Don of spin

Yasmin Taj


If a smile could kill, it definitely has to be DJ Aqeel’s. To add more to it, he has all the good looks and talent that could send any living being for an inferiority complex. So if you intend to have a blast this New Years Eve, then it has to be at Hotel De l’ Annapurna where DJ Aqeel, who dishes out groovy remixes of yesteryear songs you missed out on, is coming to rock you all through the night with the best of music and the best of ambience. Popularly known as the Don of Hindi remixes, DJ Aqeel has been a phenomenon in the field of Djing by delivering the best and the most happening remixes. Having released five albums by far all of which have been chartbusters, this spectacular DJ has won honours all over the world. His very first remix track “Shake it Daddy” shot to popularity instantly hence making him one of the best DJs in the country. Here’s a téte-a-téte with the breathtakingly handsome and articulate DJ.

How did it all start?

It was ten years ago during a holiday in Hongkong. I was just clubbing with my friends and was actually predicting each song the female DJ there would play next. My friends were quite impressed and suggested me to take Djing as a serious career. Hence, when I got back to Bombay, it was a natural step towards Djing.

Who was your inspiration?

I was always into music and had a supercollection of music and super knowledge about it too. I never had to actually learn how to turntable. It was a natural outcome.

What is Djing in India like?

I feel that Djing has gained immense popularity in India these days. And lots of DJs are coming up all around. In fact, I feel that one day India might beat the number of DJs that London has i.e 35,000.

Do you think Djing can be a bonafide profession?

Yes definitely. The country is swarming with DJ academies. But I do believe that one has to have that talent inborn in them. Probably 1 out of 10 succeed out of the numerous enthusiasts.

What, according to you, makes you different and stand out from the rest?

My smile. (He chuckles, mesmerising us all the more)

How do you synchronise and draw the crowd?

It all depends on the song and the audience actually. One has to understand what the crowd wants and cater to them. Once you get the experience, it just flows after that.

What are your favourite genres of music?

There are three genres that I love to listen to and play — hip-hop, Hindi and house.

When did you exactly start remixing?

I started remixing six years ago since I was a die-hard fan of old Hindi numbers and audience too love listening to their favourite tracks being done up in a totally different manner. I then cut out my first remix album with Universal Music.

Do you make preparations before spinning?

No. I totally cater to the crowd after getting the pulse of their kind of music.

Apart from remixing, what else are you doing musically?

I am producing my own music and am probably coming up with my first album this October. I do have some Bollywood projects up my sleeve too.

If you weren’t a DJ, what would have you been?

I wanted to be a pilot and had actually enrolled myself in flying academy too. But I guess life wanted to happen the other way round.

Your favourite DJs.

Roger Sanchez, Paul Van Dyke, John Digweed, DJ Ryan, DJ Nasha, DJ Suketu, Sanjay Gupta are a few of the many DJs I like.

What have been your favourite spots when it comes to performing?

Every single country I have been to has given me an overwhelming response. But being a Bombay boy myself, I do love spinning there.

To catch up with this marvellous DJ, don’t miss the party at Hotel De l’ Annapurna on April 13, which has been organised by and sponsored by Heineken, Marlboro, Finlandia, Cuttysark Whisky, Jet Airwyas and Channel Nepal.