Interview: "I am always there to support emerging artistes and women DJs," says Teri Miko
Teri Miko, a DJ/producer from Kyiv, Ukraine, burst onto the party scene in India a few years ago, and has quickly made a name for her high-energy sets, building a formidable fan following across India, and especially, in the South. Keeping up the discussion about the rise of women DJs in the country, Teri Miko gives us her insights into making it big in the circuit.
How is the scene improving, and becoming more accepting, for women DJs? Is it a good time to be a woman DJ in India?
Teri Miko: First of all, the most important thing is that I do not believe in gender when it comes to music. I believe in talent and hard work, and I hope everyone in our industry will think this way, but of course, there's still gender segregation. I do not know if it's better or worse right now, I think stereotypes toward female DJs are still quite strong. But I am very happy that every year I see more and more talented and hard working girls who are proving them wrong.
Tell us a little about some of the personal challenges that you had to overcome in your own journey as a DJ. How do you see the future for DJing opening up in the country, and overseas?
Teri Miko: One of the biggest challenges was exactly that - to prove that despite my gender, I want to be taken seriously, and stay here for a long time. And, of course, there are other challenges - like, lack of sleep, no time to spend with family, among others. But all this is not difficult when you do what you love. I believe that DJs are taking one of the highest positions in show business at the moment, and it's going to grow bigger. As you can see, the most popular singers are collaborating with top DJs these days.
How have festivals like Sunburn helped in promoting up-and-coming DJs? How important are such platforms for the growth of not just the DJ community, but also of the entire lifestyle?
Teri Miko: I believe that brands like Sunburn are giving the biggest push to the whole electronic music industry, as they give a platform to not only up-and-coming DJs but also to the biggest artistes to showcase their work. And, of course, it's quite significant for lifestyle as well, as music festivals are trending right now worldwide, and what can be better than to express yourself through music?
Is there a word of advice, or pointers that you'd like to offer, for organisers of music festivals - perhaps for better artist management, or improved crowd control? How would you like to see things improving?
Teri Miko: I think the most important thing in a big gathering like music festivals is safety and security, because when you come to a festival, you want to have a good time and lose yourself to music and the whole atmosphere, and not worry about anything else.
Do you often find yourself faced with concerns about culture, and morality? How do you deal with untoward reactions - do you ignore them, or would you rather encourage positive, meaningful discussion?
Teri Miko: I actually don't face this issue often, but I am always open to a friendly discussion, as I love to talk and I do it well! : )
Is it true, in 2018, that there are more opportunities for rising DJs in the circuit outside of India? Do you believe that you'd gain more success by hitting the international scene, over the Indian circles?
Teri Miko: I believe, for every DJ, it is important to build a foundation and fan following in your country first, before conquering the world! But yes, of course, DJing is quite an ambitious profession, and we all want to see ourselves popular worldwide.
Tell us about your idols. Who do you look up to, for inspiration? How did they help motivate you, in your chosen path as a DJ?
Teri Miko: My biggest idol and my inspiration is Skrillex. I love him not just for the music, but for who he is, his down-to-earth attitude, his support towards up-and-coming artistes, his active and healthy way of living - all this inspires me, and helps me on my own path.
How important is it to you, to include Indian, especially Bollywood tunes, in your live sets - particularly for Indian crowds? Is the large part of the audiences here really more interested in remixes, than original electronic music?
Teri Miko: Yes, I think it's very important to include one or two popular desi tunes as the Bollywood culture is very strong in India, and I would suggest to each and every artiste coming to this country, it brings you closer to the people. I think people are always looking for variety, and it's the DJ's job is to make his set powerful enough to surprise the audience. And that's where remixes and edits are very helpful.
What are you personal goals, as a DJ, for the new year? Do you have any EPs or albums expected? How much of your focus is likely to be on live gigs, and tours, over studio recordings and album releases?
Teri Miko: I always try to keep a balance between studio work and tours, but yes, sometimes, the tours take over. But generally, in January and mid of the year, I take a break from touring and work on my music. As of now, I have three singles lined up for the beginning of the year, and I am planning a lot of collaborations this year, which include a couple of Indian artistes as well.
A word of advice for aspiring DJs? How would you play mentor to some of the new names emerging in the circuit?
Teri Miko: The biggest advice from my end is: Giving up is never an option. And, I am always there to support emerging artists.