“The Scene” can be defined as an underground niche of young adults who have a common culture. Within this setting, some of the most admired and high profile individuals happen to be the Disc Jockeys who play our music. Within just two years, Sandeep Kumar has performed alongside the music industry’s best, including Bally Sagoo, Sukhbir, B21, and RDB. Having just finished his second remix CD, Let the Music Play, Sandeep is aspiring to become a producer who will make an impact on South Asian music. Read on to see what this up and coming young South Asian has to say about being a DJ and about being a part of The Desi Scene.
Rahul Khanna Interviews LA’s Finest….
Describe Sandeep Kumar in three words.
Passionate. Chill. Hardworking.
How did you get yourself noticed?
I began to create mixed tapes and pass them out to my friends. Subsequently, they would give them to their friends. And word started to spread about my CDs. I got my first gig with Cal Poly Pomona and that led to being on the flier for the Punjabi MC tour, which gave me a lot of attention. Eventually, I was doing some of the biggest events in Los Angeles such as gigs for Ziba, Bruin Bhangra, and Kamakazi.
Any advice for up and coming DJs
If you’re doing it to get popular, it’s not worth it. It’s a lot of hard work and sacrifice. But if you feel that’s what you really want to get into, work hard at it.
What are the drawbacks of being a DJ?
Late nights, having to work with some really shady people, watching everyone else have fun while you’re stuck behind the DJ booth, dealing with the drunk idiot who wants you to play “Dhol Jageero Da” when you’re playing a hip hop set, overly competitive DJ’s, trash talking, unstable income, being the first person there and the last one to leave sometimes, and being uncertain about the future.
What’s a secret that makes you one of the best?
I’ve made a few remixes/intros that you can only hear when I spin live. I got that from Jay Dabhi. When he spins, his whole set is music that he’s made. So when you hear his set, it’s very original.
As a South Asian, how have your parents reacted to your non-traditional career choice?
It’s already hard enough for desi kids to tell their parents that they’re going to go to club, imagine telling your parents “I’m going to WORK at clubs”! But the thing with it is, I don’t even like parties that much. And my parents understand that and they have also seen that it’s taken me pretty far so they have faith in me.
How has the “DJ status” affected your social life?
I don’t really get to relax and be myself. Desis are known to talk a lot so I just try to maintain a certain image about myself. I understand it’s all a part of the job, but I do have my close friends who I can chill out and be myself with.
Most DJs have an alias. Why don’t you?
That’s a very teenage thing to do and I plan on doing it longer and further. I don’t want to be 30 years old and be referred to by the same cheesy alias I had when I was 15.
Tell us more about “Let the Music Play”, your new CD.
It’s the same mega mix format. I don’t try to make a remix album; I try to make a fancy mix tape. I don’t feel I’m at the level where I can call myself a real remixer like Bally Sagoo, so I don’t try to take that credit. I try to take remixing one step further than others and take a bunch of little versions of remixes and make it a really cool mix. It’s also highly influenced by my experiences as a DJ and how I’ve grown over the past year.
Rahul Khanna earned a BA in Economics from UCLA