We last caught up with Arjun Vagale back in 2014, who’s played a big part in cultivating the underground as part of our one to watch list. Our view on him remains unchanged.
Hi Arjun, great to catch up with you, how have you been keeping since our last chat in 2014?
Hey guys, Pleasure to speak with you again! Well … wow, 2014! A LOT has happened since then! But to sum it up real quick, tons of gigs, a move back to India, and lots and lots of music & travel 🙂
When we last spoke you had recently been voted No.1 Underground Artist in your home country of India, and speaking with others many consider you the pioneer of country’s techno scene. Over the last couple of years electronic music has exploded with popularity in many parts of the world; has there been much change in India’s underground scene?
Absolutely! The underground scene in India is expanding, and I’m happy to say the parties are better than ever. People are a lot more receptive to new sounds and the vibe is a scorcher. We have so many quality acts coming through every week, to every single city (not just Bombay or Delhi) and the scene has spread to the smaller cities as well … so yeah, it’s very healthy at the moment.
Awakenings festical recently started hosting an East Asia event in India. You headlining the event and got your shot at playing the Dutch festival over the weekend. How does it feel to be held in such high regard by one of the world’s leading Techno events?
Awakenings arrived to India two years ago, and full credit goes the to amazing team at VH1 Supersonic festival. They host a stage at the Festival, bringing major artists like Adam Beyer, Joris Voorn, Ida Engberg, Luigi Madonna, &ME, Paul Ritch and many more. I headlined the stage earlier this year, and just a few days before that they invited me to play Awakenings Festival in Holland. Needless to say I was so excited hearing the news, and absolutely honoured to be playing for them. It’s been one of my dreams, and I’m smiling as I write this, that it’s actually happened 🙂
You recently spoke on one of the panels at the International Music Summit in Ibiza… was it more nerve-racking than playing a DJ set to a packed dancefloor?
To be honest, I’ve done a fair amount of them now. We work closely with IMS for their Asia-Pacific edition, and in the past I’ve been on many panels for them, and have even hosted some – most recently at ADE and TDME in Tokyo. I was not on a panel at IMS Ibiza, but it was exciting being on these and hearing wonderful stories from leading industry folk.
We caught up with your friend and business partner Ramiro Lopez a few months ago and he told us a bit about your new label Odd Recordings. I understand the label’s next release is going to be new remixes of your “We Are ODD” release from Sasha Carassi and Kaiserdisco, what made you decide to re-release that ep with new remixes?
The label is only 5 months old and I think we’ve already managed to create a great buzz around it. The first release got a lot of attention immediately, both tracks hit the charts and were played by a lot of DJ’s worldwide – we even got some requests to remix it by some of our friends, so we decided it deserved some remixes and we asked Sasha Carassi and Kaiserdisco (who are also good friends of ours) if they would like to and they both agreed.
Sasha Carassi and Kaiserdisco are both artists that we have respect and love for at C-U, what made you pick out those guys to rework the tracks?
They are great friends of ours, and we respect them a lot. Another aspect behind the label is the “sound”. We’ve been very careful to keep it slightly raw and both Kaiserdisco & Sasha know the raw sound we like. Have to say, the remixes are monsters, so keep an eye out for them end-July.
Apart from the remix release on Odd Records what other releases should we be looking out for, as I’ve heard rumours of a release on Pan-Pots label Second State?
My attention this year is on ODD, but Pan-Pot have been supporting a lot of my music so I sent them some tracks and they like it. So for now I’ve contributed a track to their SUM 2 compilation on Second State (it should be out by the time this interview is published). Hopefully an EP should follow in the future … let’s see 🙂
Last time we spoke about the Music Technology School you set up in India to help develop the countries next generation of music talent. Can you list some Indian artist whose music is getting you excited?
To be fair, these is SO much good talent here, it would be tough to list them all, but a new kid on the block called “dotdat” is the one to watch. He’s got some serious talent. He recently opened the room for our ODDyssey party at Sonar, and everyone one there was so impressed by his skills. I feel if a DJ can do a perfect opening set, he’s got tremendous potential.
I know in this interview we have talked a lot about your native India, but last time we spoke you mentioned you were just about to make the move to New York, and although I know India is still somewhere you visit regularly. I wanted to get your thoughts on the New York club scene, and recommend our readers some good clubs for someone who has yet to visit the city?
I’ve now moved back to India as I feel I need to be around as there is so much going on! I’ve helped build the scene back home for over 20 years now, and kind of feel responsible to help it grow stronger. BUT, I love NYC! It’s like my second home. The clubs there are amazing, and the people behind the scene in that city are like family. If I had to pick one spot, it would be Output in Williamsburg! It’s got one of the hottest sound systems and the vibe in there is electric.