The Chennai super king of the electronic dance music world, Shiv Gupta aka Shiva Moon is one of the rising stars of the scene in the southern half of the country. Gupta is an established name in his hometown, where he is known to throw some of the best parties not to mention the fantastic GO:MADras festival that he organises and curates. Chennai may not be as large a metro as say, Bombay or Delhi, but that hasn’t stopped Gupta from thinking big. Besides the regular clubs, pool and beach parties, Gupta wants to set up the city’s first super club in the next two years. What’s more, he’s looking to resurrect his record label, Rudraksh Records, and get cracking on putting out releases. The DJ, label owner and festival curator discusses his entry into the world of DJing, his influences and how golf changed his life.
You got into university at Malibu on the strength of your putt? Do you still golf? If you had to use a golfing metaphor for electronic dance music, what would it be? I used to be a nationally ranked amateur golfer in school and following that I studied in Los Angeles where I played NCAA Division 1 Golf for a few years. It wasn’t like a ‘golf quota’ but I was on a scholarship. Being in Los Angeles in the late nineties, I had the opportunity to hear the artists like Chemical Brothers, Prodigy, Basement Jaxx, Oakie, Sasha, Digweed, BT and De La Soul, to name a few. This got me hooked on to electronic music. I started collecting music and played at small house parties, after-hour scenes.
I don’t golf that much these days, as the music and DJing have become primary and takes up a lot of time, but I hope to get back to it seriously soon. In golf, we often say ‘Easy does it’, and electronic dance music is much the same. You have to take it nice and slow, work the crowd and not rush into one slamming track after another.
[text_post]What inspired you to start the Go:Madras festival and how do you curate it? After ten years of organising beach parties, I felt that people needed an annual celebration of music that more than a regular party. We wanted to create an event where we would pull out all the stops, and create an environment on par with other great music festivals but with an intimate vibe and an incredibly fun experience for fans. It’s the only festival in the country to have its main dance floor right on the beach, a few metres away from the ocean. This year we will be organising the biggest GO:MADras yet, at almost double the production cost of last year. The next few months are going to be hectic as well as exciting as the whole festival slowly starts to take shape once again.Being a DJ and also the curator of a festival, my first priority is to make people dance. So the line-up at GO:MADras is dance-floor friendly as the people in Chennai are big on techno, progressive and trance sounds. We also try not to focus only on international artists, and give a lot of exposure to domestic and local talent.
How would you describe the nightlife scene in Chennai? What does it have going for it? What keeps you there? Despite constantly travelling, playing and even living in different cities, I have always had a soft spot for Chennai. I have partied extensively here since my teens and it is an extremely relaxed place with friendly people, great beaches and venues for outdoor parties. At the moment, I’’m not too happy with the early deadlines for clubs and bars. Also, most of the venues have been around for a while, we definitely need some new venues to open up soon.
Is your record label Rudraksh Records still alive and kicking? What’s the latest on that? Rudraksh was a label that dealt in CDs from 2006 to 2008. I’m currently working on getting the back catalog onto Beatport, as digital is the medium of choice these days. Once we get on to Beatport, we definitely will be doing some releases focusing on Psy Trance, Progressive Trance and Techno from the subcontinent.