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Delhi Indie Night Opens Up To Local Bands

Brit DJ duo Andy Dodd and Nathan Steel plan to include music by Indian bands at their monthly music nights

Arunima Joshua May 02, 2013

Andy Dodd and Nathan Steele

In 2009, British expats Andy Dodd and Nathan Steele met in the capital city at a common friend’s house party. Now better known by their stage monikers DJ Doddji and DJ Steelish, the duo is popular among Delhi’s alternative music scene, whose growth they have contributed to steadily. As part of Delhi Indie Night, the two have been hosting unique gigs where attendees are assured cheap booze, odd themes (they’ve had ”˜aprons and gloves’ parties to ”˜wearing two different shoes on each foot’ dos) and even asked to “wave vegetables” (really!) as the duo deejays independent/alternative tracks all night, at various venues around the capital. 

The idea came up in early 2011 when the two got talking about the lack of alternative music at city clubs and venues, which featured a heavy dose of hip hop, psy trance and Bollywood on their setlist. The two juggled full-time careers in publishing and travel in their early 30s, before they decided to share their love for Nineties alternative and Brit indie bands such as Babyshambles and Danish pop act, The Asteroids Galaxy Tour. At Delhi Indie Night, the Brit DJs spin a catalogue of international alternative music (think Happy Mondays, The Charlatans, Pulp, New Order, Black Keys, Bombay Bicycle Club, Bright Light Social Hour, Foster The People, Orion, Arctic Monkeys, The Strokes, Kings Of Leon, Blindside and The Drums). “We’re not really like a band, or even like a normal DJ… Normally, the venue does all the promotions and just pays the DJ to play. We organize the event, promote it, DJ it and manage it while it goes on,” says Dodd.

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Currently, besides DJing to alternative music and mixing tracks by non-mainstream bands from across the world, the two are looking to add music by Indian bands such as Delhi alt rockers The Alibi, Mumbai punk rock band The Riot Peddlers, Delhi’s four-piece girl band The Vinyl Records, Chennai electro rockers The F16’s and Delhi psychedelic rockers Peter Cat Recording Co among others, to their DJ setlist.  “After doing Indie Nights for a year and a half, we realized we have a crowd. Now what we really want to do is to discover some alternative Indian bands and expose them to the audience,” says Dodd. 

A fortuitous gig in March 2011 at Kailash Colony’s Spinns started it all. The two had walked into the restro bar with a laptop and asked the DJ if they could take over the console. They went on to deliver dance-friendly, alternative tunes to a crowd of about 50-60. “Everyone loved it and it spread through word of mouth and two weeks later we were back at the same venue DJing,” says Dodd. Until now, the two have hosted 30 Delhi Indie Night gigs across seven venues in the capital. The hosts even took their alternative music nights to Shillong in October 2011 and plan to showcase similar nights in other cities later this year.

Percussionist/ keyboard player, Stefan Kaye, of The Ska Vengers, who has been a regular at the Delhi Indie Night says, “They play stuff that’s played at discos in London. Indie music in England is different from what people consider indie music to be in India. People here aren’t really clear on what indie is.” Kaye adds that the duo’s music makes him nostalgic. “They (Dodd and Steele) play music of bands that haven’t made much of an impact in India and are getting more people to hear this stuff. It’s good to know that there is place for all kinds of music.”

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In March this year, the Brit DJ duo played a six-hour long sundowner set at Blue Frog, Delhi. Sweta Ojha, programmer at the venue says, “Andy and Nathan are able to reach out to the expats in the city. Their tunes are not commercial but really dancey. The duo makes a good connection with Indie music and makes sure that everyone is dancing.” And though they occasionally receive requests to play Pitbull or David Guetta, Dodd says that they’ve so far succeeded in patiently explaining the concept behind Indie Night to guests and telling them how it would be inappropriate to play requested music.

The upcoming edition of Delhi Indie Night will feature DJ Doddji and DJ Steelish on the console along with Rs 99 drinks for the vegetable-waving  dance crowd. Dodd adds that the duo is gearing up to organize gigs for up and coming bands around Delhi soon. “Our aim is to find new, talented bands in Delhi and give them exposure to promote the local music scene. We can now think about a model where we can have a band playing live at our Indie Nights. We’ll also be managing a few bands in the sense that we’ll support the bands and help them to get gigs and connect to a new audience,” adds Dodd. 

The next edition of Delhi Indie Night will take place at Café 27, Kailash Colony, New Delhi on May 4th. For details, click here