Fight the powers
For BHASKAR DANDONA, one of Scotland's only Asian 015, the music is all that matters in the club stakes.
Words: Rory Weller Photography: David McIntyre
Bhaskar Dandona: 'If I can use my music to get a bit of violence out of myself, I do that'
16 mausr t m;
FOR GLASGOW DJ and record label executive Bhaskar Dandona. the issue of race as not affected the success he enjoys. The only bigotry Dandona has experienced has been a reaction to his uncompromising stance to his music.
‘lt’s purely because of the scenes I’ve run in and people I’ve hung about with.’ says the DJ whose parents moved to Birmingham from New Dehli. ‘lt’s never even been an issue. and has never come into the equation. I even forget myself DJing. With a tradition in the scene for faceless. anonymous performers. the music you play is the important thing. not what you look like or where you are from.‘
Although he had DJed at home in Birmingham it was not until he studied film and TV at Stirling University that his career on the decks really began. with a massively successful club night at the university union. In his final year, the night‘s reputation had spread and he was offered a weekly residency at Newcastle’s Riverside club. where he played his ‘fast bangin‘ trance‘ for two years alongside guests like The Orb and Moby. After university he moved to Glasgow and continued DJing at nights in the city’s Arena and Queen Margaret Union.
‘lt took a little while for the Glasgow underground techno posse to accept me. because my hardtrack trance style was very different from the city‘s home grown sound.‘ he says.
Dandona‘s skills are now highly respected. reflected in his workload over the next couple of weeks. He is the sole Scottish-based 1)] playing on the Disco Biscuits tour. coming to Edinburgh on 18 May. and is also playing at the enormous Rezcrcction event at lngliston on 31 May.
On his 24th birthday last October he began working as a vibes man for Britain's second largest independent dance label Limbo Records. Alongside label boss Billy Kiltie he sources new records and coordinates club promotion. exports and licensing.
Although he is working in an industry where talent means much more than race. he is still one of the few Asian DJs making it at the moment. So why are there not more?
‘I just think I‘ve got a bit too much European inside me.‘ says Dandona. "l‘hat’s why I swing over to the techno thing. As the hip hop and R&B scene grows you‘re going to see DJs coming through because cities linked with Asian culture. do really tie into those things.
‘As far as racism goes it‘s weird. because I haven‘t had contact with these people and can't say too much about the workings of their mind. When I was very young I felt that sooner or later they were going to get lined up against a wall and shot.
‘If I can use my music to get a bit of violence out of myself. I do that. Because I‘ve been so deep into my music there‘s a part of me that‘s confident about the way things are going to progress on a society-wide basis. I‘m not worried about [racists]. but I‘m looking forward to them getting theirjust desserts.’
Bhaskar Dandona is at the Disco Biscuits tour. The Arches, Glasgow on Sat 24 May, and at Rezerection. lngliston, Edinburgh on Sat 31 May. See club listings.