She calls herself the 'Mother of Electronica' in India. Yet, she is overwhelmed when people touch her feet out of devotion after her highly-animated performances. Ma Faiza (the title was a result of her disdain for formal varieties such as Mr and Miss) has performed in more than 20 countries. From attending UK's underground rave parties back in the '90s, to performing atop a peak in Brazil's Crystal Mountain range, the British DJ has invested 22 years in Electronic Dance Music (EDM). She may be touring the country as part of her Ma Faiza Maximum Tour, but the 'Ma' says she is only looking for love.
You have seen EDM evolve over the years. How has it changed?
Since I came to the scene between 1991 and 1993 -- things have gotten bigger. There is more diversity in EDM, as people are mashing up different genres of music. It's an all-encompassing style, infecting everything, from pop to fusion and dubstep.
What do you think of the EDM scene in India? Where do you think it stands in the international market?
I think it has a long way to go. India has been credited with psychedelic trance music, and it is very much a part of that psy-trance movement of the late '80s and early '90s. India has huge festivals, where every EDM artiste wants to perform. Playing that kind of music here also has commercial value now. There are more clubs, awareness and experimentation. The issue we need to look at is moral policing - the old India fighting the modern India. There are timing and noise issues; every issue possible to stop this from happening. In other countries, the young socialise, enjoy music and celebrate it together.
Where have you enjoyed playing in India so far?
I really enjoyed playing in the smaller cities such as Jodhpur (Rajasthan), Indore (Madhya Pradesh) and Bilaspur (Chhattisgarh). They are hard to get to, but the love, sincerity and respect is so huge. There are lesser problems. Parties go on all night, and things get managed. But otherwise, it could be any location. I could be at home with a really gorgeous girl at night... I don't know.
What does EDM stand for as a cultural entity?
Music has always reflected rebellion and revolution across the world. For example, modern genres like hip-hop have evolved from African-America ghettos... Look at the Motown Sound, the '50s, and the evolution of reggae, R&B and soul... That was all about rights, and having a voice.
Similarly, when I was in England, EDM started coming out. It wasn't in clubs. I used to wait with thousands of people at a field to listen to this music. The government tried to ban all those gatherings, because they were illegal. There were 50,000 people protesting and partying on the streets, openly saying, "We have a right to dance, party and listen to this music." I have marched and protested for this music, so EDM comes from a cultural revolution.
Do you still host queer parties?
I only did that really big one a few years back [in Mumbai]. It was incredible and extremely exhausting. It was so huge - with comedy, a documentary, a queer market, trapeze artistes, dancers, and a drag king and queen. It was not only for gay people, it was for everyone. That event was my baby, and the thought of doing it again (sighs)… But I don't want to just be DJing. That's not what this is about. It's really about creating a scene. I want to showcase queer culture and people, and how talented we are.