DJ SA introduced concepts of Trap and Hip Hop Djing techniques at the Hip Hop workshop with students at the I Love Music Academy, Gurgaon.
“SA” started the workshop with an introduction to the History of Hip-Hop and his own experiences developing the scene in India. Mixing with Pioneer CDJ 2000 NXS-2 players and DJM 900’s as part of his Tech rider, he indulged students by showcasing his own unique style of mixing Hip-hop.
Coupled with his experiences in the industry over the years and how he handles situations, made for an interesting and frank insight into the music industry for our students.
SA further demonstrated Serato-DJ, an acclaimed DJ software. Serato is popular globally, a standard for Hip-Hop, Dance music and everything in between.
Post the workshop, DJ/Performance Faculty member “X fader” interviewed DJ SA, Check it out below, or head to our Youtube channel.
When asked about his Journey and how he started, SA spoke of his passion and love for music in college and his family background in film.
“… I was pretty curious about DJing because I was always into music and I Love Music”
“I have a family background where my family comes from film production. My grandfather was a producer and so they have always been in movies and music has always been around me.”
Curious about trying something new and the desire to explore something different, SA started DJ’ing. Fast forward 17 years, he is still at it, describing his journey as a roller coaster ride.
DJ SA also spoke of his early influences in Hip-Hop music. Namely by artist Eminem and how he vibed with Eminem’s unique style.
“… something in him (Eminem) just really connected with me. And the stuff that he said and spoke about, even though back in the day he was really funny with his lyrics and stuff. But he also had a serious side to it. So keeping that balance, that’ something that was so different that I had not heard before. Once I heard Eminem, that’s when the HIP-HOP story started.”
In conversation, regarding the influence of the recent Bollywood Movie, “Gully Boy“, on the Hip-Hop scene in India, SA expressed his appreciation of how a wider audience has now started listening to Hip-hop and India’s underground artists.
“… a crowd that didn’t really know about or got into hip-hop as such, have started listening to artists which they never use to before. I mean Divine is really big. Naezy is really big. But they’ve also started listening to other artists like Prabh deep. And then there is that Dhaval a.k.a D’evil, there is MC Altaf and there’s Dee MC. So there are quite a few of them that are really big and really doing their thing since a really long time and way before Gully Boy as well!
“So the fact that they’ve got that attention is really good for the industry.”
However, SA did add “….the sad part is that a movie had to bring out something which was always there in the streets and always in the club but was never accepted by the audience. I feel sad. Someone like a star had to put it out there and props to Ranveer for doing it. I think India in general and the clubbing scene should be more accepting of newer sounds. And not just with Hip-Hop, with any kind of music.”
DJ SA is an avid user of technology and pro-technology in the performance space. When asked about the use of the Sync. button and his opinion of its use for performance, SA said…
“it all depends on the artists, on how creative they can get with the technology. Keeping in mind he doesn’t lose the main sense of the fact that he’s DJing. There is a lot of debate about Sync., but I also feel that in a way if (and that’s a big if); If you are using different modules, like synthesizers, a MIDI controller, other instruments, and if you are definitely playing live, using more than just one console to create music on stage. it is definitely good to stay in touch with Sync. But when it comes to just playing two tracks? I feel as a DJ you should be more hands-on about it and not use Sync.”
Using Serato since it first came out, SA was quick to adapt to the technology by going digital with his music. “I was just getting off CDs and the minute it (Serato) came out I actually jumped on it, because as I said, I’m very curious about new technology. When I got to know about it, I played around with it and next thing you know, I completely removed all my CDs, got them on a digital format and got them on Serato.”
Keeping abreast with the progress of Serato, SA also dabbled with Serato Studio, which is in its beta phase, even though he does not yet produce. Speaking very highly of Serato’s innovation and transition from purely Serato DJ to Serato for producer through Serato Studio…
“I feel that they’ve done a brilliant job when it comes to making a new DAW, which is very similar in the layout of Serato(DJ). It makes it very easy for someone who is trying to transition from being just the DJ to trying to dabble with production. Because it’s so similar and looks like Serato(DJ), they have made it easier and very very user-friendly, for someone who is trying to just start learning how to produce. So, I think that’s brilliant and they’re gonna go on another level right now.”
When asked about his production plans, SA confirmed that even though he does know how to produce he currently chooses to remain a DJ and focus on entertainment as a performer.
SA is one of the busiest Dj’s in Hip-Hop in the country and among the few artists who have broken the popular belief that a successful DJ must also be a producer.
“… I’m not gonna like completely cut off the fact that I don’t want to produce, but I just haven’t gotten around to the fact that I want to produce.”– DJ SA
However, DJ SA was open to discussing this further saying. “… you don’t really need to be a producer to be a good DJ or vice versa. You can be a really good producer and be a good DJ and you can also be a bad DJ and a really good producer. So they are two different aspects. You need to figure out what you are more interested in, you can also dabble in both. It’s all individual opinion.”
Speaking to DJ SA about how he keeps fit and copes with the lifestyle of a touring DJ. SA started by saying
“…everyone has their vices for smoking and drinking, I don’t! I feel like I’m very fortunate that I don’t smoke or drink.”
DJ SA puts his health first. The craft requires a lot of travelling, late-night, eating out and stress that can hamper one’s health. “I also make sure that I am working out at least five days a week. I try and put my health first. If I didn’t, I don’t think I’ll be still doing it after 17 years as it takes a massive toll on your body. Your body clock is going all over the place in different time zones with unhealthy sleep patterns and eating. You have obviously odd hours of waking up and sleeping and the stuff that we eat at that time of the hour, it’s not healthy. So I definitely feel that it’s a very very important aspect of being a touring DJ or producer or any artist in general a musician.”
“If you don’t have a healthy body and a healthy mind, you not really putting 100% in creativity because you won’t have that correct frame of mind to sit and be as creative as possible.”DJ SA
Apart from DJing, SA loves to cook. Being a foodie and a great chef, DJ SA participated and competed in the Global ADE Cookoff in 2016.
“ I love food and I’m not just saying it because I’m a foodie or something. But I’d really like to dabble in something when it comes to cooking, so that’s something that I want to do in the future as well.”
Supporting the music production community, DJ SA ensures that he buys all his music.
He uses DJ City, although he does confess that he didn’t back in the day when DJ City wasn’t around. He stays connected with the scene by actively following Hip Hop communities on social channels. And follows Industry news which he says is an important part of staying current. “I always keep a track of what people are listening, even if it’s on Instagram. Social media does play a big role…
“….if I have a certain crowd or audience that loves hip-hop, I want to follow them, to just know what kind of music they’re listening to.”
He also advises “one thing that you should always do. You should always go to clubs and see other DJs and see how they are playing. … You learn a lot from other DJs, not just with technique or songs but the way you play in general.”
He left us with some advice to share to aspiring DJs “. Just keep doing what you’re doing and just keep practising. Don’t give up, actually! You may hit a roadblock sometime or the other and want to give up. That’s just when a little push is required. Just stay and don’t give up keep pushing it, because there’s always the light at the end of the tunnel. That’s one thing I’ve always lived by.
Liked the Interview? Watch the entire video interview below: