MTV VJ Nikhil Chinappa is a man on a mission. Quite distinct from his more famous on-camera avatar is the role that he plays behind the turntable decks as a disc jockey. An ardent fan of trance music, he is one of the lucky ones who have made a career out of their passion. When he is not busy in front of the cameras, he is leading the charge of the development of the electronic music genre in India by working with a rising brigade of artists.

DJ or VJ, what job do you enjoy more?

I think being a DJ. Definitely! When I put that first record on and wear the headphones, the rest of the world becomes sort of insignificant and I let myself get carried away by the music.

Is the Indian DJ still confined to remixing mainstream Bollywood music?

No, not at all. Not many people know what the Indian DJs have been doing for a while. There are a lot of DJs, who have been signed my labels around the world. For example Jalebee Cartel, who are leading the charge right now.

Are you planning to get into production yourself?

Yes, our group Submerge, which is basically started by me, my wife DJ Pearl and another friend of mine, is going to launch a label soon and we’re working on stuff for that and will start working on a couple of tracks myself. We’ll also have Indian artists, who have the potential to make it big on the global scene sign up with us.

Trance has often been wrongly portrayed as a genre that encourages drug abuse. How can those shackles be broken?

Well, it’s a process of education. The media plays a very large role in this because the stigma of drugs in trance has been painted on largely by the media. It’s very important for the media a distinction about what the drug scene is, what the music scene is and how the two of them are independent

of each other.

Is a DJ more of a performer or an artist?

He’s a combination of both and you can’t separate the two of them. You’re an artist because you’re taking different pieces of music and you’re combining it into a work which is much greater than the sum of its parts which is where the artistic talent comes in. And you’re a performer because you also have the responsibility of entertaining the crowd you’re playing to, carrying the dance floor to a musical journey from the beginning of your set to the end of your set.