Artist interview with Arjun Vagale by Blue Amazon
“Arjun Vagale” is rightly labelled as India’s biggest Techno export.
He’s an artist and DJ who has covered a lot of ground over the last 5 years or more with impressive accolades that includes music releases / remixes on labels such as Christian Smith’s Tronic, 100% Pure, Octopus, Stereo Productions, Bitten, John Digweed’s Bedrock, Terminal M, Selador, Suara and Krafket to mention a few.
Its quite well documented that he received the 2011-2012 “Best Techno DJ/DJ of the Year award” presented by Richie Hawtin and he was the one of the original members of the Indian based act “Jalebee Cartel” that were extensively touring / producing over a ten-year period.
As a DJ he has really propelled into the global club stratosphere with his energetic performances hitting major festivals and clubs such as BPM in Mexico, WOMB in Tokyo, Satellite Beachside Festival Goa, Magalena Berlin Germany, La Terrazza Barcelona, Heart in Miami, Blue Frog India and this an ever growing list.
The support list for his music conducts like a who’s who of the electronic world with names such as Carl Cox, Dubfire, Adam Bayer, Richie Hawtin, Christian Smith, Kaiserdisco, Ramiro lopez who have all supported his music.
Being the very active one he’s always submerged into other areas outside his own direct musical output with an almost work alcoholic type attitude. He’s involved in agencies, music academies as well as other promotional work and it seems this guy just doesn’t stop.
I’ve personally interviewed “Arjun” a few times now and the story never gets boring with lots of new activity and therefore it seems fitting to catch up to hear the latest.
Welcome “Arjun” and thanks once again for the interview.
1. First of all, I wanted to ask you about how you feel your sound has developed since say the release of tracks like “She Said” which was tagged more as Tech House?
Thanks for having me, Well … I think my sound is always evolving, at least that’s what I try and tell myself. Over the last few years, I’ve been producing and pushing a slightly tougher sound… my taste has certainly changed from Tech-House to Techno. I guess its more to do with a personal way of evolving, I get tired so doing the same thing, and try to make sure no two tracks sound the same, and stay away from presets.
2. You always seem to be absorbed in new technology and especially from a studio point of view. What’s new or currently exciting you in this area?
Yeah, I’m a bit of a gear slut and geek, always looking for new technology. A few years ago I got into the Modular world, and since then, I’m obsessed with it. The beauty of this is, there are always new and exciting modules being developed, so your system is constantly evolving, and I guess that also evolves your own sound, as each system is so personal. I also recently got an original TR 909 form Japan, so I’m pretty excited about that.
3. I read somewhere that your dream collaboration would be the act “Underworld”. If this were to happen what do you think you could bring to their sound or direction?
Ah Yes … that really would be a dream. I guess what I love about them is their song writing, so taking that as a base and adding my dirty grooves would be something interesting.
4. One of your admiral qualities is that you are quite upfront and outspoken. Do you feel that this is something that is lacking in general in the club music industry?
Haha … Thank you! The more I see this industry grow, the more kiss-asses are coming to the forefront. I see a lot of average producers release on quality labels, just coz they suck up to these big artists. So I feel its important to be real at a time like this. Although in this digital age, its important to network – its equality important to stay true to yourself, and in a way be unique (if that’s even possible anymore)
5. You spent quite a bit of time over in NY and seemed to be based there for a while. Did you feel you needed to return to “India” and focus on what seems to be an actively growing scene there?
I loved my time in NYC, and things were really happening for me there, but in the end, I have so much blood, sweat and tears invested into what I’ve done in India, that I just had to come back. I have a bunch of different music related businesses that I’ve set up over the years – I felt they were all suffering since I was not around. The evolution of the scene is what made it possible for me to move to NYC in the first place, but it was a double-edged sword.
6. There’s something “Odd” that’s been brewing with you for a while. Can you please tell us more about that?
I set up OddShop.in a year ago with my brother Nakul, with the intention to do something creative and fun – music merchandise that was – well, slightly odd. Simultaneously Ramiro Lopez and I had been talking for a few years about setting up a label together – so finally last year we decided to take the Odd brand further and combine the two. We started with our oddCAST, a bi-monthly radio show that’s syndicated worldwide and began working on some collaborations, that are now the first Odd Records release. The idea for the label is to have a formula free format, pushing the tougher side of Techno.
Our first release is out now : Beatport
7. 2016 you seemed to be involved in a lot of music type conferences. What can you tell us about that and will this be something you will be taking part of a lot more in the future?
I guess being in the business for 20 years, it’s the natural progression that your start looking more at the industry side of things. I’m very passionate about the development of the scene in my country, and running our agency, UnMute along with my business partner and manager Dev Bhatia has been led to me being hands on and vocal about its future. It’s important to share ideas and thoughts with the next generation so we can secure a bright future.
8. We have previously talked about the industry whilst covering areas such as the demands on artist to become business minded and being social media focused etc. Do you feel there are any changes in this area or new developments that can help artists grow?
Exactly! In this digital age, it’s imperative for an artist to be well rounded in all fields. Things are only getting tougher, as the competition is fierce, but in all this one should not loose sight of the music … which is now, often the last thing some artists think about.
9. Remixes have been quite key for you in the past. Will you be doing more remix work in the future?
I’ve actually taken a break from doing too many remixes now, and am focused more on original productions. I just finished one for my buddies Loco & Jam, and this will be the last for a while. I’m also really enjoying jamming in the studio with my gear – maybe I’ll take it all on the road this year with a new live set … lets see!
10. Once again “Arjun” thanks for talking to us, always a pleasure. Can you please share with us any of your up and coming plans, productions and gigs or other areas you are covering in 2017.
I’m focused on Odd Recordings for the moment. We have a really wicked release schedule and are planning some very interesting label showcases around the world this summer. Gig wise – Supersonic is another Indian festival that I’m excited about, which happens this year in February in Pune. Apart from that I’m working hard in the studio … so tons of new music this year.
Thanks again for speaking with me .. always a pleasure
Sound cloud : https://soundcloud.com/arjun-jalebee
Facebook : www.facebook.com/ArjunVagaleOfficial/
Beatport : www.beatport.com/artist/arjun-vagale/22070