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Ek DJ ke liye

Popular DJ Pearl Chinappa chats with Malvika Nanda on the highs and lows of being a woman spinner.

music Updated: Apr 21, 2008 18:31 IST
Malvika Nanda

She’s one of the most coveted names on the buzzing Indian electronica scene. Known for hermyriad patterns in the house music genre, now she’s the first Indian woman deejay to crack a record deal with one of the world’s biggest dance music labels, Defected.

Over to anchor and DJ Nikhil Chinappa’swife, DJ Pearl:

You must be proud to be the first woman deejay to crack such a deal.
Strangely, I’ve never thought about it. Whenever I’m quizzed on being a woman deejay and my achievements, I wonder if that’s what people think when they see me perform.

I’m just a deejay like my male counterparts.Now, there are more and more women entering this field.That should ease things a bit. I take that to be a sign of changing perceptions.

I can’t wait for the day when people won’t blink an eyelid seeing a woman behind the console. I’m extremely proud to join the ranks of the legendary artistes who’ve worked earlierwith the record label.

Were there moments when you felt this may not be the right path? What resurrected your faith?
There were so many factors that were working against my decision to take up deejaying as a profession. At the outset, there were some supportive colleagues and some insecure ones too. There were no record stores in India.. I insisted on playing on vinyl. So I had to travel a lot to source my records from obscure stores, mostly in Europe.

Playing on turntables is a skill that I wouldn’t give up for all the technological advances in the world. The scene has progressed immensely since then.. music has become digital. Sourcing is done online. It has flattened the music world to some extent.

Defected opened up a chunk of their portfolio for you. How easy or tough was it for youto select the songs then?
I had an access to their complete catalogue for my compilation. I enjoyed the process of sifting through the tracks because it took me back to my roots. Over a period of time, my style has changed as with any artiste. I now lean towards a lot of electro, progressive and minimal sounds.

Simon Dunmore, head of Defected, mentioned that electronica as a genre needs to move out of the ‘just clubs’ situation. What’s your take on that?
I think it’s about time. Right now, this movement is lacking support. Sunburn was a fantastic example of what can be donewith electronica in India. Submerge has been trying to do it’s bit with ground events and a 9000-member strong community.

Also acts like Jalebee Cartel, The Midival Punditz, Shai'ir and Func, DJs like Vachan, Tuhin and Sanjay Dutta have been working steadily to ensure the awareness of electronica. But we do need some uniformity across the country as far as rules for clubs, licences and restrictions are concerned. A 3-am-license would be a wonderful start so that hundreds of DJs across India can at least have some time to express themselves creatively.