Continuing to break down barriers for stunning Indian talent with the huge ‘Completed Me’
Interview by Dan Prince
Sanjoy a huge welcome to DMCWORLD…where on Planet Earth are you today?
Hi Dan! Thanks a lot! I am an avid follower of DMC WORLD and it’s an honor to be interviewed by you guys. I am in San Francisco right now.
What is the best piece of music you have heard today?
I just made a Bass House flip of the viral video Damn Daniel couple of days back, which I think is pretty freaking cool. People are loving it and the “Damn Daniel” Facebook page shared it! Other than that I just heard Jauz’s Remix of Daniel Bedingfield – Gotta Get Thru This and it was…as everyone says it these days,“lit!”…
A great start to 2016 for you with your follow up to ‘Don’t Funk With Me’, this time around it’s ‘Completed Me’ featuring Bollywood vocalist Aditi Singh Sharma – we are loving the piano melody! Please talk us through the history and production of the track…
Thank you so much! It’s been a great year so far. I’m blessed to have everyone’s support on my releases so far. Completed Me was a song that I started making in senior year of university along with Natalie and Stephen (the songwriters) The first sample we had sounded really bland you wouldn’t believe it. I wasn’t going to do anything with the song for a while, till I heard Calvin and Avicii’s new music and I was super inspired to make something that everyone at a show can sing along to and Completed Me was reborn. We wanted to shoot a video that was relatable by the youth. Since we religiously use snapchat these days, we thought people would enjoy seeing a Completed Me snapchat story!
The video looked hard work!!!! You had some fun out there though…?
It’s such a fun video! My best friend/executive producer Kunal Agarwal came up with the Snapchat story concept and shot the video with Amar Jeer. We made an adventure out of going around Silicon Valley with the girls and snapped us hanging out and just having a good time.
Okay let’s rewind for a moment. You have spent half of your life living in California…please tell us your life journey so far…
Yes, I was born in Bangladesh. Started learning Indian classical music at the age of 3 and moved to the U.S. when I was 11 years old. I was a pretty awkward kid in middle school and high school. Music was only escape. I was gifted a laptop for my 13th birthday and that’s when I discovered the DAW Reason. I’ve never stopped making music since then and now we’re here!
What is your earliest musical memory…?
Me playing drums and keyboard with my mom who used to be a folk singer back in Bangladesh. We used to have musical gatherings at family parties and I used to be the show off kid, haha.
And when did you first start to think about a career in music…what did your family think of your idea?
I never got into it thinking it was going to become my career. I’ve always wanted to get my music out to as many people as possible and inspire others to do the same with whatever their passion may be. Being raised in an Indian family in the Silicon Valley, I faced a lot of doubts. Growing up I was expected to follow the standard route of pursuing a career in Tech. However, my family sees my passion and dedication to music and is supportive now.
What was your first break into the music industry?
I made a bootleg remix of Akon’s first song in Bollywood “Chammak Challo” which went really viral. The college kids loved it and that motivated me to keep putting out music and build a fanbase.
Early producer/DJ/artist inspirations?
First producer inspiration would be Timbaland. Still to this day, he has the most defined and bangin’ sound. Tiesto was the first DJ that I saw at a concert at the age of 14 and it was the most inspiring thing ever. To see a DJ rock a crowd of 50,000 people with crazy visuals changed my life. That’s when I was like, “If I make good dance music that make people feel a certain way, I could be up there too”
I have been reading some of your recent interviews, the word ‘heartthrob’ keeps popping up. How do you feel about that?
Hahaha I wish! To be honest it’s really flattering, I have some pretty awesome fans that have been following my journey since day one. I stay connected with them and share everything daily. Especially with snapchat these days, I am able to keep my fans engaged instantly. Probably more than I should but that’s what keeps us connected. As you’re aware, the industry is cutthroat for newcomers and it’s easy to feel discouraged sometimes but my fans keep me going. I owe everything to them for bringing me where I am today.
The scene in India is blossoming so well, a really exciting time for the country. You once said that you felt that some amazingly talented Indian musicians sometimes get stuck in a specific genre and limit themselves…is that still the case?
