Meet DJ Vinayak - A who loves to blend tunes, hop genres and make people dance to his tunes

“I love experimenting with sounds. I record everything interesting I hear. It could be anything, says Vinayak Karthikeyan, better known as DJ Vinayak^A, tapping the clasp of a metal box. “For example this sound…I could record it and then use it while composing a track,” he adds. His first solo album that came out last year was based on a series of sounds from the station and trains and was aptly titled Lonesome Train.

It’s been 12 years since he started DJ-ing. “Initially I used to play a lot of commercial music. Then I felt I should come up with something new. Now I play a mix of experimental, progressive and deep music,” says the DJ who was in the city to perform at Distil, Vivanta by Taj Connemara.

Interestingly, as a child Vinayak learnt to play the tabla and harmonium and, more recently, the guitar. From harmonium to DJ-ing is quite a shift, isn’t it? He laughs, “Yes it is. But it helped as my music draws elements from these instruments. My knowledge of rhythm comes from learning the tabla. I was two when I started learning it. We were living in Jamshedpur then and I used to play at Rabindra Sangeet performances. In a lot of my music I also improvise on Rabindra Sangeet. Today you can just sit and make music on a computer but I use what I have learnt from my roots.”

Vinayak is currently working on another solo album titled Towards the Unknown. “It has 10 tracks but they are all too long. I have to cut them to size,” laughs the Bangalore-based DJ, who has to his credit 150 singles, and ‘Losing Myself’ that was released as an EP in 2010 was later licensed by Buddha Bar. He also does a lot of remixes and created a remix track for Unnai Pol Oruvan. “The song was called ‘Allah Jaane’. I had come to Chennai to learn sound engineering. I quit in seven months because I could not relate to the idea of opening a book and studying. During that period I met Shruti Hassan through a common friend and she liked my music and that’s how I got to create the remix.”

If things go as planned he might shortly be doing the background score for a movie but as of now he is happy travelling and making people dance to his tunes.