DJ Nishant Gadhok, AKA GAD, is an old hand at the turn table. The 26-year-old techo/deep house DJ and producer has been has been mixing tunes for nearly a decade now. His passion for underground electronic music has also found another outlet: Gadhok runs Gently Altered, a platform that curates electronica gigs featuring local and international acts.

Here’s what makes this DJ tick:

When did you start DJing and what were your early influences?

I started out seven year ago, when I was in college. My love for electronic music could no longer be satisfied by my just listening to what was out there or being played in clubs. So I got hold of a basic console and would dirty my hands on a professional setup wherever I found a chance—­­­be it a pub, club, or a cousin’s wedding.

My early influences came from a record label called Zenon that used to—and still produces—some really killer underground beats. Artists such as Jamie Jones, Ritchie Hawtin and Boris Brejcha have also inspired me a lot.

Do you believe in the idea of reading an audience before performing a set?

I totally believe in the idea of reading an audience both, ‘before’ and ‘during’ my sets. I try to work on the fly, based on crowd interaction and response; till now it’s worked quite well for me.

What would you say is your unique DJing style? 

I try to be versatile with my track selection and really like mixing things up. I like including small elements of surprise—for example, interesting vocals or instrument samples give an extra edge to the set.

 If you could get stuck in the music scene of one particular year, which would it be?

Well, 2015 was a great time for house and techno DJs in India. I can’t predict the future, but I have a strong feeling that 2016 is going to be even better!

What is that one track you never get tired of playing or listening to? 

Spastik (1994) from Ritchie Hawtin’s Plastikman project is that one track that I still drop in my sets. Another one is Raga Bhairav (1982) by Charanjit Singh, which is from one of the oldest-recorded albums of acid house, and still works great on dance floors across India.

What is that one track that got popular that you’re sick of? 

I’m very open to all genres and styles of music, but I never could understand what Animals by Martin Garrix was all about.

Where do you think the club scene in India is heading? 

The club scene was quite affected when bars started opening up the stage for live music, but I feel that now there’s a good balance between the two and it’s headed in a good direction. Also, due to the Internet and the sudden surge of dance music, people are now more experimental, and more receptive to newer sounds and genres.

This interview is part of a series of q&as with artistes who’re playing new, interesting sounds that represent a young India.

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Images courtesy Nishant Gadhok