So many of the singers on these tracks are Bollywood singers. But hear the power behind that vocal! Can you believe that they aren’t on more dance records? It’s not that these singers and artists limit themselves; it’s uncommon for them to be exposed to records like these. I hope as I and other artists begin to collaborate more and more with these singers into international and non-film genres, everyone will inevitably branch out.
How often are you able to go back to India…what clubs/festivals/artists are exciting you at the moment?
I go about once a quarter. The scene is crazy in India right now! It’s great to see so many artists touring in India. Just heard the Major Lazer Mad Decent Block Party was a huge success. Other than that I’ve heard that the Sunburn Goa / College fests and VH1 Supersonic were amazing festivals too and I’d love to play there soon!
The big 5 tunes in your box this weekend…please give us a few words on each…
- Deadmau5 – Saved : I love the dynamics of this song. Deadmau5’s sound design is always world class and inspiring! Also I love that he just uploads to soundcloud and doesn’t give a shit about promoting his music.
- Curbi – 51 : Love the groove and the bass. It’s massive and very stylistically done! I’ll definitely be playing this out.
- Burns – Beauty Queen : Oh mann this one is soo dancy! Love the percussion breaks and the mix is heavy.
- NGHTMRE – Burn Out : This one is nutts, props to NGHTMR for packing so much bass into one track. Super clean and sick!
- Destructo – 4 Real ft Ty Dolla $ign & iLoveMakonnen : Destructo went in on this one! I love trap/hiphop break down and the transition into the groovy drop! Classy! Included this in my JOYCAST Episode 1 and people loved it.
UP CLOSE…AND PERSONAL time…
What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made in your life and how did you overcome it?
I got a DUI couple of years ago. That was pretty rock bottom for me, but in retrospect it taught me so much and as a result inspired me to make an album and name it DUI (Dance Under the Influence). Being able to channel all that negative energy to build something positive was pretty empowering. Don’t Funk with Me and Completed Me are two singles off that album. It should release in April.
Which famous person would you most like to see play you in a film?
Aamir Khan. He’s just a boss has always been one of my favorite actors. Plus his movies always have that balance of comedy and great storylines.
What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
My career is the biggest risk I’ve taken. Like I said before having a Business degree in Silicon Valley and could easily lead to a lucrative but normal 9-5 life. But the sacrifice is worth it for the things you want badly.
What makes you angry?
People who waste time. I used to do that a lot but now I am learning to be really efficient with my time. It’s the most valuable thing.
Describe someone outside your field of interest who inspires you and why?
The YouTube sensation Superwoman is my current inspiration. She came out of nowhere and the massive success she was able to achieve on her own despite everyone expecting an Indian girl to fail in this industry. She’s amazing.
What accomplishment in your life are you most proud of?
Having people with me on my creative journey everyday and making them feel the emotions I feel through my music is what I am proud of most. I hope to keep doing this for the rest of my life.
Tell us about the scene in the US right now. After the EDM bubble burst clubbers are discovering loads of new dance music genres which is great right?
I don’t think the EDM bubble has burst.. EDM the term was coined to rebrand dance music into pop variant. It’s amazing that just like Jazz, Rock and Hip-Hop, electronic music is experiencing the same thriving underground industry that’s constantly pushing the boundary and introducing new sounds. I personally love all forms of dance music, whether it be pop or underground. I play various subgenres of dance music in my sets because at the end of the day a good song is a good song.
Let’s zip forward 12 months…what is the 1 thing you want to accomplish in 2016?
Ahh man release a lot of new music and keep growing the fanbase. Keep learning new tricks and developing my sound. Also, I want to play a lot of shows.
And finally…what is coming out next from you studio wise?
Lots and lots of music! I promised myself that I would be in studio creating if I am not out playing shows. I am going to work hard and around the clock to bring new music. I plan to release an album that I’ve been working on for the past 2.5 years and an EP in 2016!
Thank you Sanjoy. Great interview.
This was really fun. Thanks for asking such great questions and thank you again for having me!