The golden boy of electronic dance in India hardly needs an introduction. Having paved the way to a path that is full of intelligent musical sensibilities for many years, not for one minute has the trade mark twinkle diminished. It totally explains why he is such an incredible success story not only as part of the hugely celebrated Electronic act Jalebee Cartel; Ash holds his own even when he is appearing solo.

Dancemunkey caught up with him while on his Europe tour doing what he is known to do best…sing a song, ride the percussions and play out dj sets worth Red Rackham’s treasure…hehe just joking ūüôā (an imaginary character, while Ash is as real as it gets)…

Meet the soul behind the ultra cool music man-

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DM- Ash Roy, you are a supernova of the Electronic dance music scene in India. Tell us when and how did the Djing bug bite you?

AR- Well I was always fascinated with Turntables and the idea of playing records while I was a kid. I started off playing for parties ¬†in 1995 ¬†but on cassette players since that’s what I could get my hands on. Then later on in 1996 I got the opportunity to play at Anticlock; one of the first few nightclubs in Kolkata. The day I was hired as a resident dj at Anticlock there was no looking back. I fell in love with what I was doing. The whole process of mixing music just got to me.

DM-¬†You have an illustrious and envious catalog of residencies and gigs from as early as the 90’s, happy with your beginnings?

AR- Yes, very happy with all my residencies and gigs. It’s because of all those experiences I had as a Dj which has got me to where I am today.

DM- Any artists back in the early days, who may have influenced you with their music sensibilities?

AR- Pink Floyd, Depeche Mode & Underworld.

DM- Growing up in Kolkata your home town, a musically rich back ground?

AR-¬†Kolkata has such a strong musical background from Indian classical to Blues, Jazz, ¬†Rock & Roll. It’s because of me growing up in such a rich back ground of music I got into Djing and to producing and performing. I got formal training in Tabla from the age of 7. If it wasn’t for Tabla I wouldn’t be playing all those percussion’s in our LIVE sets. So yes growing up in Kolkata has been inspiring and has been an integral part of my life.

DM- Was veering off from Progressive House a conscious decision, as your early days smacked off those sounds to what you are doing now?

AR-¬†Quality House music was something I fell in love with the day I heard it. Yes it was a conscious effort cause there a lot of other sounds like Tech House & Techno that were being played all over the world ….specially in Europe. All Record labels were signing more Tech House and Techno tracks. So I decided to produce Tech House & Techno. This way I got the opportunity to play these genres to the Indian audience. You have to keep evolving. If you keep playing the same stuff and producing the same stuff then you get boring. You need to move on…and so I did.

DM- How did the explosive collaboration with fellow musicians from Jalebee Cartel happen?

AR-¬†It happened when I shifted to Delhi in 2003 and teamed up with Arjun Vagale and Ashvin Mani Sharma.¬† Later Madhav Shorey and G. Arjun joined the team and we just hit it off not only as fellow Dj’s/Musicians but as friends. We enjoyed each others company and every moment of producing and playing together.

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DM- Your role in the band with vocals & percussion’s, as a collective…can you think of any one element that has made Jalebee Cartel the most successful of all time?

AR-¬†I think everyone’s effort in whatever possible way has got Jalebee to where it is. It’s the people that make a nation and it was us together that made Jalebee Cartel successful.

DM- How did the singing and playing of instruments take shape, did you get formal training for it?

AR-¬†I got formal training in tabla when I was a kid and I used to sing for the school choir. When we formed Jalebee we wanted to take dance music to another level. I wanted to make it more interactive. So I sang and introduced a lot of different percussion’s in our LIVE sets.

DM- Does your productions have any one quality you like to represent?

AR- It represents me. Most of my productions have a lot of percussion sounds in it and I like to keep it groovy.

DM- Describe yourself in 5 words.

AR- Emotional, Funny, Dreamer, Ambitious, Story teller.

DM- You travel pretty much all around the globe, how do you find time to get stuck in the studio?

AR- Well I normally play on the weekends. I find time in the studio on weekdays.

DM- What is your favorite Dj setup?

AR-¬†I always loved playing records so it was 2 turntables and a mixer, but since it’s easier to carry a laptop, Soundcard & a Midi controller so I made the shift.

DM- Do you think the dance scene in India is plodding a bit, as compared to the massive party attitude prevalent in the rest of the world?

AR- There has been a huge change in India. More and more people are listening to Dance music nowadays but looking at our nightlife situation in the country just makes me sad. New rules coming in and Night Clubs shutting early plus some clubs shutting down completely. If it continues this way then it will be difficult for the scene to grow. Besides this I think we in India have a great audience and have the same energy compared to any other country abroad.

DM- Any gig that you will never forget?

AR- Fusion Festival, Germany 2010. We played on the main Techno stage called Trumbuhne. We had nearly 10 Р15 thousand people dancing to the music. It was phenomenal.

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DM- A crazy fan request?

AR- This happens a lot in India ” Can you please play some songs “

DM- Vinyls, would you play on them now?

AR-¬†I would love to play Vinyls, but playing through my laptop with a sound card and midi controller is more convenient. We don’t get vinyls in India plus most labels have gone digital.

DM- Give the latest news on any upcoming releases this year?

AR-¬†Well as of now I have a 2 track Ep called ” Hour Glass ” which is soon to be out on Kasey Taylor’s ” Vapour Recordings ” and another 4 track Ep called ” Smell.S.D soon to be out on Elektrotribe Records Berlin, plus a few remixes.

DM- Your project with another member of the band member Ashwin, ‘Crash & Boom’, how’s that going and where are you headed with that?

AR- Crash & Boom is a project Ashvin and I started just for the love of Psychedelic Trance. We have quite a few original tracks. We have been producing and performing just for fun.

DM-¬†Any collaborations with labels, we need to know of that’s big news?

AR- Releasing on Vapour Records is a good sign.

DM-¬†What’s your summer looking like, we know your headed to Europe. Anything that you are especially looking forward to in the upcoming tour?

AR- Yes a lot of gigs lined up and looking forward to playing in Fusion Festival again.

DM- If you were stuck in the woods with Ritchie Hawtin, Josh Wink and a console?

AR- Hahahah….well I’d play them a set and then tell them to come and play with me back to back ūüôā

DM- Your personal favorite club or festival?

AR- Fusion Festival, Germany.

DM-¬†How do you handle the fame & adulation that’s come your way?

AR- I try and be humble.

DM- As one part of a successful band; do you prefer to play out at live performances or Dj sets, a leaning towards one or the other?

AR- I enjoy playing alone as well with the band. 

DM- How different is it to you performing solo to when you are performing as a collective of Jalebee Cartel?

AR-¬†When we play LIVE as a collective then i do vocals, Percussion’s and then Dj, but when i play alone I Dj and throw in a few percussion’s.

DM- Lastly, any tune that you have produced you may be especially proud of?

AR-¬†Well the 2 new Ep’s to be out soon are the ones I’m looking forward to.

The dynamism of Ash Roy is on glorious display here in India and internationally. If someone were to ask me what makes Ash Roy special, I would reply- origin unknown…

As usual in my goodie bag section a special mix set by Ash Roy full of luscious candies and I can’t wait to put it on real loud!!

Download Get set, Go set- Ash Roy

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