The Sherp sat down with India’s #1 Most Followed DJ (S)haan for an exclusive interview and here’s what he had to say.
The Sherp: (S)haan, it was really great meeting you yesterday. Can you tell us why you hosted something like (S)haan and friends the pop-up show.
(S)haan: So essentially (S)haan and Friends concert started 3 years ago and I think it turned out really nice because it was all of us together. It’s just a really nice platform for all the friends to get together. We were trying for the show and it all started when I said let’s do a meet and greet with the fans and then, from there, it turned into asking High Street Phoenix if we could perform and they approved! I wanted to give something back to the fans and it’s obviously been a really great year for me. I try to do atleast two or three shows a year for them and I thought this was a perfect platform and I brought my friends along so…
The Sherp: How did it go for you? How do you think yesterday’s response was?
(S)haan: It was absolutely incredible! I didn’t know I had such hardcore fans. I got so many sketches and fan art and posters made for me. I was quite humbled by it. It was quite an amazing experience.
The Sherp: So how important is it to give back to your loyal fan base, especially those who can’t make it to your festival performances?
(S)haan: I think it’s quite important because, honestly, they’re the ones who created who we are and consume our product, our music for example. It’s because of them that I’m what I am. Without them, I would be nothing if you think about it.
The Sherp: You’ve performed at so many festivals and given so many performances. How do you prepare yourself before hitting the stage? Is there a rituals that you follow or is everything on the spot?
(S)haan: I prepare a little bit with my team, plan the visuals around it, plan the show around it, especially when we’re bringing a vocalist or collaborator. But, when I’m playing my headline show, and people are coming to see me, then I kind of stick to what my sound is. But, when I go to smaller clubs, I love to just go with the flow. Mostly I just end up going with the flow and not sticking to the plan!
The Sherp: We heard that you have fresh music coming up with Tom Swoon and Robert Falcon. can you tell your fans what this track going to be all about?
(S)haan: We released it yesterday and we’ve tried to keep the whole ‘Shaan vibe’ alive. Here, we have tried to maintain three artists’ vibes in one track because I have a completely different vibe from Robert; Robert’s got a completely different vibe from Tom; Tom’s got a completely different vibe from me; it kind of worked out. It was a puzzle at first, but it fit together really well. It’s something unique and pop-py, but it also has a lot of elements that are very energetic and Indian.
(Catch the track here.)
The Sherp: Apart from your Tomorrowland experience, which we know was outstanding, could you share three of your favourite festival moments
(S)haan: That’s tough actually (laughs). There are so many incredible moments. Probably the second year of Tomorrowland was a better time. Indians turned up in big numbers when I played there. My second choice would be Sunburn 2014, when I played Sunburn main stage at like 6 in the evening and it exposed me to 40,000 fans. That was an incredible moment for me. I was like ‘Mum, I made it (laughs)!’. And the third moment, I’ll share a fun moment actually. At the 2013 Sunburn, when I was due to play a 90 minute set, the person playing after me decided to not show up and I ended up playing for three hours instead of just one and a half hours! That was quite incredible for me because my manager was telling me ‘Just 10 minutes more’ for the last two hours of the show. It was like a test for me as a DJ!
The Sherp: Can you name three international DJs who are on your bucket list when it comes to collaborations?
(S)haan: Oh yeahh..Chainsmokers for sure. Armin Van Buuren, but he’s kind of more hardcore. Hopefully, one day, he goes into pop. I would also say Snake.. the big aspirational DJ to collaborate with.
The Sherp: And what about three Indian DJs that you’d love to collaborate with?
(S)haan: I’ll have to say Sartek because he’s my best friend in the entire industry(laughs). Also KERANO and these guys called Afterlife .They’re super unknown but I just discovered them two weeks ago and I called them onstage at Phoenix as well. They’re from Vadodara. I very randomly discovered them but they’re pretty good.
The Sherp: You have fans across the country and I’m sure you’ve had close encounters with them. Can you tell us your craziest fan moment?
(S)haan: I think it was at the Phoenix show because I got completely mobbed by everyone and we were trying to control the crowd to take photos but they just weren’t taking that into consideration and they decided to mob me. We had to create a diversion so I could leave, but that probably is the craziest fan moment I have experienced. But the best part is, I’ve had fans figure out what I like and they make big posters and put stuff I like on the poster like chocolates, for example. It’s really special.
The Sherp: Oh that’s damn sweet.
(S)haan: Yes, it’s really sweet. Yesterday I got so many posters and stuff that I’ve framed all of them and put it in my room.
The Sherp: So if you had to give your fans tips on how to become the next (S)haan or the next big DJ, what would they be?
(S)haan: I would say work hard, work hard and be unique at the same time. Lot of people are trying to be another person, like the Chainsmokers or like Snake. You have to create your own unique persona; you have to work hard; you have to be humble and you have to realise that it takes a lot of time. People who are hungry for success, you need to know that everyone is hungry for success. You need to realise that success doesn’t come in a day. It takes time to build an empire.
The Sherp: What can we expect from the next (S)haan performance?
(S)haan: Hopefully there’ll be a bigger stage (laughs). I’ve been playing at smaller stages because I wasn’t as known internationally, but with the new releases, the new booking agency, I think it’ll take me to the next level. Hopefully I’ll be on all the big stages at all the fests, not just Tomorrowland.