They keep the party scene on a high, at the clubs or on the festival circuit
DJ Ivan, Rohit Barker and Nikhil Chinapa have propelled the city’s nightlife, well past the dreaded deadlines. And as they jet set across the globe for gigs and bring music icons home to fans, we get into the heads of the DJs who are as Bangalorean as they are international.
He’s entertained you in your car. He’s left you amused in the clubs. He’s wowed you on the television. And for the record we’re talking about Rohit Barker’s talent as an RJ, DJ and VJ. Barker grew up with best friend Nikhil Chinapa, and their combined antics made for many good stories, ‘yet strictly unprintable’ he says. But for most Bangaloreans, Barker’s voice on radio, is what Ivan’s is to music. “Bangalore is the reason I am who I am. Square ly! It’s the perfect platform to start radio here in the city and grow. We have the most musically educated audience in the country right here. That makes it a joy to be an RJ and DJ,” Barker concludes, saying it is why he returned after his RJing stint in Dubai. Apart from his radio show, he is traveling across the subcontinent for DJing gigs, and with Chinapa, has just launched an EDM fan app called HUBB.
A self-confessed brooding introvert, with ‘occasional garden variety psychosis, usually triggered by good music’, who prefers to unwind on Vachan’s (his brother) couch, Nikhil Chinapa started with his popular MTV Select show in the 90s and changed the musical landscape of the country. He joins Calvin Harris, Kendrick Lemar and Ellie Goulding next month at the epic Bacardi Triangle, a festival in the Caribbean. Bringing the most prominent DJs to India, such as Above & Beyond, Swedish House Mafia, Alesso, Deniz Koyu, Armin Van Buuren, Zedd, Hardwell and Tiesto, apart from himself, Chinapa has pioneered EDM in India with his leading dance music portal, Submerge. “EDM is everywhere. For ages, Bollywood has been creating remixes by copy-pasting EDM rhythm over warbling desi vocals,” he says. “Despite draconian time restrictions, we have some of the richest musical experiences with bars and clubs. Playing anywhere in Bangalore is brilliant. Especially under a banyan tree at Pebble.”
Since he began substituting the DJ he was assisting, Ivan has ruled the consoles at the Ministry of Sound at London for their 19th anniversary alongside Danny Tenaglia, and in India and Dubai. “Without sounding conceited, I and a few others actually defined the music of Bangalore,” he begins, explaining that DJs in the old-school city pubs like Pub World and Black Cadillac used to only play requests until 11.30 pm and then shut shop. “But then the real party moved to The Club,” recalls Ivan, adding, “I was playing music which we now know as house and EDM. Those days, it didn’t have a name. It was just tunes mixed to make it more dance-y,” says the DJ, the first Indian on the Ministry of Sound tour, who has also played alongside Paul Van Dyk, Danny Rampling, Sasha, Smoking Joe, Tom Stephen, Lee Buridge as well as Steve Lawler.