DJ, VJ, actor and co-owner of Submerge, Nikhil Chinappa talks about the music scene in India, the secret to success and what it feels like to be with someone who loves doing the same things as you.
Now is a great time to be in the music industry in India because you can see pockets of interest developing for all kinds of music.
Electronic music is what my wife DJ Pearl and I are both heavily involved in and, of course, it’s now the most popular form of music across the planet. But besides the mainstream, commercially successful electronic acts that you see, there’s also a lot of interest developing for the not-so-well-known, underground, alternative electronica acts. It’s the same thing in rock and in folk music as well.
What used to be earlier considered very niche areas of interest are now getting mass interest, and it’s so cool! Rock bands are having a huge resurgence as well and electronica groups and bands are starting to perform.
Basically, it’s really a great time to be involved in the music scene in our country.
The secret to success is just the same old cliché — there ain’t no substitute for hard work. Like with any field, even engineering or medicine, the people who become successful in their chosen field are the best in their field.
For every doctor who’s got a billion dollar mansion, there are doctors who are also working in places where they would rather not be working. It’s not like becoming a doctor is a magical ticket to a comfortable, easy life.
Similarly, in music as well, you have to work hard and luck is a large element too, especially when you work in bands because being in a band is that sort of thing where you need four people who will get together and create magic. We’ve seen this too many times — they’ll break apart and they’ll start four different things and all of them will fail. But when they were together they would have had a special chemistry.
Partner in rhyme
Being married to Pearl, who is also a DJ, is an amazing experience. I’m constantly inspired by her choice of music because she pulls out tracks sometimes that I would be scared of playing in a dance floor ‘cos I find them complex, beautiful but complex.
And she makes them work in a way that I haven’t seen any other DJ make music that they love work, as a language. It’s almost like she speaks a language that I could never speak even if I had an entire collection of records.
Someone asked me if I copy some of her music and I said, ‘It’s like trying to steal plutonium from a nuclear physicist’s lab.
You can steal it, but what do you do with it? I’ve got plutonium, it’s green and it’s glowing, but what next?’