After interviewing DJ Anjali and DJ Rekha last year, Vijay Masih, aka DJ VJ is the latest to spin the decks at night club Tantrik.
Coming from Edmonton, Canada, he tells of how he got into DJing, his radio show and what the bhangra scene is like in his native country.
DJ VJ shares his experiences of DJing to a desi crowd, how he hooked up with Bhangratheque, and what kind of a night to expect come July 3rd.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I'm born and raised in Edmonton, Canada. I love all types of music and have been a DJ for 15 years now. I do not DJ full time. I work Mon-Fri as a Recruitment Consultant in the Oil & Gas industry. DJ'ing has always been a passion of mine and I've been very fortunate that something I love doing so much has taken me to places I never would have seen otherwise. I've been enjoying the ride and am grateful for every opportunity that has come my way.
How did you get into DJing?
I've always been intrigued by the art of DJing and turntablism from a very young age and the interest grew even more so after a trip to the UK, when I found out that my cousins had their own DJ Roadshow and that it was one of the most successful and sought after roadshows in the UK, STING LONDON.
I remember watching my cousin remix hiphop, reggae and house vinyls with bhangra records live in front of a crowd, and at that moment - I knew I would one day do the same thing. When I came back to Canada, I took a part time job so I could save up money to buy turntables and a mixer, once I bought them I quit the job I had because I hated it. It wasn't long before I realized that in order to progress as a DJ, I would need money to buy new records on a regular basis, so I started working part time somewhere else while going to school so I could feed my vinyl addiction. Once I had a decent collection built up, I'd spend many hours studying and trying to mimic other DJs, learning to better myself at this craft while developing a style that was my own.
I still practice to this day and am always learning new ways to be innovative, creative, and fine tune the technical aspect of my mixing and scratching skills.
Who were your musical influences growing up?
There are way to many to list, but the main ones that come to mind are:
DJ Jazzy Jeff
What are your favorite songs to play in your set?
The songs that a crowd does not expect to hear at a time they would least expect it.
Have you DJ'd in the US before?
Yes, I DJ'd once in Chicago in November 2012.
You are DJ'ing in Tantrik on July 3rd. How did the gig come about?
In November 2012, I planned a trip to visit a friend of mine in Indianapolis. I had never been to Chicago before, so I thought I would take a day trip to the city and spend a night there as well. I was going to be on my own, so I went online and tried to find out if there were any bhangra parties or events going on that I could check out, this lead me to find out that there was a big party happening at Tantrik when I came across Bhangratheque. I sent the promoter (Jimmy) my SoundCloud page and a quick bio and told him that I'd love to come down and spin for a bit.
He was very open to the idea, so I came down and opened up the night on the decks, and people took a liking to my style and I got very positive feedback from a lot of the people there who I spoke to after my set was over. I kept in contact with Jimmy since then, and shortly after I released my latest mix on soundcloud, he sent me a message on Facebook asking if I was available on July 3rd. I was, so he booked me to come down and I can't wait to get there!!
What is the scene like in Edmonton and Canada in general?
The scene in Edmonton is good, we have had a lot of artists come and perform here. As a matter of fact, Gippy Grewal and Sharry Mann were in Edmonton last night performing for a packed crowd. There are some very good DJs in Edmonton, and the scene has evolved from when I started out here. I remember DJing parties where the whole night would be Bhangra and/or Bollywood and if you played anything else it lead to a very mixed and often awkward reaction, whereas nowadays DJs are expected to be well versed in other genres and not be one dimensional.
I love DJing for a desi crowd and seeing a packed dance floor of uncles and aunties busting out their moves to Calvin Harris, Lil Wayne, 2Pac, Drake, Biggie, David Guetta, Bon Jovi, etc.
You have a show hosted on Asian star called Friday Fix. How did that come about and what can listeners tuning into your show for the first time expect?
This radio show came through my affiliation with STING LONDON. One of the shareholders of the Asian Star came across my profile on Soundcloud, liked what they heard, then reached out to STING to see if there would be a possibility of me doing a weekly mix show. First time listeners can expect to hear a solid diverse mix of desi music mashed up with RnB, Hip Hop, Top 40, and dance music in real time in a way that they've never heard before.
What kind of a night can the party people expect in Chicago come July 3rd?
It's Independence Day long weekend, Friday is a holiday, I'm gonna be spinning on the turntables - mixing, mashing & scratching up all of their favourite past and present bhangra & bollywood tracks with my favourite club anthems. I've got some new music that I'll be dropping that night as well and my right hand man, MC Seani B is going to be on the mic to hype up the crowd. It's gonna be packed and the vibe will be something to remember!
Thank you for your time Vijay. I know you'll smash it and have everyone dancing!
DJ VJ will be at Tantrik on Thursday July 3rd on 800 W Superior St. Visit Bhangratheque for more information.
Follow DJ VJ on Twitter, check out his SoundCloud page for his latest mixes and tune into his radio show, Friday Fix every week.
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