If you’re familiar with the hip-hop club scene in the city, you’ve probably heard Suhrid Manchanda aka DJ Su Real at some venue or the other. Apart from being a part of the desi bass movement, he claims to have introduced global genres like moombahton, trap, dancehall to the lexicon of desi bass fans in India with releases like Twerkistan (2016), Brown Folks (2015) and Trapistan (2014). The DJ was selected as a participant on the music reality show called The Remix, on Amazon Prime and paired with vocalist Rashmeet Kaur. Together, they managed to sway the judges and the audience with their power-packed performances and win the show.
“As a DJ, my sets are always a mix of a lot of genres. Same thing as a producer with my original material. The goal is always the same —the party’s got to be LIT! Anyway, so much Bollywood and mainstream music now includes music I have been playing for years — trap, moombahton, EDM,” says Manchanda about how he prepped for the show.
Celebrating the win
To shoot for the show, the DJ had to put doing live gigs on hold for a while. But being the people’s person that he is, Manchanda is setting off on a 12-city celebratory tour. Kicking off the tour today in New Delhi, he will head to Jaipur, Khopoli, Guwahati, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru, Kathmandu, Chandigarh, and Indore. He plans to perform the new tracks from the show, and other material he has been working on, and see how a live audiences at various venues react to it. Word is that he’s also planning to release a few singles by the end of this year. “I’m looking forward to linking with fans and supporters who have been cheering Rashmeet and me on during The Remix. In Delhi and Mumbai, the shows will be extra special because I’ll be sharing the stage with some of my friends from the show; Rashmeet will join me in Mumbai and DJ Skip will join in Delhi. Also, I have a lot of my own new music almost ready, and I love to be able to test them out on the dancefloor before officially releasing them,” says he.
Being on the show
Manchanda admits that in the beginning, he did have a few apprehensions. “Although I do enjoy a lot of Bollywood music, I was definitely fearing an overload. Worse, I was worried we would be obliged to make the typical kind of Bollywood music that can be uninspiring. Luckily, from the first moment of the first episode, all three judges encouraged all contestants to experiment and push the envelope creatively so most of my worries were forgotten.”
When he was first approached to be cast on the show, Manchanda admits that he was definitely excited about the prospect. “It seemed like a very interesting concept and immediately struck me as a potential game-changer in the Indian music scene. However, I kept my expectations low. I honestly did not expect to last beyond episode 4 or 5. I guess I expected one of the other teams with more experience in Bollywood to take the trophy. Sometimes, it’s nice to be wrong! Now when I watch the show online, it feels like ‘whoa, we did all that?’,” says he.
Learning from the best
Unlike other shows where some of the judges have nothing to do with the kind of art performed by the participants, The Remix brought accomplished artists like Amit Trivedi, Sunidhi Chauhan and Nucleya together as the jury. “All three judges were very honest and direct. If they didn’t like something or they thought you missed the mark, they were not shy to express it. But then, the best thing is that they would offer some ideas on how to improve — so it was like having the three most awesome professors in college. If you received a standing ovation from one of them, it felt like ‘wow!’. So obviously, backstage or behind the scenes, all teams were competing with the aim of getting standing ovation from all three judges, that’s when you know you’ve hit pure gold,” he says.
But it was the combined effort of Manchanda and his partner Rashmeet to impress the judges and the audiences and take home the trophy. “I was so so lucky to be paired up with Rashmeet. She is a genuine, down-to-earth, lovely and lively person, so being able to enjoy each other’s company at a personal level allowed us to rapidly develop our creative relationship. Even though we both have such different musical backgrounds, we had mutual respect for each other as artists. It took a little time for us to get the hang of the process of producing and filming for the show, but once we got in sync with each other by episode 4 and 5, clearly there was no holding us back,” he recalls.
DJ Su Real will perform at Oak Lounge, Koregaon Park Annex, on June 16