Priya Sen has been honing her craft steadily over the last couple of years. It’s safe to say now that she is amongst the leading female artists in the nation, with solid releases under her belt and increasing support from some industry heavyweights. We got in touch with this future star in the making to discuss industry insights and her past, present and future.
Hi Priya. Could you tell us a bit about your musical back ground? How did you get into djing?
Hi there and thanks for having me over. This one is a long story, throughout my growing up years I was a very mad clubber and I couldn’t refuse a night out raving ever haha, I would seek out DJs and their music, from when I was a teenager, so the love for electronic dance music, started very very early. As to how I started DJing, I think it was a natural progression from the years when I have been a contributor/ writer for several dance music magazines, and that brought me even closer to the music and labels from around the world. I started to accumulate a lot of music which I would play for my friends at private parties and they had good words to say and which gave me confidence, to try it out just that bit more. I started playing as a Chill-out DJ, and on one such occasion was asked to fill in for the DJ who was late and I must say I was alarmed and apprehensive and even scared but managed to hold the floor on that night, so have my promoter friend from back in the day to thank for giving me the initial opportunities, who believed that I could do it. After being in different professions, for the most part of my earlier life, I have finally found my calling, my labor of love.
When did you start to decide producing music? How would you describe your style?
I was told that to gain respectability and also create another dimension to my craft I must try to make music, I put my head to that thought and just got things together with my long time collaborator Aman Anand who has been a source of great help and learning. I keep at it everyday, or when ever I can. I have Progressive House leanings, I must say, but I rarely play this style in my gigs. I am definitely underground in my choice of Tech House and Deep Prog.
Your productions have been receiving a lot of support from Hernan Catteneo off late. Would it be safe to say, he’s one of your biggest inspirations?
Oh yes, no doubt about it. Here’s a legend who is no wilting flower, if there’s support it’s cause he likes it, he wouldn’t do it for something he does not. I believe he has a natural keeness and generosity to support anyone he thinks is of talent. Hernan has been a life changing figure in my life. His advice and words truly make a difference, as I put it to practice and it has obviously made or brought me to where I am today.
I must also mention another performer, one has to look at John Digweed to understand the sheer tenacity and machinery he runs, and for being one of the greatest DJ’s of our times.
Any upcoming releases?
Yes two originals on Modern Agenda, and several remixes on Mistique Music, Stripped Digital and Massive Harmony coming up soon.
How do you prepare for your sets? Do you make playlists with Rekordbox or you just feel the vibe at the party and start accordingly?
I love my Rekordbox. Its my best friend 🙂
I always prepare my sets before a show. Plus, one already knows the vibe and club a little bit to figure how one’s set should go, or atleast it does for me. I know exactly what I am going to drop when.
You are part of the wave of female artists that are currently making their presence felt across the nation with great quality. As a touchy subject it maybe, did you find it hard to cut through a male dominated market?
No, it wasn’t hard then. But now I may have ruffled some feathers haha!!
There are plenty of reports of sexism in the field. Whilst some maybe true, do you feel that this issue is over hyped and as long as you have the right quality and talent, you will always cut through regardless of your gender?
I believe no one can stop talent. If I have some I will get what I deserve. It is a fact that sexism and mysogyny is part of probably every profession, but whatever holds true in the DJing industry is very subtle. One can feel it but I ‘d be ill advised to talk about it at length. Besides, I don’t spend time on anything non productive, I have miles to go , so to sit and mull over this subject is a waste of energy as well, at the end it does not matter. Every person has or will make a place in the sun, no matter what the hardships, if you are genuine you will get there.
Over the last few years, we have a seen a substantial increase in female producers in the country. The ratio is still much smaller compared to the female djs in the market. What are your thoughts on why there is still hesitancy on taking the plunge into production? Do you think they face some challenges with regards to this?
Men make better drivers syndrome, perhaps. But hey, I found it very hard to put my mind around to the machines, techniques and craft, I am still learning, it’s an everyday, ongoing process. I can’t say it gets easier, as a woman or man I guess you must have leanings towards technology and what it can do for and with the music you learn to make, even how one uses it matters. So easier for some, hard for the others.
I see a lot of talented and respected female producers in the West, who have my admiration. Amber Long is one such living example, she is pushing the tempo. Juliane Wolf another very talented gutsy musician. I’d like to get to their stature and speed, someday.
Your current take on the scene in India at the moment.
Always moving. I see an immense number of gigs and artists playing in this country. All of it, is great for dance music. But if you take individual cities, each has its own disadvantages, basic problems that play a massive role that don’t enhance or make it conducive enough for the scene to grow bigger, and not to forget the politics. We keep talking about the good, and never address the bad parts, or parts that need improvement, therein we stagnate. I am not saying we don’t throw good parties, I am only saying we have a lot of catching up to do, in a whole number of aspects. Of course, its not all doom and gloom, nobody really cares, there’s a whole load of excellent promoters who are pushing as hard as they can even with the given situation, so my hats off to them as a collective.
Favorite Bengali dish?
Anything with Prawns cooked in a traditional Bengali style is crazy good. 🙂
Most recurring track in your current playlist
This is a hard one. Also, it’s a secret sshhh!!
Thanks for speaking to us Priya. Any last words for our readers and tips for the upcoming generation of female producers?
Hard work, honesty and loads of passion is required and all these I believe every day to do myself. Plus do it for the right reasons. Otherwise I feel one will only get that far and fizzle out. Keep on keep it strong, is all I can say!!
Upcoming: Priya Sen plays this Saturday in Bangalore at Gylt alongside Just Her (Stil Vor Talent). Details below.