Your radio show on City 1016FM kicked this off: why pick a fight with other DJs?
The desi DJs in the UAE didn’t really have an avenue to showcase their skills, so that’s what it’s all about. I host Masters Of The Mix every Friday, where new desi DJs battle it out on air in 20-minute sets. Listeners vote for their favourite DJ of the night, and the three with the highest votes go head to head at the live finale event. It really gets people going – one week we got 21,000 votes.
Everyone likes watching people having a scrap, then?
Yeah, it’s a great way to get new DJs heard. We’re on our third season and it’s gone down really well. Next we’re going to start desi DJ battles in other countries, so international DJs can take each other on… we’re going to start a world war!
So what does it take to become a desi DJ prizefighter?
It’s all about crowd reaction, the selection of music, the way you scratch, your technical skills – they’re all counted. There’s not just one thing to concentrate on, you’ve got to be a great all-round DJ and everyone’s got to have a good time.
Have you got any killer punches of your own?
A few! When I won the War Of The DJs in India, I played 28 songs in six minutes, made four remixes, scratched, looped, sampled and rapped. But when I jumped off the stage with a mix on and danced with the crowd – that was my knockout blow.
But our mum always told us that it’s not the winning that counts, it’s the taking part…
That’s true, actually! It’s about the experience: the DJs can experiment, play to new audiences and get their name out there. And the crowd has a great time. It’s great to win, but if you don’t succeed, try, try again.
Tell us what you think of the contenders…
DJ Manoj – the veteran bruiser: He’s been battling for five weeks now, since the second week of the competition. He’s probably the strongest, because people obviously like what he’s doing.
DJ Neo – the local lad made good: Neo already plays clubs in Dubai so he’s probably the most accomplished DJ of them all. He’s got lots of experience around town so he’s in with a really good chance.
DJ Ravee – the young upstart: He had just two weeks of battling with us and played really interesting sets. He got a massive amount of votes to put him in the final. He’s a new face on the street, but with such a huge amount of votes, who knows?
DJ Chico hosts at Jumeirah Ballroom, Crowne Plaza, March 19