Back in the early 2000’s, the Gujarat electronic music scene was quite vibrant. From warehouse to underground parties at farms and even pool parties were buzzing with an amazing mix of electronic music genres. There were a couple of clubs in Ahmedabad which used to host some gigs for a while. The cops were cool with the scene as the crowd was pretty disciplined, read – sober. But all this did not add up positively enough on the economic side for the club owners and organisers.
Now there are no nightclubs, and most of the DJ’s perform in private parties, which are always dominated by top 40’s charts. Things have started looking up since some of the regional chapters of major music festivals of the country toured the state.
“These festivals make it a point to have at least 2 upcoming DJ’s play the warm up set. Apart from this, the party scene is pretty dud. There is no scene to talk of apart from the large capacity events,” said DJ Indrajeet Jadeja aka Ind Ra.
In this chapter of The Electronic Sound of Gujarat, we feature Baroda native DJ Ind Ra.
Indrajeet, Indra J and Ind Ra
Ind Ra became a DJ by chance. He would throw parties for his friends so that he could play his preferred genre of music i.e electronic. The parties he organised were not meant to make money but to introduce an entire generation to the electronic sounds. His Indra J project is his psy music avatar while Ind Ra is a melodic techno project.
“When I started out playing, Dj-ing was for nerds. We used to be in a corner in a dark room, dropping sounds and people used to dance without them noticing us. Which was fine enough, as you played undisturbed,” recalled Ind Ra.
The transformation of the DJ into a modern day pop star, has increased the importance of branding. To make himself ‘sellable’, Ind Ra promoted his mix-tapes which went around the party circuit and became quite popular. He played with almost every big act which came to Baroda.
Being internet savvy, he used to explore a lot of music online. Ind Ra would use his desktop at college parties in 1999.
“I would use Atomix to mix mp3s that I downloaded, this was in 1999. Later I used to promote my mix-tapes, and mixes online through various blogs, and mediums. I connected to the music fraternity, and kept updating them with my new mixes and mix-tapes. It worked pretty well, as a lot of my music was circulated,” quipped Ind Ra.
“Staying updated on music sources is the most important part of being a DJ. Keeping your source separate to have access to music which is fresh is extremely important.”
Exploring electronic music
Ind Ra is one half of ‘Beyond 120’ or the ’60 of 120’, as he says. DJ/Producer Teenu Arora is the other 60. Ind Ra was a Psy & Tech/Prog artist and wanted to have some fun with house music, which he played when he started out.
“Teenu was busy with his production and studio. We decided to have some fun playing stuff we like. We got a good amount of bookings and had the privilege to play with acts like Above & Beyond among others,” said the DJ.
Beyond 120 released a future house bootleg of Who Da Funk classic ‘Shiny Disco Balls’ which got more than 17000 organic plays. The duo has followed it up with some good mash ups which have been well received.
The party scene in Gujarat
With music, be it any genre, now available at your fingertips people have more access to amazing music and artists. There is more exposure, and Indian promoters are getting down some really good acts. The gigs are not very expensive. Although in major festivals, you tend to see majority of the crowd at main and commercial stages. That said, electronic music has broken into the mainstream.
Well packaged concerts/festivals always draw the crowd. Even in Gujarat, the leading music festivals of the country have been sell outs. The new artists featured in these festivals are often invited to perform at the local colleges and private parties. But reviving the nightclubs still seems to a bit far-fetched thought. Till there is a solution to revenue generation or the unlikely idea of sober clubbing, the scene will stay stagnant.
“There is no infrastructure and absolutely no support system for electronic music. It is impossible to recover costs in case of underground music as there is no alcohol which contributes majorly to the revenue,” asserted Ind Ra.
“I organised psy raves, warehouse parties, and underground gigs in early/mid 2000s. We need somebody to be crazy enough to lose money and push music like that again.”