DJ Chetas, the first Indian artiste to feature in the prestigious Electronic Dance Music magazine DJ mag, says it is upsetting how Indian music festival programmers give lesser known international artistes better time slots as compared to the “locals here”.

Most of the Indian music festivals, including Sunburn and Supersonic, have home-grown artistes opening for international ones. And DJ Chetas, whose real name is Chetas Shah, wants this trend to change.

“It is upsetting how a festival programmer says ‘Domestic acts need to stop at 6 p.m., after which it will only be international artistes’,” Chetas, who has spun the disc at prestigious music fests like Tomorrowland and the Ultra Music festival, told IANS in an email interaction.

“I respect the fact that most international artistes have a stature and position way above us and there’s no point opening for them, but at the same time the festival books a lesser known or even unknown artiste and gives them a better slot than the locals here,” added the DJ, fondly known as the king of mash-ups.

Chetas shared that the local artiste sells more tickets than their international counterpart who is booked “simply to add one more foreigner to the line-up”.

Although the DJ, known for remixing songs like “Mere sapno ki rani”, “Ek ladki bheegi bhaagi si” and “Afreen afreen”, hasn’t faced such problems, he says a lot of his friends from the EDM scene have had to face this a lot, and it’s honestly “upsetting”.

He says the level of promotion of Indian artistes in the country is gradually becoming better though.

“It has become better, but there is still a long way to go. We are at last being seen as not just buyers of talent and content internationally, but also as exporters of talent and content.”

“If the media pushes home-grown talent a little more, I’m sure it will make a huge difference,” said Chetas.

Talking about how easy or difficult it is for an aspiring EDM artiste to make a mark in the growing industry, the “Kya khoob lagti ho” remix hitmaker says it depends on how an artiste markets himself or herelf.

“Internationally, it’s all about your content and which big artiste or label is pushing you. In India, the hustle is all yours alone. Get yourself a good manager who knows how to sell you and your content, you’ll be up there in no time,” he said.

Tracing his journey from being nobody to becoming amongst the highest paid DJs in India, Chetas says he wants to put together a whole new level of content of quality which no one in India has ever seen before.

“It’s been amazing with a lot of learning. I started off with no pay for anything for years, now I’m being called India’s highest paid DJ. I started off waiting outside offices of labels and production houses for hours… Today, I’m honoured to be invited by them to meet and help their music,” said the DJ, who has been in the industry for over a decade.

(Kishori Sud can be contacted at [email protected])

By Kishori Sud

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