Beat back the rhythm
Himalayan News Service
It was another round of the ‘Clash of the Himalayan DJs’. All the local DJs had come together to compete. The organisers said that they needed one more judge to ensure fairness. Raju Singh filled the vacancy. Singh stood out from all the other competitors. He was suddenly no more a contestant but a judge and with his usual smoothness, he shrugged and took it all in stride. Flicking his long pony tail, he remarked non-committally, “That’s the way things are.” And that’s the way he is — calm, cool and collected. Raju does not blow his own trumpet, all he has to do his spin his records and voila! The dance floor is teeming with people. He
loves being a DJ and is keen on improving. Besides being a disc jockey, Raju is a graphic designer and a photographer. But before he was all these, Raju was a drummer in a band called ‘Wrathchild’. Back in 1987, they were all the rage in their selected crowd. Then they split up.
Here’s the catch though. Raju spins out the biggest DJ beats on the dance floor but for himself, he reserves the more quiet music, even classical or sentimental numbers! “I like music,” is his excuse. Raju is also the DJ who remixed Nepali tunes such as “Darpan chhanya” and “Chatta rumal” to be played in discos. He acted as the prelude crowd control in the Deepak Bajracharya’s live open concert at Dashrath Stadium and gave a new dimension to security measures. Instead of giving people ample time to grow agitated, he beat out tracks and made the crowd dance while they waited for the star to appear.
Born on August 8 in 1973, he has strong Leo traits. He was schooled in Ananda Kuti where though he was good in studies, he discovered his love for music, particularly rock. Raju received a BCom degree and became his own man. He opened a restaurant called Graffiti in Teku. “It was a nice place to hang out and meet different people,” he recalls. “Unfortunately as the saying goes what goes up must come down we had to close Graffiti.” With nothing left to do, he decided to take a half-year vacation. He sailed away to Europe and that was where his story began. “I saw a lot of nightclubs, from Berlin to Amsterdam to Ibiza. It struck me that making people dance to your tune could be a really cool and satisfying job.” The voyage had begun and he decided that once back in Kathmandu he would do something of that sort. But oh no, it wasn’t as easy as he had thought it would be. DJs here were CD changers. “I wanted a chance to get into a club and do some DJing. I met some old friends who knew the owners of Jolly Blues and I got in. Club Dynasty happened next and the rest is history.”
Suave but no, Raju was not the first DJ. “Neil and Tenzing were the first DJs in Nepal,” Raju states. Once Raju got started, there was no stopping him. He wanted to learn the art of DJing so, off he went to Germany and learned it from another DJ there. “I started Djing as a hobby but now it is my profession,” he adds. “What I saw abroad was that DJs can play whatever number they like because parties are decided on a theme for instance house, trance, techno, hip-hop but here we have to play music according to the crowd.”
Now, Raju calls himself a “party DJ”. “People respect a DJ and that is the good part in this art. In 2001, at the ‘War of the DJs’ organised by Raddison Hotel, he was declared the best DJ. “It was a tough competition,” he recalls. “We were judged on the basis of mixing, public voting and how we tempted the crowd to come to the dance floor. The other DJ’s were really good.” There are many who call him and ask if he gives classes. He has taught the art to some but here’s more good news — Raju plans to get some DJs together and start a course. He has many plans. “I want to organise a sequence party every month with a theme party so people will know what DJing is all about,” he shares. Right now, Raju spins his tale at Rox, Hyatt Regency as the in-house DJ.