Last weekend, Delhi-based DJ Karanvir Keran put on his party wear, took out his headphones, set up his disc jockey and got ready to play his favourite set. This, however, wasn’t for a club full of youngsters gyrating to his catchy tunes, but in his own living room. With lockdown in place and social distancing being the norm, virtual parties are becoming the norm of the day. Karanvir, who managed to reach over one million people via Spotify during the lockdown, feels nothing much has changed except that things have shifted from a physical to a virtual space. Vedant, another Delhi-based DJ, concedes that “a lot of programmes in scheduled calendars has been cancelled”, but not much has changed on the music front. “I have a sound cloud profile, he says, “where I release all my music. So, this lockdown has not made me do anything dramatically different.
I have released all my music on the online platforms.” He, however, adds that it will be hard for the music scenario to get back to what is was before the lockdown. While the medium may have changed, the parties continue as before. The clinking of glasses, the dangling to groovy tunes, and the funand-laughter quotient remain the same in these virtual parties; only friends are reduced to little boxes on our computer screens. The gen-next DJs realise this and are trying to adapt to the new medium of Zoom and Skype parties. But not everyone is happy. DJ Avantika Bakshi has been feeling the lockdown blues. “Even though the lockdown is a good decision made by the government, entertainers like us are suffering monetarily because of this. Our audiences are thinking of a survival strategy, they are saving their resources,” she says. Bhavuk Verma, director, Bocha and Dear Donna, one of the most happening places in Delhi, too reminds how badly his business has been affected.
“I never thought that I would be sitting at home for a month and doing nothing. I am trying to spend my time with family and in between creating some music as well, but as far as the restaurant is concerned it has been hit very badly. I don’t think lockdown will be over soon and if it does things will not be normal enough,” he says. DJ Fareed, who started the Redroom Session which became one of the most popular hotspots in Delhi, also spoke about how he’s ensuring that he doesn’t let the lockdown get to him “It’s been tough because we had planned a lot of things for the month of March and because of this pandemic everything has been cancelled. It’s been a rollercoaster ride but as far as the online team is concerned, we are in touch with everyone which we hardly did in the times of offline shows.” While the lockdown has been difficult for the industry, these people are ensuring that the party goes on. DJ Bharat, a big name in the Delhi party circle, says that he has been trying to keep his spirits high by creating as much music as he can.
“Because of the lockdown I have literally locked myself in a room and I am creating music these days. Now I can actually see that I am able to make more music as compared to other months. As of now I am just trying to see the bright side of things.” The bottom line behind streaming live performances is not only to keep the nightlife alive, but also to bring people together and spread joy in these testing times.