Meet AZTEC, a.k.a. Ankit Suhandani, a real-time architecture student, ardent music lover and passionate artist of design and dance music!
Obsessed with the first initial of his name, Ankit Suhandani formerly went by the alias of DeeJay A. It wasn’t until later on in his career that he decided things had to be more professional, following some achievements and moving his way up in the industry. It was with this in mind that he sat down with a teammate and began sorting out his new branding ideas. The obsession with the letter ‘A’ however, would not be forgotten so easily. “We wanted something that was short, easy to grasp, impactful, and something that could probably have a meaning with relation to the upcoming music that I planned to produce. Basically, connecting link to link and randomizing all the phases, days, nights, elements of my sound, and most of it the idea of my journey, comprise together to form an alter ego, better known as ‘AZTEC’. That practically was the best we settled upon.” he quotes.
With most of his work taking its influence from the ongoing commercial music in the running market of the industry, AZTEC’s own sound signatures and styles have been practiced and perfected over the years.
Listen to their track Horus here!
Originally from Ahmedabad, Gujarat, the dance music scene hasn’t developed as quickly as it has in other regions, owing to the lack of a nightlife culture and it being a Dry State. “Thus, not only developing my career was the agenda, but also developing a scene for dance music community was a task. It was equally difficult for self-growth at the same time due to lack of support sometimes. But gradually and keeping at it, made me a known source & name in the city as well as the state with time. I was lucky enough that I expanded my work with small and big event companies, especially developed great relations with one called Inspiron Events, which gradually helped me to collaborate with Sunburn Festival at their promotional events.”
It was on this platform that he proved his worth as a performer. Exposing his talent, Ankit left no stone unturned to deliver his best. “I started from nothing and now landed up as a known veteran in the industry. Now, since I have the courage to up my game to the next level, shifting to one of the most seeded places in the country having diverse cultures – well known as the land of opportunities, Mumbai has been a really important move. Developing connections, sharing right ideas with the right people at the right time, creating an impression, working hard on your music, on your personality, overall matters to your outlook to be known and heard.”
His advice to all aspiring artists is this: “just focus and do what you feel would be the best for you. Be humble, think wisely and keep working hard”
Listen to his track Robot Error here!
His musical journey began at the early age of 15, and soon he was acquainted with Electronic and Pop Music. In those early days, he was a Rock Music fan. He would rock out to Linkin Park, Green Day, Limp Bizkit and Bon Jovi and gradually advanced to artists like Daft Punk, Tiesto, David Guetta, Pitbull and Armin Van Buuren.
From playing a simple acoustic guitar for the sake of it and ripping off the keyboard & experimenting basslines on the console, AZTEC’s love for electronic dance music increased. The most sincere life changer, however, in his opinion, was Swedish House Mafia and their entire age of music, which inspired millions of fans and musicians to go deeper into their rhythm. “They were just not a band/trio of producers/DJ’s who set out to change the world. In fact their music and their ideas were so powerful that they changed an entire generation. At least for me, that was the appropriate birth of Dance Music in my heart.” he says.
It wasn’t until he put out some experimental music and mixtapes that, one fine day (post quite a struggle of arriving at and endorsing the right ideas) he finally got decent support from one of his early inspirations – Anish Sood, at none other than India’s No.1 Electronic Music Radioshow – Sunburn On Air. “Things got a bit more on-path with a direction. Since then I suppose, I took it as a mission of going a long way with full positivity & there was no looking back. And today I can surely assure, that yes – I Love what I do.”
Listen to his track Faux here!
Working with house genres and sub-genres for the most part of his career, AZTEC has now begun experimenting with newer sounds in the studio – adapting to more genres, styles, and variations to bring out something fresh, and moreover an element of surprise. “The main aim of this is to follow what I like to & push my boundaries to be purely versatile as a musician”. Lately, AZTEC has been working with Progressive House, Future House, Melodic Pop, Big Room House, Future Bass and Hybrid Trap.
With an average of 25 shows per year, comprising various Festival Gigs, Campus Shows, Sundowners, Club Nights, Lounge Gigs, Promoted Shows, Charity Shows etc. Since 2013, AZTEC has about 110-120 shows credited to his career. Some of the notable associations/shows he has been a part of from India are Sunburn Festival, Sunburn Reloads, Sunburn Campuses, VH1 Supersonic Campus, EVC Pre-Parties, as well as performances in international club shows in Bangkok and Phuket.
He recently performed at the Vh1 Supersonic Campus – Vadodara & at Club Amnesia – Hyderabad this month. You can catch him on 13th May at Club No. 17, Siliguri, 27th May at TBA, Chennai, 10th June at TBA, Indore and on 6th August at Relive Festival, Surat.
Although a Graduate Professional Architect, Music is Ankit’s full-time job now. “Life had some plans and was destined for these changes to happen. My parents were always supportive of what I wanted to do in life. But of course like every other parent in our society, they had career tensions about me, which changed gradually with time as I went higher & higher. I felt that taking two careers along the way would not make justice to any one of the either. Thus, I had to make a brave choice of pursuing music as a full timer. I believe it has been tough sometimes, but overall now, I am happy & proud with my professional & personal life to be a musician by the career full time.” Ankit says.
Inspired by artists like Hardwell, Armin Van Buuren, Martin Garrix, Axwell /\ Ingrosso, Tchami and Skrillex, Ankit also enjoys the music of Coldplay, Julian Jordan, Askery, KSHMR, Chris Lake, R3spawn, Olly James, Kevu, Joyryde, Row Rocka, Reggio, Malaa, Bellecour, Henry Fong, Mike Cervello, Valentino Khan, J-Trick, Autoerotique, Sevenn, Alok, Ed Sheeran, Charlie Puth, Conor Maynard, Eptic & Jauz.
AZTEC has a new single releasing on the 22nd of May. The track is called ‘Higher Game’ & it’s releasing via EDM House Network Main Spotlight. Already supported by Tom Swoon at Summerfestival, Yves V, and Third Party. Check out his Facebook page here.
Credit: All Pictures Courtesy of the Artist