Sunburn : Meet The Artists
RedX has successfully, yet again contributed to one of our best college experiences. Sunburn campus, 2017 witnessed artists Zaeden and Teri Miko get the crowd raving like never before. When we found out that they’re not only at the top of their field but are also youngsters making it big in an extremely competitive industry, we just had to get them to tell us about their experiences and inspirations. Read on to find out more about them!
Sahil Sharma, better known by his stage name Zaeden is an Indian DJ and music producer who started making music at the age of 14. He is the first Indian to get featured on Hardwell on Air and has played alongside revered artists such as Borgeous, Nina & Malika, Cimo Fränkel, etc. He has also been featured by Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike on Smash the House radio. He is known for his style of combining new age sounds with progressive house and trans music and has cooked up quite a storm after his performance at Tomorrowland.
Teri Miko is a Ukrainian DJ and music producer who came to India in 2011 and has since fallen in love with the country. She mostly plays hip-hop and trap music and infuses electronic beats into her mixes. Known for her high energy DJ sets, she has played at the world’s most exclusive VIP night clubs, festivals and for many popular dance music brands as well.
MTTN: How has it been living away from home? Playing at Tomorrowland and other countries for you (Zaeden), and playing in India for you (Teri Miko)?
Zaeden: Playing outside of India has been amazing, it’s a really nice experience to see different cultures and meet different people. But I would say that the amount of energy seen in India is unmatchable. I mean, I’ve been to the best clubs and best concerts internationally but the Indian energy is unparalleled.
Teri Miko: For me, India is like a second home. I don’t consider India as a foreign country. I’ve been here a lot and what I love the most about this place is the people. Their response to the kind of music I play is really good, and what I play is slowly getting bigger. So yeah, I have this comfort zone in India that I know I wouldn’t get anywhere else.
MTTN: So according to the both of you, how receptive are Indians to electronic music? What gets the crowd going here?
Zaeden: I mean, it’s always good to drop a Bollywood song here and there (chuckles). But I mostly think the crowd’s reactions depend on the DJ as well. If he/she is pumped up and energetic, the crowd is too.
Teri Miko: As Sahil said, India has this unbelievable energy that other countries don’t. I’ve been to other Asian countries and some people don’t even dance because it’s illegal to dance there. Here, drop a known or unknown track – the crowd still goes berserk; it really is a lovely sight for the artist.
MTTN: We know that electronic music has a lot of sub-genres. If you were put in a scenario where you had to pick a sub-genre to stick to forever, what would you choose and why?
Zaeden: I don’t know to be honest. I mean, I mostly think everything changes so quickly in this field- you have new genres coming up every now and then. I won’t say I’d stick to something because I do love experimenting with new genres, but I’d always work with something close to pop music because I love it and it’s something that I most definitely would enjoy doing forever.
Teri Miko: For me, it’s definitely going to be hip-hop. I don’t know about forever but that will definitely be in the direction I’d head towards because that’s where I started out- as a hip hop DJ. I think it’s called trap right now, and it’s progressing in our field, so yeah that would probably be it.
MTTN: Going back to your childhood, what kind of music did you grow up with? Who were your inspirations?
Zaeden: To be honest, I’m still a child (laughs). But I used to listen to a lot of trans music growing up. So back in the day my favourites were Mark Schulz, Armin van Buuren, etc. They inspired me to start making trans music and I later branched out to progressive house and finally pop music.
Teri Miko: For me it was always R&B, hip-hop and that kind of music. I grew up in a very musical family and my father used to listen to this stuff so I guess I got it from him. My other favourites include Michael Jackson and Beyoncé. Although, to be fair (and I’m saying this on behalf of all girls), I did have a major Britney Spears and NSYNC phase in my life. But all that slowly just culminated to form my current love for hip-hop music.
MTTN: At what age did you exactly delve into the field of making electronic music? What was the turning point in your life?
Zaeden: I think I was about 14 years old when I started making music. Speaking of turning points, I don’t think there has ever solely been just one experience that changed my life. It’s been a combination of several things, I still get the feeling of “Yeah, I want to do this forever” every time I play. When I put the fader down and the crowd just sings my song, it’s truly the best motivation ever. I think it’s just the love for music that makes us do what we do.
Teri Miko: I wish I could say I was 14, but I was 20 when I started making music. The turning point in my life was when I performed at my first gig. I was so scared and I didn’t talk to anyone before the show. But afterwards was when I decided “Yup, this is what I want to do forever”. I never even thought about money or any of that. I feel like you should do something because you love it and can contribute something to it, not because you can make money off it. I would consider money to just be a cute little bonus for all the hard work that is put in.
MTTN: Did you face any obstacles in your career? Being Indian, how did your (Zaeden) parents respond when you told them that you wanted to do this?
Zaeden: Initially my parents were very skeptical about the entire thing. My dad was a little worried while my mum just had a feeling of mera baccha gaya. I quit my college, I was studying Mass Communication at Amity University, Noida and the two hour long metro journey from Gurgaon to Noida was just something I couldn’t do every day. So I finally told my dad that I wanted to pursue music and my best friend Sudhanshu who is currently my manager helped me convince him about the entire thing. He gave me just one shot to prove myself and luckily, I did.
Teri Miko: But his parents just recently came to his show. They were extremely supportive!
Zaeden: Yeah exactly. So I don’t know about earlier but now, I can most definitely say that my parents are one of my biggest fans. Coming to the obstacles, I was a very average student in school and in 12th grade there was this whole added pressure of board exams and what not. So balancing music and education was a difficult task for me.
Teri Miko: The biggest obstacle for me, which I’m still trying to get over is the fact that I like to sleep a lot (laughs).
MTTN: How hard do you think it is to get recognized as an electronic music artist these days? There are tons of people who make music, but only a few make it big. So what’s your take on the matter?
Zaeden: I can’t say how hard it is to get recognized but what I feel is that if you don’t give it your 100% or make fresh, original, and good music, you won’t get anywhere near where you want to be.
Teri Miko: I completely agree with him on that.
MTTN: So you both have played together before at the Mirage Music Festival in Mumbai. How was the experience?
Zaeden: It was amazing! She has a totally next-level energy on stage. She’s usually quiet when she’s travelling but on stage it’s just like a completely different Teri Miko – my mind was in a “Holy shit is that Teri” state throughout. I love playing with her- she’s one person I don’t mind doing a back to back set with.
Teri Miko: I agree, I would definitely play a back to back set with him again. I love playing with him and I think he’s the most promising artist of India. And it was not just one show where we played back to back, there have been club shows where we’ve played and that was a really relaxing and fun at the same time.
Zaeden: When we play together, we don’t really bother too much about the crowd because she’s done with her set and I’m done with mine so we just have fun and play what we love. And it’s really nice to see the crowd enjoying what we play. It’s a great experience, really.
MTTN: What kind of set are you going to play for us today and do you have any expectations from the crowd at MIT?
Teri Miko: I’m going to play my music, I’m going to play bass music, and apparently we’re doing a back to back set for 30 minutes together and it’s so unplanned that even we don’t know what we’re going to play. When it comes to the crowd, I have no doubts that they’re going to be energetic and crazy. I know we’re going to have a great time.
Zaeden: I’m going to play my songs, my remixes. 2017 has been a great year for me, I just released a song with Maroon 5 so I’m going to play that one, I’m going to play the new songs and see how the people react, and yeah, I know we’re going to have a great time together on stage as well as with the crowd!
– Nethraa Kannan for MTTN