Cloud computing salesperson by day, underground tech house and techno DJ by night, Eric is the Chennai electronic dance music scene’s very own Batman.
Kid him about it, and he laughs,“DJing is my passion, and I get to experience it as exactly that, which in many ways makes it sweeter than a full time, 24 hour job. When people enjoy a set I play,the satisfaction of knowing that I haven’t diluted the sound I’m playing to cater to the lowest common denominator is huge. That helps me stay true to what I see as my purpose as a DJ, and the people who book me know exactly what they are going to get.”
So what is that purpose? “The point of being a DJ, really the origin of the whole EDM movement, is the ability to showcase fresh, new tracks to an audience that wants to be surprised and comfortable at the same time. The familiarity of a basic beat – 4x4 or whatever – helps them unwind and dance, but that needs to be balanced with freshness in everything else. Finding that blend, and showcasing evolving, challenging sound to an audience and making them love what they hear, is what I see as a DJ’s unique skill. If you know that you want to just hear the most commercially popular dance tunes, well, get on the radio. They’re all there. A DJ gives you what you didn’t know you wanted.”
Eric’s sound is a distinctive blend of techno and tech house, woven together with an intense attention to the balance between occasion, ambience and tone. His DJ journey began as a co-conspirator in the cabal that gave Speed it’s almost mythical reputation as Chennai’s premier underground electronic music destination in the early noughties.“What Speed did for the EDM scene in this city was just incredible”, he reminisces. “You’ve got to give it to Zahir and the rest of the crew – week in, week out, they kept at it, making sure that the kind of sound being pushed on a particular night wasn’t diluted. That’s when I was convinced that as a DJ, you shouldn’t underestimate your audience’s intelligence. If you put out a consistent message, they get it. Why else was it packed every single weekend? Anybody who remembers the place knows it wasn’t close to being the plushest of venues – it was dingy, cramped, smoky… and it was fucking brilliant.”
After the club closed in 2007, Eric has taken that brand of uncompromising sound to other premier venues around the city, including Q-Bar, Blend, The Purple Room, Dublin, EC-41 and Aqua, and has gained a fiercely loyal – almost cult – following in Chennai over the last 8 years. His ability to draw in both seasoned EDM hands as well as casual partygoers with his sound is a result of preparation and respect for the listener.
Global DJ mainstays like ANIL CHAWLA have praised his versatility on the decks, along with his ability to make the sound work regardless of when or where he plays. “I’ve seen Eric play a few times over the last couple of years, and he’s a very versatile DJ. Just as confident opening a night as he is closing it. These days, that’s a rare skill. He has a bright future ahead, that’s for sure”, says Anil.
In recent years, Eric’s devotion to his craft has seen him play arena sets at the Go!Madras and TGFT electronic dance music festivals held in Chennai, and you can find him tearing up the floor every other week with headline sets at major Chennai venues.