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DJ Agni
We could say that DJ Agni is, like her name suggests, a firestarter. But the first woman to feature in this section deserves better than some corny attempt at wordplay.
Born and brought up in Mumbai, DJ Agni, (real name Anamika), decided to give the turntables a shot only after making sure she could independently finance her passion. Currently based in Malaysia, she holds a stable finance job that takes her all over the world and when the nightlights come on, Agni fires up the dance floor with her hip-hop heavy mix. Over a tall cool drink at a Mumbai café, she talks animatedly to The Record about DJing, music and being a woman in a man’s world. Passionate, determined, practical and quirky ~ we’re pleased to present her as the first woman in DJ Speak.

The Record: When did you start DJing?

Agni: In 1998 and 1999 all my friends and I would go clubbing and I remember we would make song requests there. At one club, this DJ refused to play the song we asked for, he wouldn’t play any junta choice. And I remember thinking, ‘Why does he do that?’ It really intrigued me. Then I accompanied a friend to this DJ Mixing Championship that was happening at the Oberoi hotel. I was still studying at the time and I watched these guys practicing their techniques. It was really fascinating to me.

But I was sure that I would begin learning to be a DJ myself only after I had completed my studies. I didn’t want to have to borrow money for equipment. I wanted to make sure I had my own money to buy everything I needed. And that is what I did. I completed my studies and started learning at Azarado Acoustics from Joe Azarado. I then learned turntablism and scratching at Audiosports, Singapore from DJ Andrew Chow, an internationally renowned Hip-Hop DJ.

Last year I was one of the eight finalists at the War of the DJs championship. I went in there, and just focused on my playing. I played a hip-hop remix of this track Eh Malik Tere Bande Hum from a 1953 black and white film. It felt nice to be in the finals, even the winner told me it was a different mix.

TR: Were the other DJs ~ the guys ~ accepting of you?
Agni: Not all of them were ready to show me what they knew, but there are also some who are helpful. I bought my first DJ equipment from DJ Aqeel in fact. I remember I was supposed to go to his place to pick it up. I landed up there, I had come straight from the airport, and I met him and looked at what was on offer. And ~ he still teases me about this till now ~ I said to him ‘Is this working?’ I meant to ask if the equipment was on but it came out all wrong. [Laughs] We’re friends now and he still teases me about it even now.

TR: What is the longest set you’ve ever played? Any interesting experiences while playing?
Agni: I played a gig in Shanghai once. It was a 3-hour event for an Indo-Chinese delegation. Apparently they really like the Raj Kapoor song Awara Hoon and they came up and asked me to play it several times in the night.

In Malaysia I play at a club called Sugar. My friend Wendy, an ex-Miss Malaysia, is a partner in the club. It’s fun. I like to practice and I like to play live. I don’t believe in faking it by playing a pre-programmed mix.

TR: Do guys bother you when you’re playing?
Agni: They might try sometimes. But I know how to handle them. [Smiles]

You can read the rest of our feature on DJ Agni in the March 2006 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.


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