DJ Rohit Barker explains the resurgence of house music in the country
Bangalore-based electronica sensation Rohit Barker has worked his way through the alphabet, from an MC to an RJ to a VJ and finally a celebrated DJ, Barker has done it all. He has earned stellar renown as one of the most prolific names in the Indian underground music circuit who’s leading the resurgence in deep house dance music - a genre which is also making a major revival across Europe. Barker who also has a day job as a radio jockey in Bangalore is set to perform at Monkey Bar soon, and we caught up with him to talk about everything relevant.
Have you decided upon a set for you Monkey bar gig?
I don’t usually plan my sets in advance, it largely depends on the crowds, the interactions and the energies. But I will be playing some bouncy house music, some tribal house.
Have you performed in Kolkata before?
I have, the crowd here is very refreshing, they are always up for it, they just want to have a good time, which is brilliant. As a DJ, this is what you want at your set, people who are here solely for the music and to immerse themselves in it. Everyone’s dancing around, it’s great fun.
Can you tell us how you got your start?
I started out as a radio jockey, and then I went into television, I was a VJ in Hong Kong for about 15 years. I started working as an RJ again at Bangalore and I’ve been Deejaying for about 15 years now!
How would you define your sound?
It’s not commercial, it’s not underground, it’s very house. It’s bouncy, fun, tribal, a lot of drums, a lot of basslines.
Has your sound evolved in the last 15 years?
It definitely has. I’ve always been a lover of dance music, primarily house music. A few of the essentials within house music have stayed the same in the last few years, which is why I love it so much. It’s still about basslines and great vocals, you know.
Can you tell us a little about your foundational influences? Sounds which have shaped your work...
In the last few years, I’ve been tracking a few record labels based in London that are owned by people I know, who specialise in the house music space. One is Defected Records and the other is Toolroom Records. I think house is making a huge resurgence all across the UK right now, which is great. It had taken a little bit of a lull in the last few years, but now it’s really big again. And I’m loving that.
Do you think the Indian listeners respond well to house music?
Absolutely, because there are a lot of Indian influences in the genre as well; there are a lot of bells and whistles and drums. Its sensitivity is appealing because it is identifiable immediately.
Do you enjoy the electronica scene in the country, the way it is shaping up?
I do! Some of the best producers today are coming out of this country. Some of the best DJs in the world are quite literally found in India now, there are some local talents which we can peg against anyone in the world, and they can hold their own. I think that’s great.