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Spin Doctor

A good DJ is the life of the party, giving people a high with pulsating music. Rajesh Ahuja looks beyond the glamour.

education Updated: Jun 20, 2012 17:38 IST
Rajesh Ahuja

Vinyl discs, headphones, turntables, psychedelic lights and churning bodies — if all that, and music, of course, fires your enthusiasm, you may want to tread the same route as Delhi-based Shivankit Sharma.

The 18-year-old school student, who made a rather “unusual” choice last summer, may soon realise a dream he nurtured as a child. “My father runs a sound equipment company and he wants me to take it forward,” says Sharma. “I thought becoming a DJ would help me learn the business. Also, I’ve always been crazy about music, so disc jockeying is a natural progression.”

Disc jockeying as a profession is witnessing the fastest growth in terms of youth participation. With an explosion of nightlife in urban India, the DJ can be the star of the evening in any Gen Y gathering.

While Sharma went to a DJ training institute in Delhi to become a pro, established DJs feel you can make people dance without paying for any lessons. “The demand for DJs has gone up incredibly in the past few years. Though the [training] schools have been there [for some time now], I believe if one has a passion for music, the best learning can happen on the job,” says DJ Pearl, a name to reckon with in the electronica music circuit. A rookie DJ learns the most while assisting a veteran, feels Pearl.

Established names in the circuit believe that glamour, too, lures youngsters to the console. But without innovation, one will not last long, they warn. “DJing isn’t just about playing music. It involves mixing, producing and arranging music. Youngsters should gather some information about this field before making an entry,” says Akbar Sami, one of the highest paid DJs in the country today. “What saddens me,” he adds, “is that many fall for the so-called glamour element of the profession. [But] it’s not ‘cool’ to be a DJ unless you know your job well.”

Aspirants can join any of the institutes in the Capital. Spin Gurus DJ & Remixing Academy, Grooves Entertainment and Dance Café are a few of the schools. Once you master the basics, you can assist musicians and forward your demo CDs to club owners, who could then help you train under Indian and international names who perform regularly in the city.

DJs can also be hired by corporate firms for their events, event organisers, nightclubs, resto bars and film music composers.

Disc jockeying is a performing art that overlaps music production. It involves remixing, music composition, arrangement and production. A professional DJ entertains revellers at clubs and also does private shows for media houses and event management agencies. S/he is fuelled by a passion for music and the creative zeal to be on the lookout for innovative sounds

Clock Work
11 am: Wake up
11.30 am: Sit with playlist for the night
1.30 pm: Lunch
4 pm: Reach nightclub or lounge bar
5 pm: Start playing for the early crowd
8.30 pm: Evening warms up
Midnight: Start winding down
1 am: Light dinner
2 am: Go to sleep

The Payoff
The average take-home for a disc jockey at the initial level is Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000 per month. The hike in the package (as per the market condition and label/club/music composer involved) depends on one’s calibre

. An ear for good music, passion for music
. Basics of sound/recording
. Creativity with sound and rhythm
. Nocturnal body clock

How do i get there?
What you study in high school does not matter as long as you have a keen interest in music. While you can enrol for a basic (beginner) DJ course right after Class X, pros suggest taking it head-on only after school
Once through with the basics, you can assist a professional DJ or musician to learn the tricks of the trade
Graduate to a professional level course and approach nightclubs and event organisers with demo CDs of your mixes

Institutes & urls
. Grooves Entertainment
Tel: 9717900343, 9958583817
Email:groovesentertainment@gmail.com, avnishmakin@groovesentertainment.in
Course fee: Beginner, Rs 15,000; intermediate, Rs 18,000; both combined,
Rs 25,000

Spin Gurus DJ & Remixing Academy
Tel: 27027111, 27027444
Course fee: CD DJ course, Rs 20,000; Vinyl DJ Course, Rs 18,000; CD Turntable
Course, Rs 28,000

Dance Café, Gurgaon
Tel: 9891699666
Course fee: Beginner Rs 5,000; advanced Rs 10,000

Pros & Cons
Party while earning money
. Get to hobnob with the high society clan
. Innovative work
. Involves extensive travel
. Have to work the graveyard shift
. Can be physically taxing

Things were never better

From Bollywood and clubs to TV and radio, the demand for DJs is hotting up

Has there been a rise in the number of youngsters taking to DJing as a profession?
Absolutely! There has been a marked rise. Since the Indian entertainment industry is growing at a rapid pace, many youngsters want to be a part of it. From 150 enrolments two years ago, our academy has 250 now.

What are the employment prospects for professional DJs?
DJs are in great demand in clubs, radio stations and a few TV channels. Apart from this, India now has a huge market for freelance DJing. Such a DJ can get 15-20 private bashes a month [in the party season], money being negotiable.

What does the job entail?
Apart from playing at parties and clubs, a DJ can diversify into remixing and music production. Also, every Bollywood film today has remix versions of hits. Indian music being the hottest flavour across the world, this is the best time for DJs to flourish.

DJ Jitesh Dang of Spin Gurus DJ & Mixing Academy Interviewed by Rajesh Ahuja