ILM: Congratulations on your new remix for Above & Beyond! What inspired you most about the original track?
PA: Thank you so much! I’ve always been a huge fan of Zoe Johnston’s voice, so the vocal texture immediately appealed to me, and the piano parts were on point too. Instead of completely turning it around, I decided to use those parts and add my touch to it, more of a rework or interpretation. The lyrics are quite sad and happy at the same time, so it was important that the music gave that sense.
ILM: How do you typically choose a track to remix? What’s your process of working on it?
PA: I usually get remix requests from record labels with tracks to choose from. Nowadays I’ll only take on a remix duty if the original track has a special element that makes me stand up, be it a melodic riff or vocal. The parts are sent from the record label as well, once you agree to work on a track. Other ways of remixing are to compete in remix competitions – track parts are given out and you’re given a deadline to submit your remix. If you’re just using parts directly from the original stereo file, that would be considered sampling rather than an official remix, making it a bootleg.
ILM: Every producer has a distinct approach to remix projects. Some like to keep the original vibe going, while others change it completely and reinterpret it in their own way. Which process do you tend to favour?
PA: I tend to approach each remix in a different way. It really depends on what parts strike me, or if the entire track feels like it needs a rework to fit my sets. There have been times where my remix barely resembles the original, because I’ve mangled up the parts so much, but I’ve stopped doing that as it really doesn’t do any justice to the original. Nowadays it’s more about picking one or two elements from the original and creating my own sound over it, while giving a nod to the original vibe in a section.
ILM: Tell us about the synthesizers you used in this remix.
PA: For the Above & Beyond remix, I didn’t use any hardware synthesizers as I was producing while traveling. So most of the sounds are in-the-box / software synthesizers. My go-to soft-synths at the moment are Synapse Audio Dune, Vember Audio Surge, and most of the really cool analog-emulated synths in the Arturia V-Collection bundle.
ILM: You also run a label called Juicebox Music. In terms of selecting promising talent, how do you decide who to take on?
PA: The label’s aim is to push melodic house and techno, so the main part of selecting our roster has to do with the tracks having great melodic content. It could be actual melodies, or a harmonic rhythm section. It’s important to build up the artists, too, so I tend to check multiple tracks of theirs to see where they’re going and how we can continue releasing material from them. In the end, it’s a community of like-minded folks that support each others’ sound and vision.
ILM: You’ve opened for some really big artists and are a seasoned performer yourself. With our aspiring young DJs in mind, could you talk a bit about the importance of presentation and stage presence?
PA: Thank you once again 🙂 I think music should speak first, before anything else. Nowadays, most DJs have access to the same music and end up playing more or less the same tracks, but if you have a particular style in delivering it (flow-wise, programming, mix-techniques), that really helps. The more unique your style of delivering a certain type of sound, the more you stand out. It’s important to kind of show that you enjoy what you play, too – it definitely shows in your body language and the audience will vibe from that. Just try not to go overboard with the fist-pumps, air-pianos and stuff! haha.
ILM: You’re managed by one of India’s leading artist management agencies, UnMute Agency. How did that come about?
PA: I had worked with Arjun Vagale previously on a couple of things before the agency came along. I released my debut single “Crossover” on MakTub, his record label along with Logiztik Sounds, and he’s definitely been one of the first people in the industry that constantly gave me the right advice for my career. So when the call came from Arjun and Dev Bhatia about UnMute and the goal behind it, it was fairly simple to say “Yes, please!” The growth with the agency has been fantastic and we can’t wait to show you what’s in store this year!