Interview: DJ Kartik Shekar talks about the growing electronic dance music scene in Hyderabad
Hyderabad’s electronic dance music scene has been expanding steadily in the past couple of years, and artistes like Kartik Shekar are the ones to thank. The city-based DJ is one of the contributors to the growing circuit, bringing international record producers to the city. “The idea for me is to bring new experiences and unheard-of line-ups to Hyderabad. Every artiste I know today wants to play here because we have an exponentially growing scene. To me, everything we as artistes and venues do in Hyderabad will not reap the benefits today, but it’s about doing it for future generations to have a healthy and thriving music scene,” shares Kartik.
While his sound depends on the hour of the day, Kartik broadly plays EDM, progressive house and melodic techno in most gigs, with a few vocal tracks thrown in. In the last couple of years alone, he has performed alongside world musicians like ARTBAT, Fur Coat, Denis Horvat and Agents of Time, among others. “Just seeing these artistes in Hyderabad was already quite overwhelming for me. That apart, opening for Fur Coat was a game-changer in my career. I was nervous and shaking for days before the gig and I probably went to the venue four hours before my set to try out the new mixer they were using and make sure everything was right,” he recollects.
Although he loved music growing up, Kartik explored different genres when he moved to Bengaluru in 2007, when he attended concerts and was exposed to the thriving party scene there. “I remember hearing Jalebee Cartel, (one of India’s pioneering electronic music collectives) in the same year — and they absolutely blew my mind. I wanted more, I started digging for techno and minimal music. In a year, I started becoming what you call a ‘bedroom DJ’ — playing music for friends who came over to my place. It was fun but never something I considered doing professionally for a while,” he says.
The journey, however, to standing unbeatable in the city’s music scene wasn’t an easy ride. One of the most challenging parts, Kartik admits, was to not play for free. “It was almost 10 years later when a venue in Hyderabad had an idea for an ‘open console’ for amateur DJs. I played my first gig there and after that, there was no looking back. But the first biggest challenge was to get out of the zone of playing for free. I had to put my foot down a month or two in. Thankfully, Hyderabad has a great community of DJs who all work together and that support helped all of us,” he adds.
Catch him play at The Hoppery (Olive Bistro). June 28, 8 pm.