Lavanya Narayanan talks to Cid Inc and Praveen Achary, the duo who performed at Pasha, The Park Chennai.
In 2011 Henri Hurtig — better known as Cid Inc — stepped into the spotlight as a producer of electronic music. His progressive techno style was championed by fellow artists and clubbers alike, while demand for his DJ skills has seen Henri play at some of the best clubs on the global dance scene. Praveen Achary is a home-grown artiste with a number of chart-topping productions that are known for musical diversity. With a unique combination of Deep, Tech and Progressive House, his style is popular with fellow artistes and fans alike.
Cid, how did you get started as a DJ?
It really just came out of the fact that I had a few friends who were DJs. When I saw them doing what they did, it looked pretty interesting and I thought I’d give it a shot.
How did you take it out of Sweden and start travelling?
I started out as a small party DJ in local clubs. Once I started producing music and gained recognition as a producer, all the DJ gigs came naturally. It was a gradual transition.
What do you prefer, being in the studio or interacting with a live audience on a tour?
Honestly? Both go hand-in-hand for me. I love producing music, so that feeling of being in the studio and creating something that you can’t wait for everyone to hear is amazing. At the end of the day, it’s all about the audience.
What genre of music do you personally love?
I really like a bit of everything. I like lots of different kinds, everything from old chamber music to jazz and contemporary. Unfortunately, because I’m creating and producing so much, I don’t really have the time to listen to that much music.
What really gets the crowds going?
It truly depends on the crowd. But my shows are usually centered around underground, techno, and progressive music.
Praveen, how did you get started as a DJ?
It started off as a hobby. I never took it seriously until I was in Toronto, doing a course in Computer Science, and I realised that I enjoyed creating music. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. After that, I moved to India because at that point, the market was developing. I did a course in SAI in Chennai but I learnt a lot more from my friends/colleagues. It kind of just started going from there, once I realised that this was my passion.
Are you born and brought up in Chennai, or have you travelled to other places also?
I was born in Chennai, but after that I spent most of my life in Jordan, Lebanon and Israel. Then I spent some time in Toronto and came back to Chennai to be a DJ. The first three years after coming back were a struggle, just trying to get my place in the market, to see what’s missing and try to deliver that to the audience. When I came here, a lot of people were DJing, but only a handful were producing music as well, so I realised that’s something I could do. I released my first single in 2009, under a label with only one other Indian. That gave me a huge platform; it was a completely different profile. For me, people didn’t ask ‘where have you played,’ but ‘who’s played your stuff’. I’ve started a label this year as well, called JuiceBox Music. My label’s the only one in Bangalore.
Would you say you’re trying to be pathbreaking, then? Or are you just going with the flow and seeing where it takes you?
It’s probably a bit of both. With my label, I’m trying to set the way for other people. Right now, looking at the global scale and market outside, I’m trying to fill the gap.
What do you think of the local club scene?
It tends to vary between cities. In India, Bombay is the coolest. In Chennai, it’s more of a ‘food plus club’ scene. I think a bigger club scene would be a great thing and it would really click with today’s youth.
What kind of music do you listen to?
I listen to a lot of house, techno, and progressive, since that’s what I play, especially on tours. I’ve made tracks with hip-hop artists too, so I listen to some of that. Whenever I have time to listen to other stuff, I listen to alternative music, stuff that’s refreshing and without structure. Basically, I listen to anything that sounds good. They all inspire me.