As Australian Penelope Spencer gets ready to blend her vocals with percussionist Jonqui from Mumbai and DJ San from Delhi at Zenzi tonight, the electronic dance music (EDM) scene has progressed from a handful in India to a wider spectrum of artists/ musicians/ producers and DJs experimenting and collaborating together to form an electronically textured platform for an interesting future.
Not just limiting the movement to psytrance (not that I have anything against it), which used to be the only alternative EDM scene some years back, it moves quite healthily into other genres as well. The Internet has opened up vast resources of knowledge and awareness about EDM and Indian DJ/producers who want to think global and are not only dependent on local music labels to help push their creativity anymore. Being an international DJ does not just mean playing at weddings overseas like it did before (although I’m all for big fat Indian weddings), as there are a growing number of festivals around the globe that are showing keen interest in Indian talent.
The Glastonbury music festival in UK, which has had enclosures for UK-based Asian artists for some time now, features Indian artists as well. The Lille3000 Festival held in France in November last year, had DJs and live acts from all around India on different nights, completely dedicated to showcasing urban Indian sounds.
These are just a couple of examples and there are definitely going to be more platforms such as these. Based on my experience as a regular playing DJ in India, I have, in the last three to four years, seen a steady development in the number of urban venues promoting alternative styles like breakbeat and glitch-based music, in metros like Mumbai and Delhi.
Though not as big, cities like Bangalore and Hyderabad have been pleasantly warm in their response to different styles of EDM as well. You can get versatile with music styles to create different moods. Genres like hip-hop, R&B, breakbeat, drum and bass, minimal, dubstep, which are not necessarily mainstream as Bollywood mixes are drawing growing audiences from all social structures and the EDM culture is getting increasingly wider, alternative and bohemian even as you read this.
Kris Correya is the resident DJ at Zenzi and a part of the Bhavishyawani Collective that performed at Lille3000 last year