Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent – Victor Hugo
In any style, any genre, and any form, music has always been a part of our lives – there are times that we cannot find the words to express what we feel and music does that for us. Some songs hold a special meaning in our hearts and some songs are bittersweet – associated with memories, good and bad times and there are those tracks that instantaneously bring a smile to our faces. For some of us – this happens with Dance music. It isn’t just that one track we heard in a club and can’t help but play over and over again, it isn’t that one track that makes us tap our feet, but it’s the music that moves us, heightens our emotions and brings out the biggest smiles on our faces. It isn’t about the music only, it is about the artists/DJs/Producers who work tirelessly to evoke those kinds of emotions in you, to speak and connect with you through their music and most importantly bring people from all over together. Says Basith, who most of you know as the infamous DJ NVVE or PwnStar629, “Through dance music I’ve met some fantastic individuals from across the earth – some of which are my best friends and people I connect with individually. It is part of my daily life, and my routine.” And I’m pretty sure most of you will agree to this!
This post is about a group of people who have made dance music a lifestyle, and have associated many moments in their lives with dance music and have formed new bonds of friendship through this very genre. I spoke to people who I met/interacted through social media, some who I’ve met personally and some I’ve yet to meet. But each and every one of these individuals has been a part of my life and we’ve met/spoken because of one common factor – our love of dance music and the way it has shaped our lives and brought us together. Says Akshay Bhanawat, who heads T.H.E – The Music Encyclopedia, “Some of my closest friends are ones I’ve met because of our common love of dance music.”
With the dance music scene growing exponentially in India, largely due to the hard work and the tireless efforts by Nikhil Chinapa, Pearl and Hermit, who have brought us some of the greatest acts in dance, more and more people are beginning to understand and embrace it and make it a part of their lives. There are also some artists that have made an impact in our lives in a way that we identify with them on a daily basis. Says Nikhil Nulkar, who is one third of the newly launched Reverb TV – “I wouldn’t say daily basis, however for the most part it has to be Above & Beyond.” The trio, who have played in India countless times have invariably brought smiles, tears and joy in many of our hearts and their recent Group Therapy India tour was nothing short of iconic – “21st November, 2013” says soon to be doctor Monisha Mishra and a die hard Above & Beyond fan, “was the night that changed everything – it was at that time when I saw ‘This is GROUP THERAPY India’ and saw my idols in the flesh that the wait was all worth it.” Those of you who were present at any one of the Group Therapy India events, will know how special it was and even months later, the memory of it is still as fresh as if it were only yesterday. Jaskaran Singh, who was fortunate enough to attend their Acoustic show at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles recalls how life-changing the concert was, “I’m literally at a loss for words in explaining how out of this world the experience was. It is something each and every dance music lover needs to see once in their life.”
Nishant, also part of Reverb TV says, “It isn’t difficult for me to identify with this artist, but it has to be BT” – someone who I (and most of you know me are aware) have idolized for the most part of my life – since I was 16 years old. 17 years later, his music and him, as a human being evoke the same emotions in my heart as it did the first time I heard “Flaming June” – a track that is still relevant today, 17 years later. Unfortunately, all the times that he’s played in India I’ve never managed to catch him live and I know that the day I do, it will be life changing. Each and every one of his tracks have identified with me and moreover, his track “Skylarking” has made me realize that anything is possible, and even when you’re at your worst, it will lift your spirits and set you free.
Speaking of life changing moments – sometimes it is encapsulated perfectly by a track that strikes a chord and it is that very track that is the one that brings everything together. Or it is a track that speaks to you on such a personal level that you almost feel that it was made for you. Says Suhani Doctorr, “It has to be Above & Beyond’s ‘Just Listen’, which I heard for the first time when I was upset about something really big and it changed my outlook towards everything.” .
On the other hand, there could be a track that reminds you of a person, of having faith and never stop believing – “There’s a girl,” says Jaskaran, “who’s literally half a world away in India, which is why Satellite is my song. All good things in life must come to an end but I still have faith.” Same goes for Akshay, who says that he never stops believing and that is why, Delirium – Silence has been HIS track. For Nishant however, he says that it isn’t just ONE track, but off late it’s been Deadmau5 – HR 8938 Cephi, “because it is dark, complex and has many layers!” he explains. In essence, everyone eventually identifies with a piece of music that encapsulates who they are – a defining moment in their lives or even something that makes them smile.
There was a point in my life when I believed that nothing was going right. I couldn’t smile, I lost all hope and faith and believed that I would never see the sunshine again. I remember taking out my collection of BT Albums and every day, I would listen to each album on repeat. It was almost as though each track spoke to me in a way that it captured every single one of my moods. And till today, I still thank BT for his music, which has helped me through the worst of times. In the same way, Monisha, who can’t pick a favorite Anjunabeats track recalls, “There was a point in my life where I felt I had no direction, I was heartbroken and nothing felt right – but every Anjunabeats track that I listened to – it gave me hope and renewed my faith. I can’t pick favorites.” For Akshay, however, it is Armin’s A State Of Trance Radio Show which, he says, always gives him hope, makes him feel ‘alive’ and rejuvenates him, even if he’s feeling low.
When I think back, dance music has played such a major role in our lives – in that we’ve come to associate friends we’ve made through our common love of music. For example, all of the people that have contributed to this piece have come into my life because of dance music. “This music,” Nishant muses, “is the reason why I’ve met so many wonderful people who are part of my life.” For Monisha however, it isn’t just about forming new bonds, it’s also about rebuilding broken relationships and starting afresh. Eventually, there’s a commonality between everyone, which is that dance music brings people together – and whether you believe it or not, it really does have the power to heal, and make you believe that anything is possible.
This post would not have been possible without the love and support of the following people: Suhani Doctorr, Monisha Mishra, Basith Noor, Nishant Nagesh, Akshay Bhanawat, Jaskaran Singh, Nikhil Nulkar and Guha Bharadwaj. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for being such a big part of my life. x