Ten years back mention “EDM” in a conversation revolving around music and you’ll be looked down by your fellow mates who’re obsessed with the likes of Metallica or Ricky Martin. Try doing the same today and they’ll acknowledge the same acronym at least once.
Such is the power of this ever-growing genre which knows no boundaries. Arguing, India being the next EDM destination might be the most valid debate of 2015 as it evolved from “just another thing that rich guys dance to” to a more sophisticated cult. It definitely was a spectacular year, as we saw DJs/Producers from all over the world perform for their Indian fans and spread the love. Beyond that, our home grown talent reached out to different parts of the globe releasing music on international labels, representing the Indian Tiranga at the world’s biggest festivals and most importantly taking pride in promoting their tunes back here.
Let’s recap some of these epic moments when India marked its presence in the vast universe of electronic dance music.
Prayag Mehta and Rishab Joshi collectively known as the ‘Lost Stories’ first got their shot to fame when they came up with “How You Like Me Now” and managed to capture the No. 16 spot on Vh1 Top 100 Videos of 2014 with its official video. The duo has been on roll ever since they announced multiple singles on Black Hole Recordings formerly owned by Dutchman Tiesto and remixed Afrojack’s colossal track “The Spark” featuring Spree Wilson! 2015 brought them the rightful fame as the two entertained a crowd of thousands on the Blue Flame Stage at Tomorrowland, Belgium! Devraj Sanyal (Managing Director of Universal Music Group South Asia) went on record to say “…It’s a massive step towards showcasing Indian EDM talent on a global platform. From local gigs to a European tour and a slot at the biggest annual EDM festival in the world, they have indeed come a long way.” Feels like it’s the beginning of something phenomenal!
2. Sartek’s “Don’t Need Love” On Revealed Recordings
Sartek is one of those home brewed artists who’ve never shied away from showing off their turntable skills and sick tunes at any of the live shows, be it a set at a jam packed nightclub or India’s biggest music festival! Being one of the first EDM promoters, he has seen the magic unfold before his eyes and reach the top 100 Beatport charts with his originals, “Back to the future” and “Dopamine.” Adding to his real-life “Achievement Unlocked” screen, the Delhi based producer became the first Indian…… the first Asian to be featured on Hardwell’s Record label with “Don’t Need Love” after previewing it on “Hardwell On Air.” Sarthak Sardana collaborated with Revealed’s regular, Lucky Date hailing from California to produce a powerful, pulsating electro house track, both a fan favorite and a chart buster!
Even if you’re a mildly active social media user, you know what Coachella is and aware of the fact; any artist who has ever performed live, has a dream to reach out to this enchanted stage commonly headlined by legends like AC/DC, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Eminem, just to name a few.
A native of Mumbai, underground DJ Ritesh D’Souza now settled in Los Angeles, got a chance to realize this fantasy when he brought the house down at the Do Lab Stage with LA-based classically trained pianist and vocalist Tara Mae! The two have gained commercial success as well as recognition with “Binate,” their debut album.
4. Zaeden’s Collaboration With Borgeous
One of the fasting growing music producers and India’s answer to “what’s the next big thing in the dance music scene,” Sahil Sharma aka Zaeden finally released his long awaited team effort with the American powerhouse, Borgeous on one of the most popular record labels, Spininn’ Records! Titled “Yesterday,” the Delhi-ite dedicated the massive tune to India and received appreciation as well as support from his fans and mentors alike. Not only did he unleash the grand beat at Tomorrowland 2015 alongside the big-room expert, he also performed at this year’s Amsterdam Dance Event! To add, he’s touring across continents to celebrate his biggest achievement yet.
5. Lean On’s Music Video
If there’s any electronic dance track worthy of being called ‘Song of the year,’ it has to be this Major Lazer & DJ Snake creation. The Moomba-House-Trap-SuperAwesome track has topped every possible dance music chart and has been downloaded by each one of us (mostly through illegally sources). The accompanying dance video helped the 2:55 minute track go viral and if you already didn’t know, what make the visuals special; it was shot at ND Studios, Karjat and Kaul Heritage City, Vasai in Maharashtra, under the direction of Tim Erem and choreographed by the ingenious, Paresh Shirodkar! The idea for a Bollywood-y touch struck when Major Lazer were touring in the Indian subcontinent and wished to incorporate the desi vibes into their project.
Fun fact: It is the eighteenth most viewed video on YouTube!
6. KSHMR’s Asian Debut
Modestly speaking, 2015 was KSHMR’s year. Period.
Teasing human ears with enthralling beats from behind the veil and revealing his true identity next to the Dutch superstar Tiesto at UMF’s mainstage, he managed to mesmerize the whole world with his one-of-a-kind extraordinary productions all throughout these 365 days.
And guess what, KSMHR chose to India to embark his Asian tour journey! Headlining Sunburn Festival, Goa this year, Niles Hollowell-Dhar was commissioned to produce a soundtrack for the same and what he came up with is something which is indescribable. It can only be experienced.
“Bazaar” produced with Marnik embraces a royal Indian touch with a vocal sample in Hindi, carrying forward the trend he initiated with his EP “Paradesi,” intertwined into a breathtaking progressive big room fabrication.
