No better place to experiment with music: DJ Nikhil Chinapa


Bengaluru boy DJ Nikhil Chinapa speaks candidly about his recent work, his career choices and where he was born

Bengaluru boy DJ Nikhil Chinapa speaks candidly about his recent work, his career choices and where he was born

“The sound spectrum changes a bit in the specific area called melodic techno – I experimented with that and added some Indian grunge elements to the sound to keep it more exciting and fresh,” says DJ Nikhil Chinapa, who was recently at the town and introduced residents to his latest work – music he’s been working on for the past few months or so. “There’s no better place than Bengaluru to experiment because these guys know their music.”

Audiences understand the difference between music and mediocre music, says Nikhil. “Bengaluru has always been far less biased than audiences across India. They listen with an open mind and decide what they like or dislike about an artist. In most places, people come with a ready-made idea and if the artist doesn’t act accordingly, they get laughed at. Bengaluru has a wide audience so it’s always good to play there. At the same time, it’s a challenge because you know the audience knows their stuff.”

DJ Nikhil Chinapa

DJ Nikhil Chinapa | Photo credit: special agreement

The DJ, who performed at the Raahi in town, says: “You can tell right away if his music appeals to the audience on the dance floor. As DJs, we’re constantly listening to new music and deciding what works for us, for our sound and how we want to structure ourselves,” he adds of how “extremely challenging but also rewarding” his chosen career is.

One of the first professional DJs in India, Nikhil says the job takes hard work and dedication. “As with any profession – whether world-class, doctor and scientist, carpenter or Formula 1 driver – there is no overnight success. It requires a deep understanding of the skills required as well as the equipment you would be using.”

Part of the audience at Nikhil Chinapa's DJing event in Raahi, Bengaluru

Part of the audience at Nikhil Chinapa’s Event DJing in Raahi, Bengaluru | Photo credit: special agreement

“If you’re one of those people who can’t understand life without music, if music is the only thing in the world that makes sense to you like math, physics and geography do, then these are the people who DJs should be,” he laughs.

Nikhil admits that DJing is a very rewarding way to pass the time by playing for friends and family, but to be a successful pro you have to be in the top 2 or 3%. “If not, you can still have a decent career, but you won’t be at the top of your craft or your community.”

To put it more simply, Nikhil says when he started some club owners thought he didn’t know how to DJ. “They thought I was there as a celebrity — the MTV guy who would be standing behind the console and waving his arms. Back then we played on vinyl, it was a completely different art form and I think it was a bit more difficult to play than the current digital format. I got my records out, put them on the turntable and played music, mixing one record after another – that surprised them!” he laughs.

DJ Nikhil Chinapa at Raahi in Bengaluru

DJ Nikhil Chinapa at Raahi in Bengaluru | Photo credit: special agreement

However, he admits that being part of the MTV community has opened more doors for him than a newcomer. “Even if MTV wasn’t there, I would still have done it because I really enjoy it. Sharing music I love on the dance floor and seeing the audience react to something I’m playing for the first time is extremely rewarding, it’s very satisfying.”

Referring to the city’s willingness to support and nurture new talent, Nikhil says, “As eager as it is to listen to DJs from other cities, audiences in Bengaluru are realizing that it’s the local DJs who are burning the fire.” hold and feed the dance floors with fresh music and sound.”

According to Nikhil, the biggest challenge for a DJ is protecting their hearing as they listen to music at exceptionally loud volumes. “Once your hearing is gone, it cannot be regenerated or repaired. Unfortunately, many venues and facilities in India do not have adequate acoustic control. They put in expensive sound systems, but they’re not balanced enough to protect your hearing or turn down the volume for mixing or playing at reduced decibel levels,” he laments.

Part of the audience at Nikhil Chinapa's DJing event in Raahi, Bengaluru

Part of the audience at Nikhil Chinapa’s Event DJing in Raahi, Bengaluru | Photo credit: special agreement

water ailments

The recent rainstorm in Bengaluru was also something Nikhil spoke to. “The climate crisis facing the planet is real. Although the rainfall is unusual and the unplanned development of the city has made this situation inevitable, there is a lot we can do as citizens,” he says.

He talks about Bengaluru water activist and educator Vishwanath Srikantaiah, whose Rainwater Club is a charity he supports. “Vishwanath, also known as Zenrainman on Instagram and Twitter, has revived traditional methods of rainwater harvesting and water storage in and around the city and also in southern India. He advocates cleaning up traditional open wells and replenishing Bangalore’s aquifers. We need to pay attention to the depletion of groundwater around the world.”

“In Bengaluru, it is up to us and our elected officials to plan for the future – from groundwater depletion, rainwater harvesting, water harvesting, etc. In the 1990s, only Millers Tank Bund Road was flooded. But now, with the number of sites built over lake beds, the situation is far more alarming. We need to take a good look at the planet because it’s the only one we have.”



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