will be complemented by Belgian liquid funk producer Netsky, who takes his alias from a computer virus of the same name. The UKF & Arms House stage will also have a heavy representation of Indian bass music artists. It includes Mumbai-based Bay Beat Collective, comprising Kris Correya and Sohail Arora, who championed the sound across the country. Bangalore bass legend Vachan Chinapa, the capital’s dub selector Delhi Sultanate and Gujarat local hero Bandish Projekt’s Mosillator avatar round up what is sure to be one the biggest line-ups the country has ever witnessed.
Dutch techno institution Awakenings is an 18-year-old festival, revered by fans for its uncompromising sound and universally lauded line-ups. Nikhil Chinapa has pulled off a coup by inviting the genre’s giants to curate a stage at Supersonic. Predictably, the artists they’ve put together for the inaugural edition read like a toddler’s Christmas wish-list come true. Swedish producer-DJ Adam Bayer brings his exemplary Drumcode label to India alongside his partner Ida Engberg. India’s homegrown four-by-four legend Arjun Vagale will be on opening duty for the duo. On the second day of the festival, Danish artist Kölsch (also the name of Cologne’s most famous beer) whose melodic anthems have ruled the dance floor in the past three years, will bring the house down with a great blend of house and techno. But the biggest draw has to be Joris Voorn. A musician who can play the guitar and the violin and an architecture student, the Dutchman’s unique house-inflected techno is an aural treat unlike any other. Sharing the stage with him are Delhi-based audio-visual collective BLOT!, who have capped off another great year with music releases and tours. And to cap off three days of foot stomping madness, you can also catch French DJ Paul Ritch’s harmonic techno and UK’s finest DJ Nic Fanciulli’s Saved Records beats.
Supersonic’s stage design and concepts have been appreciated by fans locally and internationally, garnering industry awards on the way. The man responsible for it all, who works tirelessly with Nikhil Chinapa to come up with the final product, is VJ KayCee. The artist has said in various interviews that the reason Supersonic’s stages look so great is that they go through several drafts (last year’s Steam Punk stage went through a barely believable 42 revisions). And it’s not just that. KayCee also oversees the special effects, the lighting and customised visuals for DJs based on their sound and image. It makes for a visual treat that invariably enhances the sight of watching a lonely figure behind a DJ console. Prepare to be stunned this year as well as the Spectrum, Laboratoire Supersonique and Awakenings stages all take on a life of their own.
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