ENTERPRISE Four city youngsters have got together to create Tenzi FM, an Internet radio station dedicated to Electronic Dance Music. SHILPA NAIR ANAND on what makes them groove
The remains of a party, dumped in two cardboard boxes are, probably, the only visible signs of what the guys at Tenzi FM do. Tenzi FM is an Internet radio station dedicated to Electronic Dance Music (EDM), a genre of music which is fast catching up.
It’s Monday, close to noon, and they are just reaching their office on the Kaloor-Kadavanthara road. They troop in looking extremely tired after a night of hectic partying. Renowned electronic music DJ Ben Coda was in town and they were hosting him. This is one of the other things the Tenzi team does—getting international DJs to India.
It sounds like a cool job, since parties are an integral part of what they do. “Yes. That and this is a part of what we do,” says Greg Tomaz, programme director of the station. ‘This’ is dealing with the remains of the party.
Tenzi FM is Sachin Syd’s brainchild and Anoop Menon is the station manager, Greg Tomaz and Aju Punnackal in charge of all things graphically creative, came on board. The internet radio station, which transmits Electronic Dance Music (EDM), has listeners in 75 countries across the world. Tenzi turned one this year and Sachin says the going has been good and is getting better. The number of people tuning in to EDM is huge, he says, and the numbers are growing.
Sachin has been a DJ since 2003 and love of music led him to forming the radio station. Not only did disc jockeying lead him to EDM, it also made him a music maker.
As opposed to regular music where there are several instruments, this brand of music is computer-generated. A lone guy making music on a computer sounds geeky. “Geeky? Maybe not because EDM’s largest fan base is in the 17 to 24 age bracket,” says Anoop, an engineer and a writer, who also makes music besides disc jockeying. That is definitely not a geeky age bracket.
Their workspace looks like a regular, functional one room affair. Until they open the door to their studio. It is a grey-black, sound-proof cocoon. There are gizmos to make music and the paraphernalia required to keep a radio station running 24/7, 365 days a year. They joke that most of the time they don’t realise “what time of the day it is.” The team works in shifts. “The servers are Cloud servers therefore there is never a question of the system being down,” Sachin adds. Plus they have their mobile devices through which they keep the music playing uninterrupted even if they are not at their studio.
Two dedicated channels
Tenzi has two channels dedicated to two sub genres of EDM – dance and trance. Since it is all about making the most of available technology, the Tenzi FM app is available for Android and Smartphones too. Tenzi has tie ups with clubs in major cities in India where they organise events. The DJs contracted to them perform at these venues. The events generate major chunk of Tenzi’s revenue and the rest comes from ads from the internet.
“We can say that we are among the top internet radio stations dedicated to EDM in India,” says Sachin. They have contracts with several big names in the business which gives them exclusive access to these musicians. The roster of artistes performing with them is impressive. These artistes, generally, have a single contract per country and in India most of them have it with us,” Anoop reveals. He has been DJ Sekhar’s warm up or opening DJ.
To the question why artistes would want to be on a contract with them, Sachin says, “We go full hog when we work with a DJ. We make flyers, there are snazzy graphics and we spend time on the graphic design part as well. And that kind of attention makes an artist feel special.” It is not just music these guys at Tenzi make. There are Tenzi FM T-shirts too available online. All of which are based on EDM and designed by them.
To some people, electronic music might just sound like thumping or booming sounds put together with some electronic gimmicks. It is not. DJs like Paul Van Dyk, Daniel Portman, Paolo Mojo, Robert Miles, besides many others have acquired cult status and a dedicated fan following. Sachin says Tenzi is probably the first to play Paul Van Dyk’s music the moment he uploads a new piece on his site.
Unlike the pop genre, the sounds of which appeal to most people, electronic music is more of an acquired taste because it is akin to abstract art. But the scene has changed with this genre moving into the mainstream from the fringes and gaining respectability and acceptance. “Even pop music is borrowing, or rather showing influences, of electronic music,” he says. Going by the numbers tuning in, it looks like Tenzi FM is looking forward to some great times.