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Mix and make it

DJ Suketu, winner of the World DJ Mixing Championship, talks to SHALINI UMACHANDRAN


IF YOU thought a DJ is a rather showy character with a bad haircut, too much jewellery and attitude, hold the thought. DJ Suketu, who was at Flame Le Club, Le Royal Meridien, over the weekend, has the right attitude in plenty but not the rest.

With thick glasses and a rather worn moss green T-shirt, he looks more like the unassuming class topper in accountancy than a DJ who has won the national DMC World DJ Mixing Championship and done an advanced course in mixing and DJ-ing at the DMC (DJ Mixing Club) headquarters in London. The Mumbai-based master of the vinyl mix and the turn-table, released his first remix album, "440 Volts", this April.

He describes his album as one that "is different because it has something for everyone". "440 Volts", which took a year and three months to put together, is a blend of disco tracks and slow tunes. The title track, "Pyar Zindagi Hai" is a disco number but the album includes a quawali remix, a couple of hip-hop numbers, a few slow songs and a Gujarati track.

Suketu played in Chennai two years ago and says that people are open to new sounds. "I enjoy playing in Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad, because the crowd accepts new sounds and is willing to let the DJ experiment," says Suketu, who has played all over South-East Asia.

"Remixing is about giving an old song a global feel. If someone like me released a new album with original compositions, no one would listen to it. But since these are songs that people are already familiar with, they pick up the album."

Now that he's a "little more famous", Suketu will have three original tracks on his next album. The golden oldies lend themselves well to remixing, unlike newer Bollywood numbers that people lose interest in within a few months. He says a DJ doesn't need to know how to play an instrument or even have an idea about scales and chords to be a good mixer. "I've learnt the tabla. Knowledge of music does help but it's not essential. The music has already been composed and set to tune, the DJ has to just give it a lift by introducing new sounds," says Suketu, who started eleven years ago playing at family parties.

"Though I started when I was 15, I believe my career has really taken off only over the past two years. The DJ industry is in a nascent stage and it seems like the previous nine years were just a trial run. There's so much more to do," says the 26-year-old, who's taken the MBA route, "just in case my DJ-ing career didn't take off."

He runs a company, Audio Elite that does sound, lights and DJ training and management in Mumbai. "If you have rhythm in you, you can be a DJ. It doesn't really need more qualifications, you can pick up the skills on the way. If you can dance, you can make people dance."

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