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Dheeraj and Vachan from the quiet town of Mysore get nightclubs rolling

Rocking 'em

Or they want Bryan Adams. It's a little annoying — Dheeraj


DJ VACHAN and DJ Dheeraj have grown up together, being total renegades growing waist-length hair and wearing tattered pants through high school, and of course, loved their music. Surprisingly, the lads come from the quiet, peaceful Mysore, which hardly jams with your idea of music junkies that DJs are, churning out hip-hop and scratching discs at their console. The two DJs, who play at Oblivion and The Club in Bangalore, will host the resurrection night with percussionists at the cultural fest Bangalore Habba, so watch out for Vachan who's all chatty and spouts fundoo, while deep-voiced Dheeraj is the shy charmer.

Bhumika K. catches up with them one evening, talking, what else, but music.

Hats off to Bangaloreans

Vachan: (To us) To start with, we must tell you, DJs are happy to be in Bangalore, one of the best places to enjoy the music scene in India. All DJs want to come and play in Bangalore because the crowd here is...

Dheeraj: Very open... and they know quality music from remixes.

Vachan: They're not too commercial.

Dheeraj: Remixes scene today is becoming too much. They try to remix any old song. Other places in India are like... (not finding words, looks up at the skylight hopelessly)

Vachan: Here people want to explore their knowledge in music. They ask us for tracks even we don't know about! We go back and check it on the Net. And that's the challenge in DJing. You have to be right, you have to be tight. If we make a mistake, they know. So every night we have to do a clean set.

Dheeraj: You can go out and play requests and finish the night, but here we are challenged to play good music, bring in the floor... You have to start off sort of mellow and romantic, then end the night with something hard and take them somewhere else. Bangaloreans know their music. Lots of house music and hip-hop.

Vachan: Yeah, you can't start off like... (and does some head-banging to show what he means) Nobody wants to walk into a place where it's banging music already. People are coming in slowly in the evening and having a drink, so you play some mellow music and they're tapping their foot.

Dheeraj: Plus it helps the guys running the bar! (smiles naughtily)

Vachan: Yeah, we also have to look at the economics of it! Because if you play music that brings people on to the dance floor all the time, the bar's going to be pretty empty! (both laugh knowingly)

We're serious DJs:

Vachan: Every month I invest around 10 K buying my music, download tracks... So there is a lot of homework and you have to be in sync with the music.

Dheeraj: Coz every month there's some new release and you just can't keep playing the old stuff.

Vachan: And you have to be different, that's important. Of course nobody makes a set at home and comes, it's spontaneous, but you need the hardware and software for it!

Dheeraj: Yeah, and you never know the crowd's vibes.

Thumbs down stuff:

Vachan: Sometimes it's irritating when people come into a night club disco and ask for Pink Floyd. It's great music but you can't dance to it.

Everyone's dancing and there's this one guy who screams `Hey dude play Pink Floyd' (imitates a Yo guy screaming from a distance)

Dheeraj: Or they want Bryan Adams! It's a little annoying sometimes, you know.

Vachan: They may not know the seriousness of the job, but we have to handle it. By playing their one odd request, the whole structure we are trying to build will crumble. And then they comment: `Bad DJ. He didn't give us a good night.' Another thing is asking for Hindi music. And if I say I don't play it, they snap: `Why, aren't you an Indian? Aren't you proud to be Indian?' Indians never had clubs and discos! Suddenly playing remixes can make it Indian, is it? Club music is not our culture, it's a western culture. We have our own great music and greats such as Rafi, Mukesh and R.D. Burman. That kind of music was really cool, but it's not club music you expect a DJ to play.

(Suddenly realises he's getting really serious and worked up, so grins and says)

Yeah! We have to keep doing this psychoanalysis all the time!

Getting started with Djing:

Dheeraj: It was a hobby, part-time, that I started off toward the end of school.

Vachan: (Teasingly) Tell them the story, no?

Dheeraj: (Quite reluctantly) Yeah, I wanted to be a pilot (both laugh ridiculously)

Vachan: (To us) He's blaming it on me! We were both in the same locality in Mysore. We're friends from then.

Dheeraj: I keep pulling his leg for it and tell this story to everybody. We used to go for math tuition together. He called me then and said "Baa ninna DJ maadthini." (Come, I'll make you a DJ) (both laugh heartily) Actually he's the guy who taught me how to play. We learnt a lot at this place called Royal Legacy at Mysore. At that time there was no Internet, no Channel V, MTV. We just used to bring in tapes to listen. That was the first time I heard the Chemical Brothers.

Vachan: And we were trying to mix tapes you know! Here we have equipment to increase the speed of a track and blend it. I used to sing for a rock band called Z Axis, he used to play the guitar. The band scene was really hard in India and the band broke up.

On women admirers:

Vachan: Oh yes, women flock!

Dheeraj: Oh yeah!

Vachan: Some groupies are there. Because of the limelight, I guess. Or the control thing may be! The guys with them get jealous.

Dheeraj: (with a naughty look) They will be!

Vachan: Yeah I've had fights. The girl was flirting and then the boyfriend (imitates a typical burly big boyfriend) comes to the console and says `What?' and starts jumping and screaming. I couldn't care a damn. Call the bouncer and he's thrown out immediately. Otherwise there's a mess out there. Really disturbing, c'mon. First they don't have control over their girlfriends... they come and blame us. We're born flirts c'mon! (grins boyishly) We're playing music, being charming and making them all love us!

Dheeraj: (laughs away) Yeah! You have to do all that, you have to create that mystery. (both give knowing naughty grins)

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