A candid chat with Nikhil Chinapa

EDM is dead, says Nikhil Chinapa who’s all set with the second installment of the Electronic Dance Music (EDM) festival, Supersonic. But before you rise in rebellion at his quip, the deejay explains to Deepali Dhingra that electro house music, which is being-mass produced, is now trending as EDM

It took precisely 25 days for Nikhil Chinapa, along with his “stubborn” team from Viacom 18, to put together the Supersonic Festival in Goa last year, after his much-publicised split with Percept and Sunburn. the director of Submerge Music, an electro dance music (EDM) company, says that organising the festival at a frenetic pace was a life-changing experience. “The most valuable lesson I have learnt is that if you want to do something which seems like an impossible task, just be stubborn about it,” says Chinapa. “I’ve realised that some of the biggest projects that have been done across the planet, usually are because of the stubbornness of one person. If you tell someone we have to organise a festival within 25 days, they would say it’s ridiculous. But a bunch of us in this office put our foot down and said we’re going to do it, and we did it,” he adds.

Nikhil Chinapa is on a high. Pic/Shadab Khan
Nikhil Chinapa is on a high. Pic/Shadab Khan

We’re sharing a cup of coffee with Chinapa at the Viacom 18 office in Vile Parle, which, according to him, is in a state of “organised chaos”. Just a few days remain before the second installment of the four-day festival in Goa that will be held from December 27-30. the crew has been preparing all year and the line-up looks exciting, with bands and musicians such as Paul Van Dyk, Above & Beyond, Dillon Francis, Gareth Emery, Helium Project and more. Chinapa is especially excited about bringing down Carl Craig from Detroit. “I’ve heard a number of techno DJs, but nobody moved me the way he did. I didn’t know he has a huge fan following here in India. When we announced his name as part of the line-up, he was trending at number nine on twitter,” chuckles the music enthusiast, chuffed at having got Craig on board.

Dance music is alive
Talk veers towards the future of EDM and Chinapa states, “EDM is dead.” He patiently takes a sip of his coffee, as we impatiently wait for him to explain. “EDM is dance music that covers the entire range of music made electronically from techno to trance, deep house, dubstep and others. What’s being called EDM today is actually electro house. Somewhere down the line, people thought it’s cool to call it EDM. So when I say EDM is dead, I’m talking about the current music, which is being mass-produced for maximum effect on dance floors. But dance music is alive. People never get tired of dancing to music. It’s the music they are dancing to that changes and evolves,” he adds.

No world without music
The 41-year-old has donned many avatars in his career, but unlike many VJs who steered away from music into other fields, Chinapa’s association with music continued as a DJ, as the director of his EDM company and festival director, earlier for Sunburn and now, for Supersonic. “I can’t imagine my life without music. I think of music in terms of Broadway — it should be an experience that captures your imagination. It’s natural for me to keep doing things around music,” he signs off.

And be stubborn about it, we think to ourselves.

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