Nikhil Chinapa tells Neeti Sarkar why the time was just right for his debut compilation of House music

As a VJ and TV show presenter or as host of Asia’s premier dance festivals — Sunburn and bringing down prominent international acts such as Swedish House Mafia, Alesso, Deniz Koyu, Armin Van Buuren, Zedd, Hardwell and Tiesto to India, Nikhil Chinapa has always been in the news.

He has added another feather to his cap with the release of the compilation album Defected In The House India 2013. The album, released by Sony Music, for the dance music label Defected Records, showcases Nikhil’s unquestionable love for House music in all its various forms. Every track is irresistibly danceable. Encompassing a broad range of House music — from deep, bass-heavy grooves to soulfully uplifting vocals, the mix is a celebration of the music that has kept Nikhil at the forefront of the Indian dance music scene for more than a decade.

“In my first compilation, I’ve chosen to share House music that I love listening to; music that is timeless and contemporary. I’ve also tried to create a snapshot of what I hope dance music (or at least a part of it) will sound like in the coming year — deep and soulful, while also being quirky and fun. This is music that moves me emotionally, triggers happy memories and makes me want to dance, smile and believe. I hope it does the same for the listener.”

A new angle

Stating that the time to do something of this nature had finally arrived, the acclaimed DJ says: “I really wanted to show people a different side of House music. The genre on its own has evolved into a culture, a way of life. From music fests and large-scale concerts to the Internet, we have access to the best of House music. While some listen to only mainstream, others are into underground House. There is need to strike the right balance. The good thing is that people are learning to relish new flavours of this kind of music.”

About the challenges, Nikhil says: “Zeroing in on the playlist was a little daunting simply because my wish list is large. We couldn’t have some songs on the album because we couldn’t get the licence. There were songs that seemed to go so well with the album’s theme but we couldn’t put so much on just one album.”

Well-known in India as an ambassador for electronic beats and club culture, Nikhil gives his take on the current house music scene in India. “There is so much new music to discover, and I hope this compilation album serves as a doorway to new music and new artistes. On the flipside, while people are listening to a lot of House music, they have their favourite tracks so when they go to a club they expect the DJ to play only those numbers, and don’t take to anything experimental or new. I hope people begin to trust DJs to take them on a musical journey they are bound to enjoy and just enjoy the ride without questions.”

Nikhil dons many roles either behind the decks, on the microphone and even organising larger-than-life shows. Ask him what he enjoys most, and he says, “Playing and sharing music will always be my favourite thing to do.”