‘Passion for music got me exploring’

‘Passion for music got me exploring’

Dubai-based DJ Shadow says it is challenging to stand out in a flood of remixes

DJ Shadow Dubai is well-known for his collaborative acts in India and overseas. Based in Dubai, the young DJ has been in the music scene for over a decade.

Sean Paul, Badshah, Jay Sean and Anushka Manchanda are among the many artistes he has collaborated with. Recently, he teamed up with Guru Randhawa and Pitbull for ‘Slowly Slowly’, which has garnered about 139 million views on YouTube.

In a chat with Metrolife, DJ Shadow details on his music and upcoming projects.

About your collaboration with Guru Randhawa and Pitbull.

During my US tour last year, I was listening to urban music in the West and caught on its freshness. I felt it is something that the Indian music industry hadn’t yet discovered, and I wanted to grab that opportunity. I am a staunch believer in collaborations, so, I quickly reached out to Guru Randhawa, and he worked on a composition that was exactly on the lines of this fresh sound, which then I produced.

We wanted to make this a big one and decided to send it to an international artiste; we sent it to Pitbull’s management. When Pitbull heard the song, he loved it, and him being a fan of India and its culture, he decided to drop his own verse to it.

You have been in the industry for close to a decade. How hard was it to pursue DJ-ing back then?

I started out working in the events industry. As a teenager, when I was pondering about what to do with my life, my passion for music and exposure to DJ sets at events got me interested in exploring it more, and that’s when I started experimenting as a DJ. I started out by doing remixes which got a really good response, they found their way into the top 10 of the BBC Asian networks. This journey continued into mashups and has now developed into original music. In the end, it just took a lot of dedication and hard work to get to where I am today.

On that note, what are your thoughts on the upcoming DJs? Since the music has gained more popularity, is it easier for them to establish themselves?

Today, I think a common problem that most DJs face is being restricted because of the increase in the number of remakes of songs, limiting our sets because there aren’t many original songs being produced.

As a DJ just starting out, the challenge is to stand out in a flood of remixes and mashups. It takes a lot of time to find your own sound, discover who your audience is and what works for you.

You have collaborated with a lot of top artistes in the industry so far. With whom do you want to team up next? Who is your dream collaboration?

Growing up in Dubai, I’ve been exposed to the music of both the East and the West; I always wanted to fuse the two. The idea of fusing Indian and Western music to give it an international feel drew me to music and prompted me to collaborate with artistes from across the globe.

In the future, I aim to bring together artistes from across the world to create music that suits everyone.

Collaborating with Drake and A R Rahman would be an absolute dream come true.

Your thoughts on the EDM and remixes scene in India. Though listened to by a large number of people, they are also criticized to be “bad” music and not original.

The pleasure of creating music is derived from the appreciation we as music producers receive from our listeners. I believe that as long as you have an audience, it can’t be a bad thing.

What are your future projects?

I believe collaborations are the way forward to uniting the world through music. So you can expect that and a lot more original music this year. I have some exciting projects coming up this year, but unfortunately, I cannot name them yet.

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