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Export Opinion: Arjun Vagale

The Delhi techno DJ touring the United States chats with NH7 about what’s been up with him lately.

8 Jul, 2013

Abhimanyu Meer


Acclaimed techno producer, DJ and co-founder of UnMute Agency, Arjun Vagale embarked on a tour of the United States just a couple of weeks ago, and is also due to play shows in Ireland and Germany soon. He’s also featured as a guest Christian Smith’s Tronic Podcast (stream below), and been involved in myriad other projects. MakTub Music, the Indian-Urugayan indie label he formed with partner Nicolas Silvano, has been pushing techno and other forms of electronic music since its formation. Since before and after the powering down of Jalebee Cartel, a kind-of natural progression has taken Vagale’s solo music and planted seeds of it across borders.

I had the chance to shoot some questions at Vagale, who’s currently on tour, and he was happy to update the Indian electronica scene on all the mischief  he’s been up to.

NH7: Hey Arjun, first up, tell us a little about what you’ve been up to in the last few.
Oh, been up to a LOT! I spent the first part of the year setting up our home and my studio in Goa, and then went straight into producing music for the year. I always try and spend the early part of the year working on tracks as it’s a bit slow gig-wise… so, the perfect time to get down to some music. I’ve got EPs lined up on Tronic, KD Music and Octopus over the next couple of months. It’s important for me to have music ready for the summer season in Europe, as thats where a lot of tracks break out.

How’d this tour of the United States (also shows in Ireland, Berlin) come about?
I’ve been working with a lot of US labels this past year, and I did a rather big remix for Victor Calderone (‘Into The Void’) that was on the charts for several months. Generally, I spend my summer in Berlin. This time, I decided to give the US a shot and my agent here set up a wicked tour for me.

You played Therapy in Miami last month and at Governors Island too. What was that like? And what’s the buzz in terms of electronic music at the venues you’ve been playing?
I just played Governors Island last night with Victor, Chus + Ceballos, Sian & Mike Frade, and it was absolutely amazing. I got a great welcome to the city and my set was very well received… couldn’t have asked for a better way to pop my NYC cherry! The buzz for underground dance music here is growing big time. There are a bunch of new venues that have given the sound a second lease and it’s blowing up.


Arjun Vagale playing to a massive crowd at Governor’s Island, New York.

You’re one of few artists repping India on the global techno map. Do you think pathways to touring outside of India like that are more open to Indian DJs and producers nowadays?
The world is getting smaller each day, and it’s so easy to make connections. That said, there are a million DJs and producers trying to get a piece of the pie, so you have to work VERY hard and really put in a lot of effort and dedication. It’s not enough to just try or make a few tracks and release on any random label. You need to have a strategy… a plan and work towards it.

Your indie label MakTub Music’s been steadily pushing out releases since it started out. Is that something you’re focusing a whole lot more of your attention towards? Any big plans this year for the label?
MakTub’s philosophy has changed over the years, and I think it’s in a good place now. We use the label to help new artists break through and I’m very happy that I’ve helped some artists along the way, and give them a bit of push in their careers.

Festival season in India is coming up in a couple of months. Are you hoping to/planning on playing some of the big ones? What’s your schedule like now?
Yes, absolutely… I’m pretty sure I’ll be playing for most of them. As you know, they like to keep things quiet till they announce, so I’ll leave it at that, but I do have some surprises this year too, as I did last year with Re:Focus.

Wanna throw us a few names of artists you’re currently tuning into?
Check out Richie Santana & Peter Bailey, two NYC producers that I’m really diggin at the moment. WHYT NOYZ are on fire and will explode soon. I’ve done some collabs with Ramiro Lopez, who in my opinion is one of the hottest producers at the moment.

All photos from rukes.com

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