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KajoAsks: Going behind the DJ deck with Nick Dhillon

Knowing how much festival goers are still pumped up for more music even after the performances at Jungle and Tree Stages end, Rainforest World Music Festival introduced the DJ After Party Stage in 2019.

One of the DJs who took over the mixers during the festival this year was DJ Nick Dhillon from Kuala Lumpur.

Covering music genres from EDM,  RnB, Hip Hop, Commercial, retro, Afrobeat and Bolly/Bhangra, it’s no wonder this electronic music producer was brought in for RWMF.

Deejaying since 2003, DJ Nick has released a few singles with artists from Denmark, UK, India, Portugal and Malaysia.

So far, DJ Nick has performed all over Malaysia including Sabah, Johor, Malacca, Penang as well as other countries such as Singapore, Bangladesh and Indonesia.

Recently, KajoMag had the opportunity to ask DJ Nick Dhillon on his inspiration and what goes on behind his DJ deck.
DJ Nick Dhillon on his deck.
KajoMag: When did you start DJing and what or who were your early passions and influences?

Nick Dhillon: Basically, I started to learn how to DJ at 9 years old. I got inspired by my father who was a DJ/stage performer back in the day. When I was about 10, I always wondered how people made music. While listening to music on the radio, it just struck my mind – like how did music get created? I then did my research slowly with a lot of attempts. Today I make my own music and I DJ to it.

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KajoMag: What are currently your main challenges as a DJ?

Nick Dhillon: My challenges are to get my music heard to a large audience and how to start well, maintain and end well during a set. I’ve set up a goal and the goal is to always do better in every gig I get as I move along.

KajoMag: How you decide to play a particular record during your sets? Is there a criteria other than pure subjectivity for selecting what to play at a gig?

Nick Dhillon: Basically, I usually prepare my set every time before my gig. I listen to new music or similar sounds of what I usually play during my sets. Sometimes I get an original track and remix it and then play during my set. Though the main actual selection of songs during my set comes on the spot while looking at the crowd response. 

KajoMag: Do you feel a crowd is actually able to appreciate the intricacies and complexity of DJing if they don’t really know what goes behind the deck? 

Nick Dhillon: Usually when I DJ, what I believe is in seeing the crowd enjoying the music. Though the understanding of you can’t please everyone with music is always there, the main aim is to catch the majority, especially playing the next song and seeing how they respond to it.

KajoMag: How much do you feel is the club experience or crowd response shaped by cultural differences? When travelling, do you take these cultural differences into consideration? What was your experience during RWMF, for example?

Nick Dhillon: Well, the club experience and the outdoor experience – especially at the RWMF – is very different.

I must say it was amazing. It’s difficult to express in words but just amazing. And playing the music I make, that is mixing traditional Punjabi instruments into modern beats. The reaction is unbelievable. Music does bring everyone together. And that’s beautiful. Though, RMWF is one of my best experiences DJing, without a doubt.

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Nick Dhillon performing during RWMF 2019.
KajoMag: Care to share some of your future plans or dreams?

Nick Dhillon: My future plan is to always be consistent in music, I have plenty of new music coming up. That isn’t a remix, its original tracks I am looking forward to put up to the crowd. Also I’m working on an album.

I’m an electronic (EDM) music producer. I mix electronic music elements with some traditional Punjabi/bhangra elements that’s more what it’ll sound in my upcoming music releases. I look forward to more music festivals around the world to share my music with everyone.

Check him out on Spotify, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and official website.

All photos courtesy of DJ Nick Dhillon.

Patricia Hului
Patricia Hului is a Kayan who wants to live in a world where you can eat whatever you want and not gain weight. She grew up in Bintulu, Sarawak and graduated from the University Malaysia Sabah with a degree in Marine Science. She worked for The Borneo Post SEEDS, which is now defunct. When she's not writing, you can find her in a studio taking belly dance classes, hiking up a hill or browsing through Pinterest. Follow her on Instagram at @patriciahului, Facebook at Patricia Hului at Kajomag.com or Twitter at @patriciahului.
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