Time to move from the floor and get control of the console – it’s your time now ladies!
Pump up the volume, shine on those disco lights, keep the energy up and pumping! Afrojack, David Guetta, Lisa Lashes, Reid Speed, Miss Kittin and Tiesto have all done it. From night clubs, to the hottest beachparties of Miami, St Tropezand Acapulco to name a few, they have made their mark and how. It’s now time to focus the lights onto the desi breed in the DJ jungle to find out why our city does not have many women deejays as compared to other cities in the country.
Many of them did not become DJs for the fun of it, but took their oath seriously when they promised to take the party junta’s fever a few notches higher, by the hour. DJ Sharon Aamir is the first female Karaoke Jockey in Hyderabad and describes herself as a hardcore Bollywood DJ. She tells us, “I first started my career as an emcee, and had a DJ beside me playing the music. I got interested in deejaying and in between gigs, learnt the art of spinning and scratching from DJs Amit Sanghi, Piyush and Shekar. Although she learnt the art in Hyderabad, ironically, it was the Club Pasha in the Park Hotel, Chennai where Sharon got her first break. She says, “Although I learnt the trade here, it took time for Hyderabad to open up to a female being a DJ, I guess. Which is why I had to start elsewhere, and then be accepted in my own city!” But she also believes that the party scene here has picked up comparatively. “My favourite places are Delhi and Mumbai, but I guess I am beginning to like the mood out here,” she tells us, optimistically. She recalls an incident in the Andaman Islands where she played at a sailors meet. “A man came up to the console, and threatened to shoot me if I did not play a song from Singhh is King. I laugh it off now, as he really didn’t mean it, but that time it was far from funny. However, this is what I would still want to do, and will do,” she says giving you a sense of the good days to come for females as DJs!
Sowmya, is the resident DJ at Rain in Hyderabad. Her genre of music is Underground House. She never planned to become one, but curiosity is what got her into this profession. “I never went to a DJ school, and never felt that I should have gone to one,” says Sowmya, adding, “I have been a bedroom-learner really. I take my inspiration from DJ John Digweed, and DJ Sasha,” she says. Sowmya believes that the kind of music she plays is more difficult to accept as it does not have much reach in the commercial media. “In a place like Hyderabad, people want to hear what they have already heard or seen on TV. That is slowly changing,” she adds. Talking about some funny incidents, Sowmya says, “Sometimes, requests could be funny.” When asked how, she quips, “When I am playing a genre of music like electronica, and a guy or girl walks up to the console asking me to play an entirely different genre, it is hilarious,” says Sowmya. She completely endorses Djng as a full-time job, and believes that more women must take it up as a profession, firstly because they love music, and not because they love performing to crowds. “That is of course important, but secondary,” she says.
DJ Piyush, dean of the Panache School for DJ training gives us his take on Djing as a profession for women. “My school has students from all over the country, but very few women. Even though they come to find out about the profession, and fall in love with the idea, most of them do not take it seriously enough to pursue it,” he says. He adds, “Most of them think they can get away with mediocre learning, but the crowd out there is very smart. They can see through a fake performance just like that.” Piyush also believes that orthodox thinking, and aping of the West do not help in the long run when compared to hard work. Djng today, he says cannot be a part-time job – “It requires full time or no thought at all,” he says.
Megha Kawale, a progressive and commercial music DJ in Mumbai says, “Clubbing as a culture is not promoted in our country. Djng is not a form of traditional art like playing the tabla, and it involves late night gigs. Obviously women think twice before taking it up as a profession.”
According to her, the private party scene in Hyderabad is comparatively more evolved than pubbing, which is why there is not much scope for taking it up as a profession. But she is optimistic about the changing scenario, and believes that Hyderabad has come a long way compared to what it was a few years back.