By Jinelle D’Souza
What is EDM?
Electronic dance Music aka EDM is the kind of music mostly played in nightclubs, raves, and festivals by disc jockeys (DJs). EDM includes genres like techno, house, trance, hardstyle, drum and bass, dubstep, Metal House, trap, Jersey club and their respective subgenres.
The number of EDM events happening in India have been growing tremendously by every passing year. To accept the fact that maybe just a decade ago, India was never a great spot for international DJs to perform is seriously difficult to believe because most of the major EDM DJs have made their way to India in the recent past. Initially, EDM fans were considered the outcast, but then they gradually started growing. Nowadays due to India’s rapidly growing love for EDM, it has created a prominent spot for India in today’s EDM world map. But since when has EDM become such a fad, or when did it even emerge in India?
Goa is not new to electronic music parties/events/festivals and has been an earlier founder of free parties/events/festivals with live DJ’s mixing, art,craft’s and food stalls which began in the late 1980s and continued throughout the 1990s into the early 2000s where they played Goa trance, Psychedelic trance, and Techno. Such parties were held at Vagator Beach, Anjuna beach, and Arambol beach. In Goa in the 1980s, French DJs Laurent and Fred Disko, and Goa Gil began to throw parties with post-punk and electronic body music. The music started including trippy psychedelic mandalas and ethereal ethnic samples (like flutes, sitars). It grew from the industrial, new beat and high-energy music Germany enjoyed before techno, that they called Goa trance. But this genre really emerged after restrictions stopping Israelis from entering India were removed in 1988. That’s when EDM began to gain a widespread popularity within India.
Then in 2007, on the chill beaches of Goa, “SUNBURN” was born when MTV VJ, and DJ Nikhil Chinapa, signed a deal with Shailendra Singh who owns Percept Company to become the Festival Director. Being the godfather of dance music in India, Nikhil Chinapa, organized the first International Dance Music Festival in Goa, India. Sunburn Goa 2007 which was sponsored by Smirnoff and took place on 28–29 December at Candolim Beach. The DJs that were the first to play were DJ legends like Carl Cox, Above and Beyond and Axwell alongside Indian DJ royalty like the MIDIval Punditz, Pearl etc. on two stages
The thought of a festival on a chilled out beach area intrigued both the locals as well as the travelers and transformed SUNBURN Goa into a travel destination in December. It put India early on with global trends in music events.
In the following year, the festival almost didn’t happen because of the terror attacks that struck Mumbai just a month ago. But the festival that had a decent turnout of 2,000 in its first year saw a considerable increase in the later years to come, which grew to 22,000 in 2009, surprisingly in just two years.
India has been known to have the largest youth population in the world. According to 2011 census, 140 million (above 38%) of India’s urban population is in the 15-35 age group and an almost equal number between the ages of 25-49. Noting that India’s population is so enormous, even if a fraction of its fanbase in India will be huge!
Goa trance took off in Bombay as well in the 1990s. DJs like Ranjeev Mulchandani hired film studios and bungalows in Madh island in Malad for gigs. The Goa trance cast also featured Asad Zaidi and DJ Whosane! [Hussain Babai]. Without any venues to have gigs, Zaidi started throwing outdoor parties in the 1990s for friends in Worli. In 1994, he set up Club Paradiso in Goa. Until 2000 when it shut, almost every big international psy trance artist, from Goa Gill to Infected Mushroom DJed there before making it big time.
Thanks to SUNBURN that started in 2007, India is not new to names like Avicii, Afrojack, Armin Van Buuren, etc., who have been the most successful entertainers in the recent times. Nowadays the number of festival goers has increased from 2,000 in 2007 to 3,25,000 and it is increasing with every passing year.
These numbers don’t even come closer to what India holds as a potential in EDM industry. In the last couple of years, some of the highest paid DJs have played in a growing number of festivals like Supersonic (started in 2009) NH7 weekender: Delhi, Pune, Bangalore, Kolkata etc.
So let’s just see what the future has in store for EDM in India!