DJ Ronnie thinks the mindset of the people is the main challenge. People don’t see DJing as a full-time profession and that is where it lacks its value. No one understands the amount of homework a DJ has to do, to play a great set. Even to play one track after the other and knowing your entire playlist by heart Is no joke. DJ Ronnie carry over 3500 tracks with me for a show, out of which I barely play 80-100 tracks a night. So, I am always prepared. People need to be more aware of this profession and art. Also budding DJs, please don’t do this for fame or free beverages. Learn the basics and do justice to this art.
What inspired you to be a DJ?
Back at school, a friend made me hear a track by David Guetta – I am in Miami Bitch. I was blown away by the drop. The melodies instantly grabbed my attention and I wanted to hear more such tracks. Eventually, I started collecting music through audio cassettes and later through the internet. I would make mixtapes of tracks which I liked and would hear them over the walkman, non-stop. The tracks wouldn’t be in sync but I was happy that It would play non-stop my favorite tunes. My friends heard these mixtapes in college and started appreciating and well, that’s how it all started.
If you had to switch your style to another genre, what would it be?
I am a Bollywood DJ, as in, I get booked for being a Bollywood music artist. But I believe in ‘music beyond genres’. I hated hip-hop music, but now, 50% of my set consists of Bollywood and commercial Hip-Hop. Through my sets, I take the audience through a journey, from Tech-house to club music to retro. There is everything, and the crowd loves it. There is learning in every process. When I first played at a club in Singapore, I was in a state of shock, my tracks weren’t working. The Desi crowd who come to a club in Singapore enjoy only original Bollywood music, without any remix. I came back to India, did my homework and at my 2nd gig at Singapore I rocked it, I played a 5 hours original Bollywood music set, it was magical. Of course, if I had to move from Bollywood, I would love to play Techno and Tech house sets. One can never get bored of those sounds.
Who has been your inspiration or role model during your career? / Who do you have a lot of respect for?
I have respect for all my seniors and peers. Everyone who is successful has worked hard for it. But if I had to choose a role model, It would definitely be Nikhil Sahni aka NYK. Although there was never a direct mentoring but the learning came through close observation. His music is different, the way he progresses a set is different, the fact that he does a lot of homework and introduces new sounds to the audience is well noticed eg the Play life Podcast. He is a perfectionist. The sets I play today are very powerful and attention-grabbing, and it’s a reflection of the kind of music he imparts. It’s not about playing a 2-hour set, it’s about the experience the audience takes back home. I also have high regards for Dj Jasmeet from Bangalore. He isn’t just a DJ, he is a performer and that’s what is the call of the hour. From rock clubs to weddings with 6-hour sets all over the country, there is a lot of learning to take away from him.
What is it about you that makes you different from other DJs?
What makes me different is that not only do I play at 2-3 hours sets, within the duration I take them through a musical journey. I play tracks which they don’t expect. There is a gimmick I do with a ringtone which no other DJ in India is doing (I am guessing so), and it blows their minds, they simply don’t expect it coming. I never have a pre-planned set. All DJs are probably playing more or less the same remixes I play in my sets, the differentiating factor is the way I present it to them, that makes a lot of difference. The right track at the right time, that’s what works for me.
How do you get the crowd pumped?
I make the crowd interact. That’s my mantra to keep the crowd hooked. The first 4 tracks I play gives me a vibe of how and what I have to play for the rest of the event. I don’t go talking over the mic to interact with them, my music does it for me. They get so engrossed into it. And up from at the console, it is a heavenly feeling. I do possess this ability (maybe through experience, IDK) of understanding the mood of the audience in a space very well. Sometimes your best tracks don’t work, so I know how to go for an alternative and deliver what they would like, maybe by shifting genres or playing something completely unexpected.