DJ Karthikbab sets new trends in the world of music with the help of technology and talent, writes, K. Jeshi
DJ Karthikbab entered the music scene when youngsters were dancing to the tunes of A.R.Rehman. And, the refreshing music inspired this DJ to set new trends. “It is amazing the way A.R. Rehman uses technology and the musical instruments,” Karthikbab says and plays his karaoke remix of akkam bakkam from Kireedam, in an all-new music mix. “Retaining the feel of the original composition is important. Knowledge about the flow of the track, the loop pattern, tempo, rhythm and beats matters,” the DJ adds, whose karaoke re-mixes are not mere instrumental versions of popular songs.
He combines technology — music mixing software such as sound forge and music director’s gold— and talent to infuse new life into songs. “Sometimes I hire keyboard artists to introduce new beats,” the DJ says, who has an enviable collection of 800 karaoke re-mix tracks, beginning with classics such as aasayae alaipolae and the evergreen kalangalil aval vasantham. His karaoke CDs of Tamil, Hindi, English and Malayalam numbers are heard in places as far as the U.S., Singapore and Malaysia, and Sri Lanka through the network of Tamil Manrams.
DJ Karthikbab started off selling audio cassettes of A.R. Rehman’s Roja, Puthiya Mugam and Thiruda Thiruda. Now, he has set up a DJ music studio for entertainers who create theme based music for stage shows.
“When a kid wants to perform a fairy tale, we create the story, step by step with the music, sound effects and the voice dubbing and create a cinematic background for the performance,” he explains. He has worked on about 70 school projects, which include public awareness themes such as banning plastic bags, cutting of trees, traffic rules, and so on.
He says the concept of music studios popular in Metros is catching up in smaller cities and attributes it to the growing awareness levels.
“Schools and colleges encourage students to explore their creative talents and so do the parents. Fashion technology students approach us with the script and for every single costume, be it historical or contemporary, there is a unique piece of music,” says the DJ, who has also composed script-oriented music for comedies in the popular TV show Asatha povadhu yaaru. This involves mixing music with lyrics, sound effects and dialogues.
Sound effects library
His objective is to help more people understand music better and to tell them that all they needs is a creative spark to come up with some great compositions. “It is not about cut and paste but creating new music. Music is all about the feel. There is no theory of musical composition involved in our studio,” he explains.
He has an impressive sound effects library with around 10,000 sound samples — animal sounds, jungle effect, sci-fi robot effects, kitchen sounds, water flow, train accidents, car crash, screams, etc. “I need to put in 12 hours of hard work to create a two-second effect,” he explains.
Karthikbab says being a DJ is not easy. s“Passion matters. It is not just about moving your fingers up and down on the sound mixer. You need to understand the pulse of the crowd. And, you need to be up to date on all music titles,” he says. Karthik has performed live-mixing for the IT crowd in Bangalore and travels to Cochin, Chennai, Ooty, Coonoor, Trichy and Kumbakonam for corporate events, birthday parties, mehendi ceremonies and farm house parties.
“I carry 30 to 50, 00 tracks and do live re-mixing. We change the tempo of the song, add special effects like echo, change of tempo, etc. to make it faster. People want new sounds which they have not heard before,” he adds. Karthikbab’s next weekend outing is for a get-together in the jungles of Thekkady, complete with the laser effects.
He says Hindi re-mixes and Hindi pop numbers have come to rule the DJ world. “Youngsters want hip-hop, and new age music. Rajinikanth and Vijay numbers are a big hit. Of course, popular rock genres of the 80s are always in demand. Karaoke nights are popular in family parties.”
Sounds of Nature
Karthikbab will soon launch an album titled ‘Seashore for meditation and relaxation’, based on the sounds of Nature. “People who live in the metros miss out so much on Nature. So, the album will have the sounds of waves and breeze and a lot of temple music, to give a therapeutic feel,” he says.
He can be contacted at: 98422- 98469 or