7. Kerano Teams Up with Tom Swoon
Coming from India’s rave capital, New Delhi, Kerano is an exuberant progressive house producer, who in 2015 set an example for all the budding artists by arriving at the #4 position on Beatport’s Top 100 progressive house charts! His collaboration on Ultra Music with Tom Swoon featuring Cimo Fränkel’s vocals, “Here I Stand” saw widespread support from a variety of superstars including Tiësto, R3hab and Swanky Tunes. If this young fellow continues to produce ecstatic tracks like this, it won’t take him time to occupy the front seat and represent India globally!
DJ Chetas, a name synonymous with the finest Bollywood mashups, has worked his way up with hard hitting bass, insane tunes and mind boggling edits only to earn the honor he always deserved, a spot on the DJ Mag Top 100 DJs Poll! Debuting at number 59, he becomes the first Indian ever to reach the fan judged global competition. 2015 was more than euphoric for him as he tied knots and welcomed Hardwell at his wedding! Besides all the show-biz, it’s admirable to witness his humble side as to how he is in the process of developing music schools to provide studio time to the less fortunate.
9. Aerreo Scores A Release On Armada Trice
Chandigarh resident Nikhil Mehta is already accustomed to seeing his works release on foreign music platforms as he has previously issued “Black Satellite” via the well-known Cr2 Records and has had the world hear him over Nicky Romero’s renowned Protocol Radio! In November 2015 he achieved a new high when he found his track with Disfunktion featuring Jannika made available for download through none other than Armin van Buuren’s Armada Trice! Disfunktion’s progressive base perfectly complements Aerreo’s rare twist to house music on “Alpha” with heavenly vocals from Jannika, giving birth to a festival crowd pleaser and reaching #22 on Beatport instantaneously! Saying Aerreo had an “amazing” year would be an understatement for this Indian prodigy!
10. (S)haan Enters Beatport Top 100 More Than Once<…
Time and again, SHAAN has justified (and carried responsibly) the tag of “India’s Best.” With 2015 coming to an end, he says goodbye to a year during which he returned to the grandest music festival on the planet – Tomorrowland, released “Light up the World” featuring Lauren Evans on Statement Records/ Armada and reaching the Top15 Beatport Charts in no time. Additionally, he finally made available his monstrous collaboration with Sandro Silva “Hooya” through Armada Music and break into the Top 100 in just 24 hours! However, this wasn’t all for this disc-whiz as he won our hearts with his tribute to Paul Walker by remixing Wiz Khalifa’s hit track “See You Again!”
11. Hardwell’s Free Guest List Party
On December 13th, the world’s youngest ever #1 DJ entered his name in the books of history and Guinness Book of World’s Records when he, along with the international electronic music agency, Anna Agency and the United We Are Foundation organized the largest guest list party ever, inviting 100,000 (though actual registrations crossed125,000 names) dance music enthusiasts! As anticipated, Mumbai’s DY Patil Stadium came to life when fans from all around flocked to see the big-room expert spin for a good cause and give his philanthropist dream a head-start. The mammoth event helped bringing together India closer to the international floors and fetch enough revenue to surpass its original target of educating 3,000 children by more than 6 times!
12. Bass Rani
If there’s one soul who has always stayed true to his roots and advocated dance music in India since day 1, he is Udyan Sagar. This man is partly responsible for the way we respond to EDM in our society currently, and following the trend of encouraging this culture all throughout the country, he dropped “Bass Rani” in one of the most mind interesting ways at a Ganpati Visarjan! Koocha Monster’s latest grenade contains 8 tracks all of which carry an Indian-ness with them and a whopping amount of bass! What’s all the more intriguing is the inclusion of fresh vocalists on each track, balancing the beat with their unique style and giving them the freedom to shine. For example, the first track on the album (and my personal favorite) “Laung Gawacha” is a heavenly match of Nucleya’s second-to-none beat and the alluring voice of Avneet Khurmi (whom I’ve been crushing on big time) into a track capable of fascinating crowds at a music fest and an Indian wedding akin!
Furthermore, the album is completely free for anyone to download. Much respect, Sir.
13. ‘Shots Fired’ on Times Music
MojoJojo (not to be confused with the villain in Powerpuff Girls) is going big, one beat at a time. Belonging to a pool of India’s most sought after producers; Akshay Johar is delivering bass-centered material worth giving a listen to. This year, the Dilli-wala released his debut album, titled ‘Shots Fired,‘ enclosing 9 tracks which unite everything from Drum & Bass, Dubstep to Moombah-Trap, all of it with a tinge of home country influences. The 26 year old hasn’t only been recognized by the best of best like DJ Snake and R3hab, he has performed alongside them. There’s no stopping him! *evil grin*
14. Shivv goes from ‘Jammu’ to ‘ULTRA’
Shiv Magotra comes from a very humble family settled in the lap of the Himalayas. Familiar globally as Shivv, the 19 year old had to miss his exams in order to attend Ultra Music Festival 2015, not to as a festival goer but as a performer! Standing next to Mykris, the two premiered their collaboration “My Summer,” while the crowd went nuts. Even though he has achieved worldwide success, he is yet to perform in Jammu and in an interview with rollingstoneindia.com he said “I will do a show in Jammu in the next three years – the whole city would be invited and not a penny would be charged.”