Raised by Marathi banjaras and Cascadian loggers, this Oregon native introduced Bhangra beats and Bollywood vibes to the dancefloors of Portland. Alongside ‘The Incredible Kid,’ DJ Anjali has done much to bring Asian fusion music to America’s club scene.
DJ Anjali will be DJing live at Tantrik in Chicago. Before that though, I hit DJ Anjali with some quick fire questions.
How did you get into DJing?
The Incredible Kid (my DJ partner) DJ’d a lot of house parties in North & North East Portland around 1999-2000. He & the other DJ dudes always played a lot of the same ole; Soul, Funk & what we call “house party classics.”
Honestly I was kinda bored most of the time & thought I could do a better job. I asked him at work one day if he’d show me how. A few days later, he rang me up and said there was a party that weekend and did I wanna play?
Hell yes! I literally showed up to this house party and The Kid showed me how to use the DJ mixer real quick. He went off to the bathroom and when he came back everyone was dancing. We’ve been DJing together ever since!
Who were your musical influences growing up?
As a kid I was obsessed with the first 2 or 3 Madonna albums. I later discovered The Smiths & they changed my life. I’ve had different phases of musical interest; Metal, Goth & Britpop. Mod, Oi! & 60’s Girl Group.
I absolutely rejected the filmi music I heard as a kid. Of course now, vintage Bollywood is my favorite thing to listen to.
How did you and ‘The Incredible Kid’ get together?
We met working at Powell’s City of Books in Portland. We were both involved with the unionization effort there in 2000. A lot of parties were thrown as part of the labor struggle. I think our slogan was something like “We like to party but the fight comes first.”
What are your favorite songs to play in your set?
Depends on the set. I love me some desi RnB. I wonder if Chicago will let me get away with Mumzy, Raghav or Preeya Kalidas??
Tell me more about the club scene in the US? Does the Bhangra and Bollywood beats appeal outside of the South Asian demographic?
In Portland, we’ve always had a mixed crowd of desis & pardesis. Seems the same in San Francisco. I used to go to Basement Bhangra back in the really early days and it was pretty much a brown party but it’s very mixed these days.
One of our last gigs in Vancouver, BC was at a kinda hipster club. Our friends Ravi, Sanjay & TSpoon (from Delhi 2 Dublin) came by to say hi. They were amazed to see an all white crowd freakin out to bhangra in their own town. We love to expose bhangra to non-desis!
Have you DJ’d in Chicago before?
This is my debut!!
What kind of a night can the party people expect in Chicago come May 26th?
Lots and lots of dancing. Hopefully it’ll be wild & fabulous… I wanna see how Chicago parties!!!
Thank you for your time Anjali. I know you’ll smash it!
DJ Anjali will be at Tantrik on Sunday May 26th on 800 W Superior St. Visit www.bhangratheque.com for more information.
Visit http:www.anjaliandthekid.com for more on DJ Anjali.
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Check out my previous bhangra related feature, ‘Exploring the Chicago Bhangra Scene and its Growth.’
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