Mumbai-based DJ Shaan has built a large fanbase in India with some of his hard-hitting tracks, such as “Break Your Ways,” “Light Up The World,” “Hologram,” “Hooya” and more.
The Indian DJ has performed all over the world at festivals Ministry of Sound (London), Djakarta Warehouse Project, Budweiser Storm (Shanghai), and many more, sharing the stage with Tiësto, Hardwell, Afrojack, David Guetta, Swedish House Mafia and more. He recently had huge success with his latest remix of Steve Aoki and Louis Tomlinson’s “Just Hold On,” debuting on Ultra Records with over 73,000 plays on SoundCloud.
I was lucky enough to catch up with Shaan, who recently visited New York City, and he is very excited about his future:
Who or what influenced you to become a DJ/producer?
It’s a long story to be honest, I started off from the school band which I never really fit into. One fine day at home, I went upstairs and said let me just see what this odd thing we have with so many buttons does. I turned it on and started playing around with it and some old CDs that I had and well here I am now a DJ haha! Although when it comes to who inspired me I have to say Armin van Buuren back in 2008.
You were the first Indian and youngest DJ to perform at Tomorrowland 2014; what was that experience like for you and what was going through your head at the time?
Oh man, it destroyed me. I had never been so nervous in my life, I had so much pressure on me to prove myself and prove the haters wrong haha! Although in a way, that was really good because after that day, any task or challenge I’ve been confident doing! On another note, representing my country was a big big deal for me, I’ve always wanted to do that in some form and being the first out of 1.4 billion Indians to play that festival still humbles me till this day.
In your singles, “Break Your Ways,” “ISHQ,” and recent remix of “Just Hold On,” I couldn’t help but notice that you incorporated some Tablas, Sitar and Harmonium (correct me if I’m wrong) in the background. Would you say that Bollywood and your Indian culture influences your music?
Yes, 100%. It’s always been an influence within my music. I’ve just decided to make it more evident now. I feel like I’ve reached the point as to where I can express my background through my music and people appreciate it, which is truly amazing!
In the “Just Hold On” remix, you’ve really flipped the original song with your unique sound of including Indian classical instruments along with the modern sounds of EDM. Fans and artists, such as The Chainsmokers, have shown a lot of support. After receiving great feedback from big name artists, has it influenced you to want to collaborate with other DJ/producers to bring this unique mix of sound to the West coast?
It’s been insane, I didn’t expect it to fly as much as its doing so right now! Yeah, I’m planning a few collaborations and always a few remixes for the future with artists from the U.S.A., 2017 has a lot of new music coming up!
If you could collaborate with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be or why?
This is going to be cheesy but Michael Jackson, 100%! I grew up listening to his music and he has been a great influence and inspired me when it came to making and pursing music.
You obviously have a huge following in India and have played at some of the biggest festivals in Asia and Europe, but any plans on expanding your performances to the U.S.?
100%, from the shows I’ve been to, I think the U.S. audience is something really unique and is really educated about their music. My main goal is to tour the U.S.A. in 2018!
What is something that you’re currently working on that fans can look forward to?
Well, its always a secret ’til I’m allowed to share it haha! Although I have some massive singles, collaborations and remixes that are totally fresh and bring something new to the table!
Tell us five things we don’t know about you (hobbies, fun facts, funny stories, etc.):
1. I wanted to be a soccer player when I was younger although I pursed a sport called cricket for 8 years of my life instead.
2. I love going camping and trekking to highly isolated locations with my best friends to escape the busy city of Mumbai.
3. I’ve injured almost every joint in my body thanks to sports
4. I dropped out of university twice but went back and finished my degree #determination
5. I’m a massive Manchester United supporter.
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